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Backing for tarpon

Prhea36Prhea36 Posts: 75 Deckhand

i was just wondering how much backing is recommended if you are fishing for 30-100lb tarpon in the backcountry?



  • Renagade69Renagade69 Posts: 1,234 Officer
    I would put as much as the reel will hold.
    Hells Bay Estero Bay Boat and Hells Bay Marquesas
  • Prhea36Prhea36 Posts: 75 Deckhand
    200-250 yards okay?
  • FreeFlyFreeFreeFlyFree Posts: 121 Deckhand
    150 and you lost that tarpon in the back country...now, this is not something I have experienced but the oracle of saint google tells me so
  • ShadowcastShadowcast Wimauma, FLPosts: 1,064 Officer
    Renagade69 wrote: »
    I would put as much as the reel will hold.

    X2.....however someone once told me that if you get a reel (Tibor Pacific, Orvis Mirage VII Shallow, etc.) that can hold 650+ yards of gelspun and a tarpon gets you out that far.....you got a problem! 300-400 yards of Dacron is more than enough.
    Capt. Jon Bull
    Sales Rep - Ankona Boats, Salt Marsh Skiffs, Tavernier Skiff Company
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,424 Captain
    The old standby, the FinNor #3, held roughly 200 yards of 30lb dacron - and it was the standard for years and years when it came to big tarpon. Most reels for larger lines these days will hold a minimum of 250yds or 30lb dacron (and if you use superbraid instead you've got roughly 350yds...).

    For my purposes (and most all of our big tarpon are in dark waters....) 250 yards is plenty. If you were fishing in super clear water (think Keys, oceanside...) then 350 is probably a good standard. All bets are off if you intend to use a light drag since any bigger tarpon can absolutely clean your clock if you don't use a pretty good drag....

    One thing I hear over and over again is the advice to put as much backing on a fly reel as possible. I would never advise anyone to do that.... Always leave a bit of space when the reel is fully loaded with backing and fly line to allow you a bit of leeway if you forget to level wind properly with a big fish on. Load up with backing and it's very easy to jam a reel if it's not level wound.... I've seen that problem with my anglers and if you jam up a reel it will always be when the fish is right at the boat and you can least afford that particular problem. Nothing like a broken rod that's almost brand new and cost a bunch of money to drive the lesson home.... Hope this helps.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • ShadowcastShadowcast Wimauma, FLPosts: 1,064 Officer
    Excellent point Bob! I never thought of that.
    Capt. Jon Bull
    Sales Rep - Ankona Boats, Salt Marsh Skiffs, Tavernier Skiff Company
  • clampmanclampman Posts: 130 Deckhand
    When I was a kid of 7 or 8, the guy across the street, who was a Marlin fisherman and my hero, told me I should fill my spools higher along the spool cheeks than in the middle - so the surface of the line made a concave shape.

    His reasoning was that in the beginning of the fight, the angler is excited and also in a hurry to gain line back onto his reel, and often does not pay enough attention to winding it on level. But also that it makes for much smoother braking with the leather thumb tab when casting from a bridge or pier.

    I have filled all my spools this way ever since.

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,424 Captain
    Back in the Stone Age... I was a pier rat until I could get a boat bigger than 12 feet long.... I got to see many different ways that folks dealt with drag problems since there were still plugcasting reels around that pretty much didn't have any drag at all (or had the old 'Cub' drag from Pflueger...). It was always a treat to watch folks burning their thumbs on those old reels (and actually swapping hands as one thumb or the other over heated and couldn't be used any more.... All of this was on the old Haulover and Newport piers - I didn't get to the old Lake Worth pier until 1975 if I remember correctly.

    The fly reels most of us had were the original Scientific Anglers reels (actually inexpensive Hardy Marquis reels, with only a single or double clicker as the drag....). You could hear the drag on one over 100 yards away.... those were the days...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
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