Why I heart gel spun backing

The reason is simple math. The Lamson Velocity 3.5 pictured below (which I picked up from Sierra Trading Post, cheaper than dirt) has a factory spec’ed capacity of 200 yards of 20-pound Dacron, plus a WF9 line.


But I strung the puppy with 30# gel spun, and it gobbled up an entire 300 yard spool with ample room to spare. So while this reel is mainly serving ghetto duty (with the lovely and talented Rio Carp Camo WF8), I can still throw a fat-bellied 9 or 10 weight line on it if I find warm ocean breezes.  I’ve saved the $160 I would have paid for another new reel, or roughly $100 for a spare spool.  And while I once had thousands of yards of the stuff lying in wait, I’ve since pointed enough friends to reel deals (and subsequently spooled them up too) that I’m now grabbing this braided wonder in $19.95 chunks. Still, I think it’s smart money.

What isn’t smart, however, is getting your fingers near this stuff if some some denizen of the deep gets a hold of your fly and hops on the express bus – the backing will slice those digits to shreds. I was formal instructed in the ways of the buck in (too many) accounting classes, but learned about the dangers of razor-thin backing screaming through fly rod guides the old-fashioned way.

There will be blood (and you have been warned).


glad to see you found that deal too. I love those Velocities. I picked up a few more reels from STP last month. I think I’m up to 5 now.

You gotta like closeout years. You have to love them when combined with STP.

Want to keep my fingers says:

I have heard that Daiwa Saltiga boat braid is similar to gelspun in that you can fit lots more of it than dacron on any spool but it doesn’t cut like gelspun. Any experience with this stuff?

I hadn’t heard about Saltiga until now, but thanks! I assume from checking it out briefly (online) that it is kind of like Spiderwire. I’ve been curious for a while if Spiderwire could replace traditional backing, but frankly it is quite a bit more expensive per yard. Saltiga looks the same price wise, but I guess the cost has to be weighed against a lost finger too!

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