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Pkfish49

Drag and Line breakage question

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I get to tell a success story about a smallie that I caught and also ask a question.  These are my relevant equipment specs.  I was using 10 lb mono and my reel has a max drag capacity of 10 lb.  I didn't weigh the fish but he was probably a little under 2 pounds.  

 

I'm not very scientific about my drag setting and am not sure where it was initially set.  I'm guessing it was around 3-4 lbs.  I was initially losing the fight, because I couldn't reel in fast enough to compensate for the line that he was running off, so I set the drag to near max, (saw that he stopped running line off) waited a few seconds, and was able to reel the fish in.

 

My experienced angler friends and internet resources tell me that it is more appropriate to tire the fish by letting him run line out for a while, but I like my method better because it brings the fish in faster and I haven't snapped a line yet.  You can though see from my profile that I've never caught more than a 3 pounder.  I always Bass fish with 10 LB mono.

 

Another reason that I don't want to let the Bass run off line is because I often fish from shore in very tricky shallow areas near shore and the more I let a fish run off, the more chances he has to snag my line around a log or another low-lying structure.

 

My question is about the specific mathematics behind line breakage, drag settings, and fish weight.  How long can I get away with my technique before I start snapping lines?  Can I assume that this will work until the fish get to a certain weight, then I'll start snapping lines?

 

Thanks

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57 minutes ago, Pkfish49 said:

Another reason that I don't want to let the Bass run off line is because I often fish from shore in very tricky shallow areas near shore and the more I let a fish run off, the more chances he has to snag my line around a log or another low-lying structure.

 

 If this is usually where you fish I would suggest switching to braid. Don't let them run around and hang you up, pull them out. This is easier to do with a stiff rod and baitcaster.

 

But if you are running a spinning set up and are dead set on 10lb mono, I usually tighten my drag almost all the way down and once I'm hooked up give the fish some drag if I need to. I have 8lb mono on my spinning reels and couldn't tell you the last time I broke a fish off. Even had a surprise 10lb channel cat a few weeks ago.

 

Not sure if and when your going to snap line but if it has been working for you don't worry about it. It's not a problem until it becomes a problem.

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51 minutes ago, BuzzHudson19c said:

 

 If this is usually where you fish I would suggest switching to braid. Don't let them run around and hang you up, pull them out. This is easier to do with a stiff rod and baitcaster.

 

But if you are running a spinning set up and are dead set on 10lb mono, I usually tighten my drag almost all the way down and once I'm hooked up give the fish some drag if I need to. I have 8lb mono on my spinning reels and couldn't tell you the last time I broke a fish off. Even had a surprise 10lb channel cat a few weeks ago.

 

Not sure if and when your going to snap line but if it has been working for you don't worry about it. It's not a problem until it becomes a problem.

I appreciate the advice and support.  I'm having a good season, but I've just taken up up freshwater fishing after a very long absence and I'm still learning stuff each trip.  I'm gonna stick with spinning reels for a while.  I have a bunch of equipment, but right now my favorite setup is a Shakespeare ugly stik 6 foot model paired with Penn Battle II size 2000 reel.  I'm not sure of the stick is considered "stiff," but it's got a great snap.  I've got two longer rods, one of them thicker and heavier and with the same line, I can't throw lures on either of them farther then with the ugly stick.  I'm guessing that I'd be fine with 8 LB test. I've stuck with 10 lb after taking the advice of some Dick's Sporting Goods guys advice.  I've stayed away from braid since a few years ago when 20 lb braid on my saltwater surf casting reel tore my casting finger up badly.

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First time ya break off a personal best you'll quit that nonsense!

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I am a shorebound angler myself, but if a two pound bass was pulling line that fast, that would suggest to me that it was set too low to begin with.  

 

You didn't specify what reel type you are using but I'll guess spinning gear?  One of the the neat things about a baitcaster is that your thumb can serve as a "secondary" drag if I were to give it a name.

 

10# line is very strong.  I honestly think your line will be more bound to break from the result of unseen wear and tear on the line or cover than a drag set to max or you pulling to hard. I don't think this is concern you can let go.

 

This is just me, but I prefer to give the fish a sporting chance and setting the drag that high kind of takes away to sport a bit IMHO from the battle between fish a man, which is what I am after.  I probably would change that philosophy if I were tournament fishing however, lol.

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I believe that the recommended drag setting is about 1/4 to 1/3 of break strength of line being used.  Or around 2-3lbs for your set up.  You may be surprised how hard it is to lift a 10 pound weight off the ground, and how much 2-3lb will bend your rod before the drag slips.  Especially an Ugly stick :).

 

Your aren't fighting the weight of the fish with your drag, you are fighting its swimming "thrust".  Unless you are lifting him up and over something to get him landed, the weight of the fish is not exactly relevant to line size.

 

For example, using light tackle, all other things being equal (line size, , both fish same weight, etc) a 4lb smallmouth that has lived in current his whole life is going to be able to pull a heck of a lot harder and has a better chance of breaking you off than a 4lb largemouth that has been living in a pond.

 

It may be a better option for you to set the drag to recommended spec, then hold the spool with your reeling hand if you think he is going towards something that will wrap you up.  That way the drag can do it's job the whole rest of the time.  Like if it makes a quick surge, etc.

 

The balance is strength vs visibility.  Good drag settings and keeping line size down "should" get you more bites.

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The power in your 6 foot ugly stick is low and the action is moderate to moderate fast at best.  The line is mono so you have all the stretch and give in the entire world.  Use your hand to add additional pressure when you catch a larger fish, just like on a bait caster.  I do this a lot and it prevents close to the boat disasters.  Set your drag for a decent setting and then feather it in with your hand.  If the bass makes a strong surge then let the drag do its job. 

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You're fishing for bass, not Tuna, set your drag at an appropriate setting and let it be.  Like what was said above, you can use your hand to slow the fish down if you want by applying pressure to the side of the spool, but I would only do that if you think you're going to get tangled in something.  Increasing drag pressure increases your chance of a hook being pulled out or straightened, knot being pulled, or an unknown weakness in the line snapping.  Let the fish pull some drag, it's more fun that way anyway.

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 Let me just make sure I understand, a 2 lb fish was pulling drag?

ya'll LMB guys is funny...

 

The only time a fish that size should take drag is when he's bait, and everything goes dark.

 

i think I'm going to open up a fish fighting school, and have the fresh water guys come out with med gear and catch 8-16 lb bluefish. It's hard to really learn the limits of your tackle when the green blob at the other end is just waddling around.

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I doubt you had more than 1 lb of drag force on your spinning reel if a 2 lb bass was "running" line off your reel. 

Set your drag properly so you don't break your rod by applying too much force. Properly is 1/3rd the line strength or 10 lb line use 3 lbs to 3 1/2 lbs of drag force. If you don't own a scale use 3 lbs of weight. Just put 3 pint water bottles in a plastic grocery bag, 1 pint = 1 lb. attach your line to the bag of bottles and lift with your rod, adjust the drag until it stops slipping or back off until it just starts to slip. You will be surprised how much force 3 lbs is! Most spinning rods bottom out at 3 lb lifting force. After doing this a few times you can estimate the drag force.

Note, don't reel when a fish is pulling drag, it will twist your line with a spinning reel. To increase drag for a few seconds just put your index finger on the reel spool to slow it down or stop it turning.

Tom

 

 

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Either method can work. The "Locked Drag" method that you describe can eventually lead to two things - A. broken line. B. Hooks ripped out of the fishes mouth because there is no give. But like you said, having too light of a drag allows a fish to run around more, giving them a chance to wrap you up around wood/rocks/weeds, or for the fish to throw the bait out of their mouth. So both methods have their pluses and minuses. So with experience, you'll learn a happy median and style that suites you best. 

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Do yourself a favor and spool of with some braid learn some not so you can tie yourself a leader if you really want to. As far as the drag you don't need to be all scientific about it just feel it out with your hand and after you catch some fish just feel it out and get it set where you like it.

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17 hours ago, TheRodFather said:

 

 

Your aren't fighting the weight of the fish with your drag, you are fighting its swimming "thrust".  Unless you are lifting him up and over something to get him landed, the weight of the fish is not exactly relevant to line size.

 

 

 

I'm quoting part of this post, but also thanking all posters for their advice.

 

I should have mentioned this in my original post:

 

One of my favorite spots for bass is a bridge over my favorite lake.  I'm not great at approximating distances, but the water must be somewhere between 10-15 feet down,  That's one of the reasons why I thought that the fish weight may be an important factor to consider for my equipment and technique. I do have a 3 foot landing net to help out a little.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Pkfish49 said:

 

I'm quoting part of this post, but also thanking all posters for their advice.

 

I should have mentioned this in my original post:

 

One of my favorite spots for bass is a bridge over my favorite lake.  I'm not great at approximating distances, but the water must be somewhere between 10-15 feet down,  That's one of the reasons why I thought that the fish weight may be an important factor to consider for my equipment and technique. I do have a 3 foot landing net to help out a little.

 

 

Knowing that, then yes, the strength of the line is going to need to factor into your choices.

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Rather than fret over drag setting if you're worried about breaking off, concentrate on tying good knots and re-tying often. 

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If my gear can handle it, the fish is coming to the boat ASAP. The longer you fight the fish the greater chance it will get off. If I hook a 5lber on a dropshot on my ML I'd let it tire out but generally I'm fishing braid in 30, 40, 50, 65 lb for most of my setups. At which point my only concern is the line getting brushed against something sharp or the hooks themselves failing. I think there's a place for both tiring the fish and horsing them. I don't ever get precise about my drag settings though. I am more concerned with the drag being smooth than the actual lb it's set at. I usually have it set to where I feel comfortable not damaging the hook. Only time I worry about the line snapping because of drag is on my spinning setups usually when I am using light leaders. 

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37 minutes ago, Delaware Valley Tackle said:

Rather than fret over drag setting if you're worried about breaking off, concentrate on tying good knots and re-tying often. 

I don't know many knots, but I tie a good improved clinch knot which has never broken. The only times I re-tie is when I have to cut off line due to unrecoverable snags, or when the the clip end of the swivel rips off.  I use barrel swivels with safety snaps and tie the swivel to the end of the line with the knot, just wrapping it five times.  I was taught to wrap the line seven times, but this was for ocean fishing with heavier line.  I then clip my lure to the other end. 

 

The only thing that has ever broken with this setup is the clip end, which of course also loses the lure that was attached to it.  I’ve reeled the line in after snags and after losing fish and have found the clip end completely removed, leaving only a two-sided swivel.  I’m going to blame this on the swivels and not my knot tying ability or my general setup.  Please correct me if I am wrong.  If I throw lures for 5-7 hours in a given day, this happens once, maybe twice.

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On 10/7/2017 at 7:49 PM, Pkfish49 said:

I get to tell a success story about a smallie that I caught and also ask a question.  These are my relevant equipment specs.  I was using 10 lb mono and my reel has a max drag capacity of 10 lb.  I didn't weigh the fish but he was probably a little under 2 pounds.  

 

I'm not very scientific about my drag setting and am not sure where it was initially set.  I'm guessing it was around 3-4 lbs.  I was initially losing the fight, because I couldn't reel in fast enough to compensate for the line that he was running off, so I set the drag to near max, (saw that he stopped running line off) waited a few seconds, and was able to reel the fish in.

 

My experienced angler friends and internet resources tell me that it is more appropriate to tire the fish by letting him run line out for a while, but I like my method better because it brings the fish in faster and I haven't snapped a line yet.  You can though see from my profile that I've never caught more than a 3 pounder.  I always Bass fish with 10 LB mono.

 

Another reason that I don't want to let the Bass run off line is because I often fish from shore in very tricky shallow areas near shore and the more I let a fish run off, the more chances he has to snag my line around a log or another low-lying structure.

 

My question is about the specific mathematics behind line breakage, drag settings, and fish weight.  How long can I get away with my technique before I start snapping lines?  Can I assume that this will work until the fish get to a certain weight, then I'll start snapping lines?

 

Thanks

 

For crying out loud man, a 3-4 lb smallie ain't gonna break 10 lb test line even with the drag tightened at max, it ain't a friggin' 500 lb marlin ! Check your line religiously for signs of wear and tear, that's what causes the line to break.

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1 hour ago, Pkfish49 said:

I don't know many knots, but I tie a good improved clinch knot which has never broken. The only times I re-tie is when I have to cut off line due to unrecoverable snags, or when the the clip end of the swivel rips off.  I use barrel swivels with safety snaps and tie the swivel to the end of the line with the knot, just wrapping it five times.  I was taught to wrap the line seven times, but this was for ocean fishing with heavier line.  I then clip my lure to the other end. 

 

The only thing that has ever broken with this setup is the clip end, which of course also loses the lure that was attached to it.  I’ve reeled the line in after snags and after losing fish and have found the clip end completely removed, leaving only a two-sided swivel.  I’m going to blame this on the swivels and not my knot tying ability or my general setup.  Please correct me if I am wrong.  If I throw lures for 5-7 hours in a given day, this happens once, maybe twice.

There are a lot better snaps out there and my favorite are the owner welded snap in the middle size.  They are not cheap but two or three breakages a trip will loose a lot of lures, and i have never had a snap failure.  The swivel is not needed unless your running spinner type lures which are not common in bass fishing.  Ditch the swivel snap and a lot of your issues may go away,  The other option would be to tie direct and in most cases may be the best answer.  If your using a crankbait i like the oval split rings the best.

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17 hours ago, Angry John said:

There are a lot better snaps out there and my favorite are the owner welded snap in the middle size.  They are not cheap but two or three breakages a trip will loose a lot of lures, and i have never had a snap failure.  The swivel is not needed unless your running spinner type lures which are not common in bass fishing.  Ditch the swivel snap and a lot of your issues may go away,  The other option would be to tie direct and in most cases may be the best answer.  If your using a crankbait i like the oval split rings the best.

I'll check out the snaps they you mentioned.  I use spinner baits to target Pickerel, but I did catch a nice smallie that went after one. :)  I like the swivels as it is fast and easy to change lures.

 

Thanks

18 hours ago, Raul said:

 

For crying out loud man, a 3-4 lb smallie ain't gonna break 10 lb test line even with the drag tightened at max, it ain't a friggin' 500 lb marlin ! Check your line religiously for signs of wear and tear, that's what causes the line to break.

I'm a relative "newbie," and didn't know this.  I trust you with you >12,000 posts.  How big of a fish would it take to break my line with the drag tightened at max?  

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1 hour ago, Pkfish49 said:

I'll check out the snaps they you mentioned.  I use spinner baits to target Pickerel, but I did catch a nice smallie that went after one. :)  I like the swivels as it is fast and easy to change lures.

 

Thanks

I'm a relative "newbie," and didn't know this.  I trust you with you >12,000 posts.  How big of a fish would it take to break my line with the drag tightened at max?  

That's dangerous teritory to wondrous in to.  Summer bass are the hardest fighting and a smallie are great fighters add current will add to their chances.  Learn to set the drag correctly and don't worry about how big the fish is until it's in the net.

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I let my rod do the casting, it's better at it the my arm strength!

 

I let my rod do the fighting, it does a better job than my drag!

 

I set my drag at 6 lbs, max for my Calcutta is 9.5 lbs. 

 

If a fish surges I'll give it a little rod then lean back on it, this allows my rod to fight the fish.

 

Casting, flipping, pitching, or punching my drag is set the same.

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After years and years of setting drags using a scale you learn how to estimate drag force, can't do it without a baseline. If you choose to ignor setting your drags or keeping them set without backing them off at the of the day you may be in for heart break. When a tightened down drag takes a set the force to brake it loose far exceeds the original set force. Having caught a lot of giant bass I know from experience a bass of a lifetime does unexpected things when she gets near the boat. Some big bass don't fight hard and seem to allow the rod pressure to guide them towards the boat and you don't realize how big the bass is until the fish see's the boat, turns and makes a hard run on a short string and something must give and it's usually the weakest link, the hook tears out, the line knot breaks, the line breaks or your rod breaks along with your heart.

Learn to set and use your reels reliable and expensive drag.

Tom

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