I agree with your last sentiment. I am very comfortable backwinding and see no reason to learn a new technique at my age no matter how good the modern reels are.
I also think that a person's technique in playing fish has an impact. Both with rod and pole I employ a very soft elbow/arm and will react to a fish's lunges initially by allowing the arm to unbend. I do wonder if those that rely on a clutch employ a much more rigid arm thus necessitating the use of the clutch.
I can't say I know my fish playing style, just sort of play them as the situation dictates and probably as much instinctively as thought through. That instinctiveness fits in with backwinding as I just feel when I should and shouldn't give line in order to preserve the gear rather than rely on the clutch to do its job.
Back in the day the clutches on the vast majority of fixed spools were rubbish so it became the norm to tighten them right down and backwind.
Nowa days clutches are much improved and can be used with confidence. As for using the clutch producing line twist, it's an absolute fallacy if used correctly.
It only happens if you are trying to retrieve line while the clutch is allowing line to be taken.
Peters hit the nail squarely on its head as far as I’m concerned; especially when I’m after decent sized fish that can veer off at high speed in any direction and rap my knuckles in the process if I tried to play the fish through the backwind.
Back in the 60s to late 80s I thought differently because of the terrible clutches that we had to contend with on our reels in those days, but now we have decent clutches which do their job well it’s a different story.
Nowerdays I usually have my clutch set on the lighter side and may sometimes adjust the clutch at different times during the fight if I hook a decent sized fish; and it gives me far more control over a large fish that way.
Just reading the names and the guys that backwind and those that don't. I honestly think regardless of which ever method you use of playing a fish providing it done efficiently. Either way works and it's no big deal. With modern reels we now have an option unless the reel has no anti reverse. And that's about it.
I use the clutch, but constantly adjust it throughout the retrieve, not very efficient I imagine but I feel in control of the fight and that usually wins out.
I remember float fishing once when fishing a new small pool/pit with my old man, we were only on maggots, nothing fancy and we were only expecting small fish and BANG, struck into something larger than I have ever landed, no clutch set... and the hook pinged out and flew past my head. It had straightened right out, proper heavy fish, late teens at least i'm sure. (I don't carp fish btw, heaviest is around 8lb)