A good quality fishing line is not cheap.
For example, a high-quality fluorocarbon can run anywhere between $30 to as high as $85 a spool. It all depends on the weight of the line and the amount you buy. Now multiply that dollar amount by the number of reels that you have in your garage and we are talking about a serious investment.
With that being said, when it comes to spooling our reels, we want to know exactly how many yards of fishing line are needed so as to avoid wasting/spending money unnecessarily.
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather save some money on fishing line and spend the extra money on a new gear.
For that reason, in this post, I am going to show you how to figure out exactly how many yards you are going to need to top off your fishing reels. I also want to talk about a few tips that I have learned along the way to save some money on fishing line.
How Many Yards Of Fishing Line Do I Need?
To figure how exactly how many yards you need to spool your reel, you are going to need to look at the manufacturer’s recommendations. This can be found on the side of the box or sometimes it is included somewhere on the reel itself.
If you do not have the box, you can generally go by the following rule. In the case of a casting reel, you can fill up the spool until the line is 1/8 inch from the edge. If it is a spinning reel you can fill up the reel, just before the line starts jumping off the spool by itself.
The tricky part comes when you want to mix and match fishing lines order to save money or have the reel run more efficiently (more on that below). For example, you won’t find on the box that the reel can hold 50 yards of braid and 150 yards of fluoro. They will only specify how much of a specific line is recommended.
So, in this situation how do you figure out how much line to use?
Well, to answer that, let’s look at an example.
Let’s say you went out and bought yourself two brand new reels. They both have a 200-yard capacity. The problem is when you go to the store, the line that you want isn’t available in 200-yard spools but rather it is only available in 150 or 300-yard spools.
If you buy two 150 yard spools, you are going to be underfilling your reels by 50 yards.
If you buy two 300 yard spools and fill both reels you are going to have an extra 200 yards.
What would you do in this situation? At this point, you might be asking yourself, is it really that bad to underfill my fishing reel?
Let’s take a look at that question.
Do I really need to fill my spool to the max? Can’t I save money by putting on less fishing line?
The answer is no. Don’t underfill your fishing reels.
Many anglers have heard that overfilling your baitcasting will result in more backlashes so because of that, they think they will save money and headaches if they put less line on the reel. However, this is not true. Sometimes it is because the reel is underfilled that the reel backlashes.
The best way to prevent backlashes is to adjust your reel properly.
To get the most out of your reel, you need to properly fill it. Remember, a fishing reel that is not properly filled will not cast as far as one that is to fill to the max.
With that being said, let’s go back to the scenario that we presented earlier of two fishing reels with a 200-yard capacity.
In this situation, I would buy a single 300-yard spool. I then would put 50 yards of backing on each reel and then top the reels off with the fresh line.
That then leads us to another question, What type of backing should I use?
Properly Backing Your Fishing Reel To Save Money On Fishing Line.
There are 3 main types of fishing line, fluorocarbon, monofilament, and braid. Let’s talk about how each of these lines can be used to save you money.
Fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon is pricey, so why would you want to back your reel with this expensive line?
What I mean by using fluoro as the backing is to use old/used fluoro.
For example, let’s say you have some old fluorocarbon on your finesse set up that you are ready to discard. Instead of just throwing it away, use 50 yards of it as backing. As long as it doesn’t have knicks or cuts, it can be used.
Another money saving trick that I have learned when dealing with fluoro is to start by spooling a fishing reel with straight fluorocarbon.
Then when it comes time to change it out, simply take the old/used fluorocarbon and tie it on a similar size spool. Next, just start spooling the new reel directly off the other reel.
By the time you are done, you should have the used/fluorocarbon as a backing and the former backing on the previous reel will now be the fresh fluorocarbon on the new reel. (This can also be done with braid)
In order to get even more out of that same fishing spool, in the future, you can use that same line as backing for other reels. Do you see use you can get from a single spool of line?
(See which one of the many fluorocarbon lines is my favorite in a previous post found here.)
Monofilament. Monofilament is by far one of the most popular choices that is because it is so cheap. While you can barely touch a fluorocarbon fishing line for under $25, you can buy a spool of monofilament for less than $10. A great choice to save a few bucks.
Monofilament is also a great choice for backing when spooling a spinning reel with braid. Braid doesn’t grip the spool as well as monofilament. This can cause problems, particularly when spooling spinning reels.
(Learn more about spooling your spinning reel with braid here: How To Put Line On A Spinning Reel.)
Braid. Choosing braid as backing on your fishing reel is also a great choice. For one, it lasts forever. Monofilament and fluorocarbon won’t last as long as braid even as backing.
Next, using braid is going to allow for longer casts. This is particularly true when using a baitcasting reel. This is because braid is lighter and will allow the spool at a much quicker rate. The quicker the spool spins, the easier it is to make long casts.
However, when I mention braid, don’t think you have to go out and buy spend a lot of money on fishing line. A cost-efficient braid would do just fine for backing. I have found that 50 to 65-pound test works best.
(You might also be interested in reading: How To Choose The Best Fishing Line For A Baitcasting Reel)
Learn more cool tips about spooling your baitcaster with braid in the following video:
An important tip when using backing. It is important that you never see the knot that connects the backing to the fishing line. If you start seeing the knot coming through the guides, you know that it is time to change your fishing line.
The reason that this is important is because oftentimes when using backing an overhand knot is used to connect the two lines. This is knot is not designed to withstand a lot of pressure. If you start seeing the knot, you are at risk of breaking your line off.
When To Use Backing vs When Not To
Just because you can, doesn’t always mean that you should.
It is important to use good judgment when deciding between whether you should use backing and whether it is best not to.
So when should you use backing?
You should when you are certain that there is no chance the fish is going to pull out so much line that you start to see your backing.
For example, in most freshwater fishing situations such as bass fishing, pan fishing, crappie fishing, it is safe to say that you can use backing as most likely the fish aren’t going to take more than 150 yards of line.
However, for saltwater fishing or if you are going to be trolling, I would advise you not to use backing. In these situations, there is a good chance that the fish are going to take your lure and run with it.
So, how many yards are you going to need to spool your fishing reel?
Be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations that are located on the box or on the reel itself. Don’t be afraid to mix and match to save money. Lastly, choose the best backing setup for your fishing needs.