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Mark's Mailbag - Cheap Backer Line

Mark's Mailbag are occasional posts to the blog in response to questions people submit on the Fishing 411 website.  Mark personally responds to the question and when relevant, we repost his answer here.  If you have a question you would like to ask Mark, please visit us at

On December 25, 2014, Ron writes:  How do you feel about using something less expensive as a backing line on a reel and then top dressing with 100 yards or so of high-quality line to cut the cost of loading trolling reels?

Mark Replies:  Ron makes a good point and the short answer is that I do it all the time. Fishing line is expensive, especially the premium lines that we all covet and want to use. My suggestion is to use old monofilament line as a backing and just as Ron suggests top dress the reel with 100-150 yards of premium line. This works well for trolling reels in most situations.

For jigging reels that don’t require as much line, top dressing with just 50 to 75 yards of premium line is generally adequate and saves lots of cash.

My advice is to buy the good stuff when it comes to fishing line. I’m using Maxima Ultra Green for most of my trolling applications and Maxima 8 Strand Braid for pitching jigs, vertical jigging and some open water trolling chores as well. The investment in premium line is the best way to insure when fish bite, they are hooked and landed.