Jan 2, 2013

Introducing - Hatch Premium Fly Reel Backing

One of the last considerations when loading up that fly reel seems to be the backing. It’s almost an afterthought, that is, until it comes time to wind on your fly line and get it ready for use. This moment can often leave you scratching your head about how you could have overlooked this crucial element. Backing is important. Your amount of backing dictates how far a fish can run away from you before you run out of line. Hit the end of your line and you risk snapping off the fish, and perhaps losing your entire fly line, forever. The amount of backing you need really comes down to the type of fish species you are chasing. And you will need a reel large enough to hold that amount of backing, plus your flyline. It a tough pill when your reel cannot hold enough backing for the application. Let’s say, you want to use your Steelhead reel to go Permit fishing. You realize that the 150 yards of backing already on there is not enough to handle a Permit and the reel will not hold anymore. Or, let’s say you have a large arbor reel which offers great performance, but it leaves little room for backing. Well that won’t do either. You might have to rethink your backing options or even consider a new reel for that type of fishing!

Hatch Backing 100 Meter 

My goal is to not be long winded here so I will try my best to keep it non-technical and show you what Hatch is doing differently.

The most common backing used today is Dacron. Dacron backing is a thin braided line that is most popular among freshwater anglers. 20 lb rating and 30 lb rating is the norm here, and your application and the size of your reel influences which one you will go with. Dacron in these pound ratings is a braid made up of 3-4 strands of synthetic polyethylene. It has a nice smooth feel to the touch.

Typical Dacron lengths and lb ratings:

  • Trout anglers: 50-75 lb Dacron 20lb
  • Bass: 50-75 lb Dacron 20lb
  • Steelhead/Salmon 125-200 yds 30lb
  • Bonefish /permit/tarpon/Giant Trevally/Billfish 200-350 yds 30lb

The problem becomes, especially for saltwater anglers, trying to fit large capacities of Dacron backing on a fly reel. Therefore, the other option people go with is Gel Spun backing (30-50lb is common), which is another synthetic polymer based braid that is much slimmer in profile, allowing longer lengths of capacity while taking up far less space on the fly reel. However, there are a few drawbacks with Gel spun. One, it doesn’t have the supple texture of Dacron, and it can easily slice fingers and hands if anglers aren’t careful while line is leaving the reel. Furthermore, it is more brittle than Dacron, which makes backing to fly line knots more at risk for failure.

Ok, so how is Hatch backing different? Well their new backing has the same supple texture of Dacron, a diameter similar to Gel Spun (which helps it to cut through the water more effortlessly), and it is rated at a 68 lb strength. That’s it in a nutshell. Instead of having 3-4 strands making up a PE braid like Dacron, it has 8 micro strands which bolsters strength while slimming down the profile at the same time. Not only that, the 8-strand braid is more circular in shape, which makes it smoother, helping to decrease friction while leaving the guides of your fly rod. What this comes down to, is that you can fit way, way more backing on your fly reel without sacrificing pound rating or texture. In fact at 68 lbs, you shouldn’t have to worry about strength at all.

Backing Specifications Chart
When should you consider Hatch backing? Well, the number one reason would be to increase the amount of backing your reel can hold. Number two (and this piggy backs on the previous reason), if you want to load up a fly reel that you hope will cross over to different species in the future(ie: fresh – saltwater, or general species – species versalitly). Number three: you want a strong, high performance backing that has low friction through the water, as well as through your rod guides. Number four: You want to increase the size of your fly reel arbor (more backing length = faster line recovery while reeling in).

By introducing this new backing, Hatch is also hoping to change the way the industry handles backing capacities. Their argument being that with this technology, why not eliminate different thicknesses and manufacture a standard sized backing across the board. After all, it is strong enough and it is thin enough for most angling scenarios. Let’s eliminate all the confusion out there by creating one new standard . 

Hatch Premium Braided Backing 100 M
Hatch Premium Braided Backing 200 M  
Hatch Premium Braided Backing 400 M  

The Gorge Fly Shop
Edited by: Greg Darling

Also check out our: Backing Guide: An in-depth look
"Fly Fish the World with Us"


  1. Can you buy it in different colors?

    1. Unfortunately No...I wish it came in different colors too.


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