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How Do You Personally Set Your Drag?

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I would NEVER consider adjusting my drag.

Set it correctly and have confidence in your setting.

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How do I personally set my drag?

OK, no one has said it yet, so I will.......

With my fingers.... :)

But really,,, It all depends on the reel (open face or bait caster) But genially somewhere around 3.14 LBS..... Just enough to set the hook, then I control the spool with my fingers.

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With my fingers.... :)

But genially somewhere around 3.14 LBS.....

Well, that works fine when you have experience, but that doesn't

address the question. However, I LOVE your response! Those are

some sensitive fingers you have.

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Well, that works fine when you have experience, but that doesn't

address the question. However, I LOVE your response! Those are

some sensitive fingers you have.

I got that from an old timer after he saw me set the hook on a LMB and promptly pulled him out of the water, airborne, with one stroke. "might tight on the ole drag aren't you".... He told me you only need enough drag to dig the barb into the meat, then use your fingers as needed to control the fish. I've broken a lot less lines this way. ;)

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Fair enough, but we're also using (I imagine) proportionally lighter tackle. Ergo, the drag can be just as important to fighting/landing the fish.

Where I might agree is that, by and large, the trend in freshwater fishing seems to be towards "can't fail" tackle. That is, we're chasing 5-10lb fish on, in some cases, 40+lb rated tackle. If you're flipping in heavy cover, so be it. But I think that part of the challenge of fishing is having to play out the fish and use your equipment properly to prevent it from breaking you off.

If you're like me, the drag matters.

Let's drop the tuna comparison, even small black fins that seldom are over 20#, that's offshore open water fishing which for the most part requires different kind of gear and different playing and landing techniques.

I agree with the "can't fail" quote and IMO this stems from watching the pros on TV cranking, yanking and dragging fish in order to boat them quickly and get on to the next cast. I can see this method for tournament fishing but for recreational fishing it's way overkill for my taste. Most bass fisherman will fish their entire life without landing a 10 pounder, and when you do the vegetation gives you more of fight than the fish itself. For me the challenge is light fish with light gear, one of the reasons I enjoy bass fishing.

Getting back to drag, our inshore techniques are similar to freshwater, except it's a lot more open water. Our drags as a rule are not set very tight, the fish most of the time hook themselves with their size, power or speed, we let them run. Commonplace to chase them on foot a 100 yds or more just to land a 10 pounder, my palming and grabbing of the spool technique is exceptionally effective, all the drag you need when you want it without ever having to make an adjustment, pretty neat stuff. I use this same technique bass fishing, one of the BR members tried it for bass and was very successful. All said the drag is important, but setting by feel is all ya gotta do.

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Let's drop the tuna comparison, even small black fins that seldom are over 20#, that's offshore open water fishing which for the most part requires different kind of gear and different playing and landing techniques.

I agree with the "can't fail" quote and IMO this stems from watching the pros on TV cranking, yanking and dragging fish in order to boat them quickly and get on to the next cast. I can see this method for tournament fishing but for recreational fishing it's way overkill for my taste. Most bass fisherman will fish their entire life without landing a 10 pounder, and when you do the vegetation gives you more of fight than the fish itself. For me the challenge is light fish with light gear, one of the reasons I enjoy bass fishing.

Getting back to drag, our inshore techniques are similar to freshwater, except it's a lot more open water. Our drags as a rule are not set very tight, the fish most of the time hook themselves with their size, power or speed, we let them run. Commonplace to chase them on foot a 100 yds or more just to land a 10 pounder, my palming and grabbing of the spool technique is exceptionally effective, all the drag you need when you want it without ever having to make an adjustment, pretty neat stuff. I use this same technique bass fishing, one of the BR members tried it for bass and was very successful. All said the drag is important, but setting by feel is all ya gotta do.

100%

A favorite expression of the guy that got me into Bass fishin' was "that's the way the pro's do it" He told me to "lock my drag", "don't give a Bass a chance", "cross his eyes and get him on the boat", "that's the way the pro's do it"

Then I found another way, a fun way, play the fish; I learned to use my reel and rod tip to control a ticked off fish; and yes I fail from time to time, but isn't that all part of the game?

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Playing a fish is fine, exhausting a fish is not.

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Playing a fish is fine, exhausting a fish is not.

No, that wouldn't be good, I just don't winch them in at high speed, or make em go airborne any longer; I give them a fighting chance to spit the hook back at me.

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No implication that you were intended, just a friendly reminder for noobs

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With today's equipment it's not much of a contest any longer.

Friday, 10/5, I had a blast bottom fishing (drop-shotting) for Striper's on 6 lb test and a small purple Berkley power worm; I had the drag set light on my open-faced spinning reel and used my finger to control the spool until the rod tip hit 12:00 high, then I move my finger and reel like H to get the rod tip back down to about 9:00, then do it all again. I could feel every jerk of the Striper's head, and when he decided he didn't like the looks of my boat and put the power on I gave him a little time to settle down. We (the fish & I) had fun, and I thanked him before his release. (no - I don't kiss fish)

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Playing a fish is fine, exhausting a fish is not.

Agree! All I do is test the drag by hand. If its not enough you can use your hand for drag like Snook said. I don't think there's any harm in tightening the drag star while a fish is on but I have lost a good fish before by doing this because I wasn't being conscious of my line size :embarassed2: Pretty frustrating to lose a fish from "over-dragging" your line. This is why I would not lock my drag. I jig fish a lot and swing on lots of stumps and bumps when trolling; I tend to think my gear appreciates a looser drag. I mainly fish 20# suffix elite braid and would guess my drag is ~4-5lbs, enough for fish but not too much for snags.

I can respect your game in having fun traveler but to me if I wanted to bass to have a chance at getting away I wouldnt put hooks in front of him in the first place xD

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I can respect your game in having fun traveler but to me if I wanted to bass to have a chance at getting away I wouldnt put hooks in front of him in the first place xD

LOL, it can make for a fun day. Have you ever compressed the barb on your hooks (fishing barbless)? That's also fun ! :respect-059:

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LOL, it can make for a fun day. Have you ever compressed the barb on your hooks (fishing barbless)? That's also fun ! :respect-059:

Lol only a few times on trebles and when the law requires it for trout ;)

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There is no one in the world that lands every single fish. I would say there probably is little need to adjust your drag if the fish aren't too big, what species and the location. If a fish has to be pulled clear of some heavy vegetation I can see increasing the drag, open water not so much. Using the palming or grabbing of the spool method with a spinning reel makes that easier, I don't take my eye off the fish and I keep a tight line, manual adjustment we sometimes have the tendency to look at the reel.....a no no. Just another reason I prefer spinning over b/c. I'm a braid user and it's strong stuff, for me it's 10 or 15# in fresh and 15 or 20# for inshore fishing, I never concern myself over line breaking, not that it doesn't happen once in a while. If the fish is really big and powerful, locked down at 20# drag won't stop some fish, if line is still being pulled that out takes the pressure off it and it's less likely to break. A slightly smaller fish can break the line because if you do lock down the drag the fish won't pull line out and now there is more strain on the line, kinda sounds backwards but it isn't. I always let my fish run, never yank and crank, use the lightest gear I can get away with and always rely on my drag. I can honestly not recall any bass being belly up after exhaustion, that just isn't going to happen in 60 second or less fight, at least that's my opinion. Has that happened with other species, once in while yes, most seem to revive pretty well, but we always don't know what happens minutes later when they are out of sight, gotta be honest about that.

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I usually just pull on the line, but I pull it from the rod tip and not right out of the reel.

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I rather not leave something that is easily measurable to question. If you've never measured your drag resistance, I recommend you try it. You will be surprised at the numbers.

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I rather not leave something that is easily measurable to question. If you've never measured your drag resistance, I recommend you try it. You will be surprised at the numbers.

I think you will be VERY surprised!

On my heaviest combination (The Rig) the drag is set at about 4 lbs. Most are 2 1/2 - 3 lbs.

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I think you will be VERY surprised!

On my heaviest combination (The Rig) the drag is set at about 4 lbs. Most are 2 1/2 - 3 lbs.

And this is from a guy that landed (with help) the big fish of the 2012 Road Trip, a 7+ lb LMB on 4 lb test from the bank ! :respect-059:

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