Setting your drag

Discussion in 'Fishing Reel Review' started by Uncle Sam, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. Uncle Sam

    Uncle Sam Member

    Messages:
    34
    State:
    Louisiana
    How do you do it? I use 20 lb test. When I get a good fish on I always worry about breaking my line. Sometimes if a fish is pulling very hard I'll loosen my drag a little bit. I'll tighten it back up when I think its safe, but then I don't know exactly where I'm at. If he makes another hard run I could be tight enough for him to break my line. Of course I didn't know exactly where I was at when I started. Do you guys measure it with a scale and leave it set until a line change or what? Any advice appreciated. Thanks

    Sam
     
  2. big-muddy

    big-muddy New Member

    Messages:
    1,834
    State:
    norfolk, va
    Just set it to where the fish can pull it a little, but not loose enough to tangle up your line in the reel. if the fish pulls too much line too fast, your rod will probably lock up. if you have a baitcaster, just set the clicker. i use my thumb to hold the line while i pull and then reel and then give a little if need be.
     

  3. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    One way of doing it is to tighten down the drag til the line breaks when you pull it, then loosen the drag... actually, that was said with tounge in cheek. I believe there are some articles in the B.O.C. library which go into setting the drag. This link will take you to the library's table of contents, which Whistler has put a good part of his life into. LOL. It is one of the best reference places you can find for general fishing.

    http://www.catfish1.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38576

    I believe most people like to set their drag at about 60% of line strength. Lets say you use 20 lb test line. Most knots will weaken a line 10 to 20%. Lets use the high side and say that your 20 pound test is now 16 pound strength doe to the knots you have tied in the line. Half the line strength would then be 8 pounds, but thats kinda weak. Sixty per cent of the strength would be around 9.6 pounds, so you could probably set it in the range of 10 to 12 pounds. To do this, go out into the yard, or somewhere which has some room. Tie off one end of your line to a scale and then walk off the distance you think you'd have your line out from the bank/boat when fishing. Have a partner hold a scale, put a heavy load on the rod, start rearing back... then, if your drag is tight, start loosening it until you get to the range you want it set... in other words when your putting 12 pounds of pressure on the scale and your drag starts to slip, then your set. This is done with the approximate line off the reel you'll normally fish with, the rod is applying resistance, and the drag slips at the point you set. At that point your drag is set... but you'll tinker with it eventually and be going by the seat of your pants theory like most of us do anyhow.
     
  4. kyjake

    kyjake New Member

    Messages:
    714
    State:
    kentucky
    Another way would be to have a 7-8 lb. weight on the end of the line and set your drag until it was just tight enough to lift it off the floor with your rod.haven't done that in years but should.I always back the drag way down when setting the rod so a big fish won't drag my outfit in and just guess at proper setting after hooking one.
    Jake
     
  5. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    The last that I read was that the pro.saltwater teams were still setting their drags at 27-29 lbs.with 130 lb.line & gear.Every man on board these boats are pros.and experts at handling everything including the boat.Their gear is top of the line.Their drag setting is 1/4 max to 1/5 min.of their line & gear rating and they have every advantage I know of.I don;t figure my skills or equipment measures up to theirs,but I can sure learn from them on my drag settings!I have marked my Penns for years with a white paint stick with my optimum and max.drag settings in relation to my star knob on my drags.Remember.The more line you get out,the more force the smaller spool puts on your line.I have read repeatedly that you need a lower setting with braid as you have no stretch to absorb snatches and jerks of a struggling fish.They recommend a more limber rod to absorb this shock.Remember to check your rod,reel and line rating before setting your drag.Setting for just one or two ain;t going to save the one you forgot that was not made for that load!A lot of reels and rods are destroyed by setting just by line strength.It is worse with the braids with 50-60 lb.line on 14 lb.rated rods and reels.The weakest gotta give.I love you Brothers and Sisters.peewee
     
  6. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    if youre that worried about breaking your line get heaver line:eek:oooh: on most of my reels i can tighten the drag all the way and not worry because they may be 25# max and i use 40# line. their are times when the leader is nicked a little and i should retie but dont feel like it then i do exactly as you, give alittle take a little as needed just be ready to adjust thats how you do it. if you think hes gonna bust off give him some line. if it does break like awe shucks said you know exactly were youre at:cool2:
     
  7. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    What is your rod & what is your reel rated at?I love you Brothers and Sisters.peewee
     
  8. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    One of the real advantages of spinning gear is one we dont discuss much.I learned when fishing for smallmouths using 4lb and 6lb mono that drags are really not that dependable unless you have really good reels like FIN NOR ,PENN and the other top end lines.SO I just never set the anti reverse and back reel when needed.That is only possible with reels that have a selectable anti-reverse like my old model PENN 7500s.The new ones have continous so you cant back reel.Drags are great when they work but on less expensive reels this can be a problem.Once the intial inertia is overcome and the drag starts working ,they tend to work ok.Up to that point its anybodies guess as to what the setting is.One way around the situation is to use braid which I do, 80lb in fact and usually the rod will break before the line.I always backreel when a fish is on top close to the boat to avoid those last minute runs.I do leave the anti reverse on when the rod is in the holder to facilitate the hookset but once I pick up the rod I turn it off.:big_smile:
     
  9. Dave53

    Dave53 New Member

    Messages:
    411
    State:
    Lonedell M
    Jim what is back reel you refer to when the fish is close to the boat?
     
  10. vlparrish

    vlparrish New Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    State:
    Bedford, Kentucky
    Jim, my dad has used spinning reels for all of his fishing for years, mostly the mitchell 300s. He has always turned off the anti-reverse and back reeled when he had on larger fish. By back reeling you can help prevent the line twist that the spinning reel is noted for on a slipping drag. Vern
     
  11. Pirate Jerry

    Pirate Jerry New Member

    Messages:
    613
    State:
    Yulee Florida
    set the drag at about 25% of line test. let the rod take the strain and don't take a chance of breaking off or pulling a hook.
     
  12. derf

    derf New Member

    Messages:
    5
    State:
    alabama
    I am from the old school, my first reels didn't have drags. We learned to use our thumbs and it still works today.
    If you want to set your drag the way it should be ,set it with a bent rod, your guides will put a lot of resistance on your line to start with. Another thing that needs to be considered is line drag, the more line you have out the more drag you have on your line.
    What I can't under stand is why you need a drag if you are going to set it at a 100 lbs. Use a cane pole or a hand line ,they have a positive drag.

    If you fish current and big fish ,when you stop the fish dead it normally turns to face you ,the hook rips out or you are faced with pulling a 3 gallon bucket to the boat. To me there is no sport in that kind of fishing. I would rather jug fish. I let my fish run keeping max presure on them ,thumb on the spool,ajusting to its movements. slowly stopping and turning the fish to one side. I will end up fighting the fish off to the side of the boat . Most of the fish i catch will end up fighting on th serface. some even make an effert to jump. I get a 65 lb. blue to the boat in 20 to 30 min.on 10lb test. AND I ENJOY EVERY SECOND OF IT. Maybe it is because I am retired and no longer in a hurry..RECKON???
     
  13. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    100 lbs.of drag?I have not seen such except when commercial saltwater fishing.Is that what you retired from? I have also used very stout "Calcutta" cane poles and hand lines commercially.You were definitely from the "Old School".I have about a dozen hand reels now.Do you fish with a Alvey or a moocher reel with little to no drag also?I love my Alvey and palming for x-tra drag was part of using it. Most just don;t have your experience,skill,expertise and such so we use a drag.I guess if we all did not they would not bother to put them on a reel.You must be well known for your skill in your area.Your sure would be in mine.Many do not have a boat and can not follow a fish in swift or any water like you can.We could learn a lot from you if you would share your knowledge.How do you get your Catfish to come up and fight on the surface?Your fishing sounds exactly like my Bow fin or Mud fish fishing in the fighting department.Most all of my catfish dog it out below the surface.You got the best and you got the worst in everything.You are fortunate to be at the top.The rest of us have to settle for in between except for that poor fellow at the bottom.Now that I am crippled up,I often think that is me.Well I have had about over 55 wonderful years at it.Man would I love to watch you fish.I enjoy watching anyone that is really good at doing something.Thanks and please continue to help us out.What year,make and model reels are you using?I love you Brothers and Sisters.peewee
     
  14. odtimr

    odtimr New Member

    Messages:
    206
    State:
    nebraska
    Shane
    You say you loosen your drag when a fish is pulling hard and then tighten it up later. It seems to me this is the wrong thing to do as most of my fishes are lost at the bank or side of the boat when the fish goes wild and gives that all to get loose. I feel this would be the time to loosen my drag not tighten it. I set my drag when I begin fishing to what I figure is safe enough to prevent breaking and leave it there. Luck
     
  15. derf

    derf New Member

    Messages:
    5
    State:
    alabama
    Sorry the 100 lb was a carry over from another thread, Some one had a reel with a 96 lb drag[ i think].

    I pretty much set my drag the same on all my reels. {with in reason]10 ,12 or 15 even if i used 50 . It isn't the line I fish, it is the pleasure of catching the fish.

    I have only been fishing big cats for little over a year and a half 'I am learning but I learn fast. It doesn't matter what kind of GOOD reel you use,
    You use what you can afford. ADD teflon drag washers make your drag as smooth as possible, use a rod with a limber tip to take up the shock . Keep steddy drag on your fish and it will give up [ if you don,t run outof line]

    I once caught a 22 lb chanel cat on a fly rod made into a spinning rod and 4 lb test, from the bank. It took the best part of 300 yds of line. And I will say
    it was one of the hardest fights I have had.

    I fish from a boat but so far I have not had to throw my ancore bouy but
    I am riged for it and the day will come.

    I didn't say I fished without a drag. I set my drag lite and use my finger
    [spinning] thumb [convential] reels. I am constantly changing my drag setting depending on the fish and the condictions.

    I have comercial fish , sports fished ,spawned and raised cat fish, and will
    say [not bragging] I pretty much know how a catfish thinks. As for being known very few people know me or see the fish I catch.I do it for me, I fish
    at nite.[Because of the SUN] so I pretty much have it to my self.