Setting Reel Drag?

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by JPritch, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. JPritch

    JPritch New Member

    Lynchburg, VA
    What's the best way to go about setting the drag on your reels prior to an outing? Or is drag something that is set on the fly each time you get a fish on?

    I read something about attaching your hook to your fish scale and setting your drag that way, but what poundage should I set it at if I'm going out for big blues or say channels?

    Any advice greatly appreciated.
  2. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Guthrie, Oklaho
    On a fish scale, set the drag at about 70 to 75 percent of your rated strength. For 10 lb test line, set the reel so the drag slips at 7 to 8 lbs. For 20 lb test line, set the drag for 15 or 16 pounds. These are just guide lines and you have to adjust them according to the type and manner in which you fish. Remember, when you tie a knot in your line, your loosing from 10 to 40% of the rated strength.

  3. dafin

    dafin New Member

    I set my drag at 1/4 line test with a scale.
  4. Coyote1

    Coyote1 New Member

    Dear Brother Joshua;
    Personally, I start off setting my reels at 1/4th to 1/3rd of the strength of the line.
    This usually covers the slight loss of strength from your knots, and gives you some leeway as your spool of line gets smaller if the fish goes on a "Run".
    You can always add a bit more if needed but I've seen folks that set their drags way high and then when they set the hook they do so violently and it's many times enough to be just enough to snap your line somewhere! And if your luck is like mine, that would be the one time in your life that you would have had a 100#+Blue on the line too! That would make me soooooo MAD at myself!!! :angry:
    So, I usually start off with something between 1/4 to 1/3 of the listed weight capacity of the line.
    While I am writing this, please let me tell you another tip that I use too. Too many times we take our knots for granted! I learned a long time ago there is a "Right" way to tie a knot and a "WRONG" way to tie a knot.
    If your working with monofilament, heat of any kind, especially when pulling your knot together, must be fervently eschewed!!
    Also, learn to tie your knots perfectly and PROPERLY! There are many books on knot tying and they are not that expensive. There are knots you can use that if PROPERLY tied, will give you 90 to 95%+% or more of your line strength. Tie that same knot improperly and you will be lucky to have 50% of your line strength rating!
    If your working with Braided Lines, be advised that most monofilament line knots will N-O-T work with Braided or Fused lines! There are many knots designed especially for working with braided lines. In fact, the line I use; Power Pro, includes their own little suggested knots for Braided lines pamphlet with the purchase of their line! :smile2:
    So, know how and at what strength to set your drag for the species of fish your going after and know how to tie the correct knots for the line used and it's particular application. Learn how to time them correctly by lots and lots of practice until you get so good you can do it blindfolded/or in the dark, and you will have completed a good portion of properly "Getting Ready" to do battle with the Blue Monster of the Deep and have a decent chance of winning that battle.
    One last thing. If you do get a trophy sized Blue [60#+] I would encourage you to practice CPR!
    This way your allowing the fish to life, to pass on it's wonderful LARGE Genetics, and to allow more "younglings" to be born so that they too will someday be "BIGGUN'S".
    I hope this helps you out a bit. If I can be of further help please don't hesitate to contact me. Or, for that fact, any of the Brother's and Sister's of the BOC. We are family and we are always willing to help each other out! :smile2: :smile2:
    Fraternally and Sincerely,
    [[[[[End of Message]]]]]
  5. metalman

    metalman Well-Known Member

    So, make sure you get that fervent eschewing down before you start tying those knots. Sorry Coyote, I just couldn't resist:big_smile: :big_smile: :big_smile: Good post...W
  6. spanishcatman

    spanishcatman New Member

    United Kingdom
    I think a lot people look at setting the drag from the wrong angle - drag setting is more about hook size and type than line strength. What I mean is if you are using a big 5/0 or more hook (not a circle...) then it will need a heavy hit to set it in the cat's mouth, especially if it's in the pads. You will need a heavy drag setting to ensure the hook set. Sensible fomulae for setting the drag to avoid breaks has already been said on this post, but you need to decide how much drag you will need to set your chosen hook and then choose a line weight that will safely accommodate that drag setting.

    I hope this makes sense!
  7. EricM

    EricM Active Member

    Harrison TN
    Eric Maurer
    Coyote1 has it exactly right. I also started a thread Setting that drag and in researching this subject contacted Ande, the #1 manufacturer of IGFA rated line, and they recommend 25% to 30% of rated line strength and that is with a good bend in the rod. If you measure by pulling straight, they recommend 15%. Don't guess. You can always adjust the drag after you've set the hook and determined if you are willing to risk losing the fish to get it in sooner. This may be necessary in areas with bad snags - your choice. Please don't crank down that drag and then post how you've broken off a big fish. We see it way too often.
  8. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Montgomery, Alabama
    I have losen enough so they can pull line, but not to losen.
  9. flatheadchris

    flatheadchris New Member

  10. photocat

    photocat New Member

    HOCO, Maryland
    I usually set mine by tying the line off to a fixed object and then bending the rod to the point that i think the line's going to break or the rod will and leave it there... I haven't really lost a fish because the drag was too tight (atleast since I've been doing that)...
  11. s_man

    s_man New Member

    south east ohio
    I have learned over many years that using a scale to set your drag is a drag lol. Each trip is different, at some point you will either have to loosen it ( big fish at boatside ) or tighten it ( to keep a fish from running ). So all that scale stuff is tossed out as soon as you touch the star. After you catch a few larger fish you will find that you can tell how much drag you need to start with just by pulling from the spool by hand. If you SET the hook into a big one and your drag slips then you had it too loose, If you SET into a big one and you break off you had it too tight. Its not a necesity to have a perfect poundage pre set. After a hookset I always loosen mine up and use my thumb to be sure I don't break off. If he runs a little farther than you wanted tighten down a little more. Always loosen the drag the closer a big cat gets to the boat cause they will see you and surge back down 5 outta 10 times and if you have lighter line and a tight drag they will bust off and leave you upset lol.
  12. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    O.P., KS
    I do it just like Skip, starting off with a fairly light drag, and tightening as needed. Lot's of things come into play, like my level of confidence in the rod holder, and the liklihood of loosing a fish if it runs a little ways, so sometimes it's set lighter and sometimes it's set heavier. I always pull a little line off by hand to test it.
  13. THRowSOmeStink

    THRowSOmeStink New Member

    sedgwick, kansas

    This is the way I test mine. My drag is always different
  14. kylekutta

    kylekutta New Member

    I always set mine at 25% of what the lb. test line is rated.I use a scale to measure with someone reading the scales.With 25% drag it will never pull enough to break and with the drag of resistence in the water it sould be plenty to wear a fish down.If it is a monster I may tighten down a little but most of the time I use my finger on the spool.Hope this helps!
  15. kscatman

    kscatman New Member

    I start out with my drag se really light, but will add drag if I think the fish is pulling too easilly. It's something you instinctively learn over the years, how much pressure you're line will take. I probably run my drag way lighter than I need to. but I like to take my time.