I was reading through he classic posts and saw the one on back reeling. I'm new to the site and wanted to give my opinion on it.
First let me say that this is just my personal preference and I don't think it's that big of a deal if you do or if you don't back reel. Try to have fun and relax when fishing. Those are the most important things when fishing.
I back reel.The reason I back reel is this. I use 4lb test and either a 4'9" or 5'2" slider rod. I fish in heavy cover and open water. Whatever the situation calls for. Back reeling gives me the choice of playing the fish. I can control where the fish is going to go. I can give him line when I want to and if he's heading for deep water or heavy cover.I can keep him from that by using the rod and not giving the bass line(or just enough).I can't do that with a drag. I'm at the mercy of the bass. A bass heads for cover quickly once it knows it's hooked. It'll peel the line off the reel and you can only keep the tension on the line with the rod. Problem is when you pull back with the rod,the bass keeps taking line with the drag or it usually snaps. I don't have that problem as much by back reeling(I keep the drag cranked all the way down). This is from personal experience and just my reasons for doing it. In case you were wondering I can still get the bass out of heavy cover if I need to(even with 4lb test). It just takes a little practice.
I have never tried backreeling, nor do I plan on trying anytime soon.
Between depending on my drag, and using the built in "shock absorber" of my rod, I have very little trouble. Most, if not all times, I break off a fish, it is entirely due to zebra mussle damage to the line. We re-tie often around here, but sometimes that is still not enough.
I also try to match line size to the rig I am using. I am sure trying to land a 5 pound smallie with 4 pound line, a drag my not be the best choice. But with 8 pound test, and the drag set precisely where it should be (not too much, not too little) I seem to control the fish just fine.
As for how we reel in those large Lake Erie smallies?........VERY CAREFULLY!!
It's not that big of a deal if you back-reel or not. Whatever works for the individual person. I personally feel with light line it has an advantage maybe someone else doesn't ,that's fine. More importantly have a good time fishing. Being out on the water is what really matters.