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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sounds like a silly question but I am still unsure of what is the best way to set the drag on reels.
I have mine set fairly tight, but have heard of people saying they set their drag at such and such weight.
I have two rear drag + fighting drag shimano exage reels, I have never had a problem so far but have also never hooked a big fish.
What is the best method or is it just guess and tune with experience?
When not in use am I doing right to back it right off?
 

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mosseydog said:
Sounds like a silly question but I am still unsure of what is the best way to set the drag on reels.
I have mine set fairly tight, but have heard of people saying they set their drag at such and such weight.
I have two rear drag + fighting drag shimano exage reels, I have never had a problem so far but have also never hooked a big fish.
What is the best method or is it just guess and tune with experience?
When not in use am I doing right to back it right off?
Andy, i never have my drag set to any certain weight, if anyone could advise on setting drags to actual weights that would be great. I too also loosen the drags when the reel is finished with, although i have heard the drag shouldnt be too lose or is tight when rinsing?? again any advice out there?
 

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As you know Andy i have my drag set fairly light relying on finger pressure if i need more drag
i know that some people like to bully the fish in as it takes less time for them to recover But i am fishing for pleasure and find playing the fish more pleasurable than bullying them in [if i was that concerned for the fish i would leave them alone and take up another hobby] sorry if that sounds bad but thats how i feel also i take the odd fish for the table [i do release more than i take but i do take the odd one or two]

Sorry back on topic as said i have a light drag setting tighten it down for rinsing and slacken it right off for storage only tightening it up when i have set the rod up

when using mono i tend to tighten the drag a touch more than when using braid but still not tight enough to get the rod to full bend/compression

it may well be wrong but thats how i do it dai
 

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Hello Andy,

I don't set my drag to weight anymore as i don't think i'm going to catch a bass over 30lb, :eek: but when i used to fish for congers and smoothhounds, i'd use 20lb mainline (on my 525's) and set my drag to about 15 lb,

it is quite easily done just tie a loop onto your main line, tighten your drag right up. hang a set of sprung scales from a hook on the wall, attach the loop of line to the scales and then pull until you are exerting 15lb of pressure, then release the drag so that line gives (slightly) at this point

on my plugging reels, i just make sure that line will come of the reel at a fairly hard tug of the braid. and then if the fish is a good 'un and starts stripping off too much line and heading for snags, just tighten up as needed..

Hope this helps,, Marc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Marc that sounds obvious now you have explained it like that.

I tighten mine up a fair bit but not so tight that I can't pull some through but I make sure I leave the fighting drag(think thats what its called-the extra lever) with a good amont of scope to increase it if required.
 

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Reel Drag settings, Well personally I set my spin reel at about 1.5-1.75 lb of drag, pretty light I am sure some will think, But any higher and you start to risk tearing out of a good bass that slams into the lure. I want just enough drag to set the hooks, then I can adjust as I need while fighting the fish. I always try not to touch the spool. So easy to apply alittle extra pressure with your fingers and then the fish bolts, Goodbye Fish. If you can keep the fish on the reel, you will land more that way.
I tend to find with light drags bass run, rather than sound. So unless I am fishing the really rough broken reefy stuff, I keep the drag light.
MosseyDog,
Last time I broke my rule, was just after landing the 5lb at the weymouth comp, left the drag wound up at bit too much. Thats why I lost that next better bass. Pilot error I think it's called. :oops:
 

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i back off the star/drag and just use the rachet on,on ...with trolling this is an advantage...and i use finger pressure on the line against the rod butt..to stop a fish running..i like the reel making noises as a fish runs off..it gets my teeth on edge and adds some audible excitment to the proceedure................
 

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I was once told you should set your drag using scales in a straight line pull to 1/5th of the strength of your line. i.e 6lb to 30lb braid. I did this for a while without any problems. Someone asked the same question on the WSF a while back and I got jumped upon for quoting what I'd been quoted and told i'd snap my rod at that level, far too high. I shut up after that !!

However, I've set my drag to that level before and it's pretty much at the point at which you simply cannot pull line off the reel with your fingers. I think thats too high so i always start there, and then back it off a little until I can pull line freely but under good tension from the drag. I find that easier than continually checking with scales. I've never hooked a big bass so can't say if it would hook pull or not.

One question that remains unanswered tho for me is surely drag is also relevant to your rod type? A soft or through action rod will set the hooks very well when you strike without a hook pull, even if your drags is as tight as can be, the rod will absorb your strike. With a good strong stiff tipped fast action rod, like the rod bar, a tight drag will be exagerated by the stiff rod and you will drop fish, I can clearly see the benefits of a lighter drag setting there.

So I don't think you can wholeheartly state what drag you should set without determining all the factors. Mono stretches and would be more forgiving too so there's another part of the equation.

As for snapping my rod at 6lb drag, can't see me doing it the way I fish but I'd certainly set it lower with my Rod Bar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
More great answers, brilliant. I have the Boner and Bushwacker both which are very stiff so may well start with the drag a little bit lighter in future.
Tunny is your setting an estimation or did you use the scales method initially to work it out?
I generally have 23lb braid with 20lb fluro leader so I guess by Andys calculations it should be on the weeker line at around 4lb.
 

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for me, setting my drag is purely by feel,

but one thing for sure,

you should never come across the following..................stale mate with a fish.

set your drag,so either your taking line or the fish is able to take line on the run,never have it so neither is taking line if that makes sense,because that's a sure way to bust off.

kev
 

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kjw said:
for me, setting my drag is purely by feel,

but one thing for sure,

you should never come across the following..................stale mate with a fish.

set your drag,so either your taking line or the fish is able to take line on the run,never have it so neither is taking line if that makes sense,because that's a sure way to bust off.

kev
That is exactly how I do it, but Kev has explained it much better than I would have.

I used to adjust my drag so when I cast there was no line slipping from the spool, in other words a slight bit looser and the line would have turned the spool a little in the cast....ah I know what I mean. That is pretty loose, but did me well for years, but, that was when I used a rear drag reel and I used to foof about with my drag far too much with fish. It was fine but I did lose the odd big fish that litterally grabbed the lure and shot into weed before I had a chance to do anythinh. Nowerdays since using front drag, I tend to have my drag fairly tight compared to how I used to, but like Kevin said its all down to feel, I just grab the line and give it a tug and think,mmm, yeah baby. Not much use if youre wanting to know, a bit like learnin to be a jedi I suppose, use the force.
 

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****, do you change your drag setting for boat / shore fishing or do you leave the same ? also wondered do you change the setting when shallow / deep water, just interested as i tend to be on the loose side (the drag that is)!!!!! :roll: :roll:
 

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MosseyDog,
Nope don't weigh the drag, would only do that if I was setting up Big Game reels for Tournaments. As with MrFish and KJW, you get a feel for it, Trust me though less in this case is more. Landed several fish this year that were "just" hooked, with a heavier drag would have lost them.
 

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Okay fellas i stand corrected,

i think i may still be setting my own plugging reel a tad too heavy, as it seems that only fish over 5lb are able to take line, so thanks guys.. :D

but i still think that i'll need to weigh set the drag on my conger reels, cos there are a some good doublers where i fish, and if they manage to get back into the rocks you have no way of getting them out..
 

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Mad One,
No such thing as right or wrong, if it is working for you, stick with it.
Totally with on the conger set up, real hit and hold stuff.
 

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mad one said:
Okay fellas i stand corrected,

i think i may still be setting my own plugging reel a tad too heavy, as it seems that only fish over 5lb are able to take line, so thanks fellas.. :D

but i still think that i'll need to weigh set the clutch on my conger reels, cos there are a some good doublers where i fish, and if they manage to get back into the rocks you have no way of getting them out..
Remember what feels like a lightly set clutch for me may feel tight for you!
on the conga's Marc i have my slosh tight it takes a b####y heave to get line off if i'm targeting them
now if we were talking about the hounds i like to let them play a bit
 

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I tend to set my drag (front) so that working the lure does not click the drag, Just, in other words very light. I know that this can mean that I may lose fish because they do not connect well or set the hook, but I do have lots of fun when they do.

If I wish I can tightern the drag whilst playing a fish, or use my fingures spool (more likley).

For me its about having fun and the fish having a chance of getting away.
 

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The rule for drag is used to be 1/3 and some times 1/5 of the breaking strain of the main line.Its mainly use as a protection from broken rod,snapping the line,broken/failing of the terminal tackle and knot.

Why 1/3 or 1/5?? As the line pour out of your spool....the shallower the line in the spool the higher the drag will be.For examples....u re using 18 lbs of breaking strain....u set ur drag at 12lbs....if a really2 big fish taking or strip ur line till half of the spool...the drag most probably will be more than 18lbs and u can snap ur line.But that was during mono line era.Now with the line that most of us using are braid,verry2 little to no stretch, which is not consistent in breaking strain and most of the time are under rated.....its quite hard to apply that.How a bout our rods??Rated lets say 8-20lbs line....and we re using 20lb braid which in the real test sometimes will break at 30 or 40 lbs????Something to think about....For me i just adjust it by feeling....as long as its will peel out smoothly from my spool its ok....but how many pound of pull???i also dont know....Unless i am using a 20lb mono on penn int. ,targeting big game such as a grander marlin then i'll use the nerdy old style....btw just set it a bit light.....drag can be control with rod work during fighting the fish....more toward the 12 o clock the higher the drag....the more towards 3 o clock the lesser the drag.....other than that i use side sweep of the rod more often rather than fighting the strength of the fish.....just trying to knock them off balance and turn them head to the opposite side that their heading....i found out thats its more easier and less time taken to land them rather than playing at long time....tired fish is no good for release.....cheeerrss....
 

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Joe said it far better than i could but even with the drag set lightly on a light rod a decent fish dives for cover point the rod at the fish increase the drag tighten or apply finger pressure to the spool as soon as the fish slows bring the rod to the side to steer it
pulling the rod up will often result in the rod locking up leading to the fish being bumped or even worse [line giving rod snapping etc]
it's easier to steer the fish than to try and stop it by pulling against it
hope this makes sence dai
 
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