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How to set the drag on a spinning reel?

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I have about 5 bait cast setups I have been using and this year I am adding a spinning combo to the mix. How do I go about setting the drag correctly? If it helps with your advice it's a 6'9" Lews Mach 2 combo that I put 20# 832 braid on that I will primarily use for shakey heads and wacky rigged senkos and such.

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Add the line suggestions on the rod together (8lb+10lb=18lb) for example. Then divide that number by 2. (18÷2=9). Then take that number divided by 3 (9÷3=3).  Set your drag by using this formula and a scale for best results. That way you won't damage your rod. 

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Try to tension it to where it is not too tight or loose, somewhere

in between. Now cast your senko out, let it sink for a few seconds

and "set the hook". Does the drag do a little zing? Perfect. Does no

zing? Loosen and try again. A ton of zing, tighten until it does just

a little zing.

 

From here you can play with the tension when you actually have a

fish on. This is a completely unscientific way to do it. I don't use 

weights and measures or math to figure the sweet spot. But then

I'm not a math guy :P . I found this method via a fishing show 

years back, and it has worked for me.

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I keep mine fairly loose and use my index finger against the spool for tension, works for me especially when a fish nears the boat and makes that last run.  On a guided trip for smallies in Maine the guide taught me this technique and it has served me well on some big fish.  It takes some getting used to but I find it second nature now.

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Max diameter mono a 2000 to 3000 size spinning reel can cast easily is .010 or 10 lb test. Set all your reels at 1/3rd the equal mono line test. 10 divided by 3 = 3lbs approx.

use a scale with the line through all the rod guides and pull until you reach 3 lbs, then adjust the drag until it starts to slip or stops slipping. Be carefull 3 lbs dead weight will nearly max out a 3 power or medium p rods lifting power, 4 lbs for 4 power or MH and 5 lbs for 5 power or H.

Tom

PS, 1 pint of water in a plastic drinking bottle weighs 1 lb. 3 pint bottles in a plastic grocery bag = 3 lb dead weight.

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8 hours ago, Darren. said:

Try to tension it to where it is not too tight or loose, somewhere

in between. Now cast your senko out, let it sink for a few seconds

and "set the hook". Does the drag do a little zing? Perfect. Does no

zing? Loosen and try again. A ton of zing, tighten until it does just

a little zing.

 

From here you can play with the tension when you actually have a

fish on. This is a completely unscientific way to do it. I don't use 

weights and measures or math to figure the sweet spot. But then

I'm not a math guy :P . I found this method via a fishing show 

years back, and it has worked for me.

I like this approach.  Don't get all hung up on specific #'s of resistance. You develop a sense of what's "just right". I get a kick out of reel promos that boast of double digit drags. Total nonsense.

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20lb braid on a spinning rod?  I'd cinch it down to a very hard pull.  You aren't worried about break strength with that size braid.  You do have to be careful about snapping a rod though.  I throw 35lb braid on some of my spinning setups on St Clair (bed fishing or in the reeds) and I lock the drag down.  I've only broke off on zebra muscles.  

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2 hours ago, TOXIC said:

20lb braid on a spinning rod?  I'd cinch it down to a very hard pull.  You aren't worried about break strength with that size braid.  You do have to be careful about snapping a rod though.  I throw 35lb braid on some of my spinning setups on St Clair (bed fishing or in the reeds) and I lock the drag down.  I've only broke off on zebra muscles.  

This is kind of what I was wondering about. This is kind of what I do on my baait casters that have 40# braid on it. Is that a sound theory too?

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That’s a big line for a spinning set up with braid. It’ll work, just take some getting use to. After a cast I pull some out of the reel until it’s in the sweet spot..where’s that for you? Idk. I guess you can use the math equations posted but after you land your first 4+ you’ll know where it is. It’s important tho. I’ve lost a couple fish when I used to tighten the drag completely down with 20lb braid. You want some give 

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10 hours ago, WRB said:

Max diameter mono a 2000 to 3000 size spinning reel can cast easily is .010 or 10 lb test. Set all your reels at 1/3rd the equal mono line test. 10 divided by 3 = 3lbs approx.

use a scale with the line through all the rod guides and pull until you reach 3 lbs, then adjust the drag until it starts to slip or stops slipping. Be carefull 3 lbs dead weight will nearly max out a 3 power or medium p rods lifting power, 4 lbs for 4 power or MH and 5 lbs for 5 power or H.

Tom

PS, 1 pint of water in a plastic drinking bottle weighs 1 lb. 3 pint bottles in a plastic grocery bag = 3 lb dead weight.

    A couple years ago, I wanted  to know how strong my knot was on 4 lb. Trilene XL (The old XL, not the new stuff). So I put the reel with its line on my M/F Fenwick, and tied it to a gallon milk jug. Then I tried to add sand until the line broke. I thought it would surely break easily that way. What I found out is that the rod bent almost double before the line broke. I  have since always set the drag according to the rod, and not according to the drag on the reel or the line. And no, it didn't change my ideas about which line to use on which rod, either .... not much, anyway.   😀    jj

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I gallon of water weighs 8 lbs, XH flipping rod would have a hard time lifting it before bottoming out!

Most bass anglers over estimate the rods power of lifting dead weight and the drags pulling force needed to control fresh water bass.

We set out off shore International big game reels at 6 to lbs strike -15 to 20 lbs full on for big tuna and Marlin weighing between 150 to 750 lbs!

Tom

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Also it's how the force is applied to the line.  Picking up a heavy object vs a mad smallmouth making a turnaround run are 2 different kinds of force.  

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13 hours ago, CroakHunter said:

Add the line suggestions on the rod together (8lb+10lb=18lb) for example. Then divide that number by 2. (18÷2=9). Then take that number divided by 3 (9÷3=3).  Set your drag by using this formula and a scale for best results. That way you won't damage your rod. 

I’ve been using spinning reels for 50 years. I’ve never, ever, gone to all that trouble. I’ve always just done it by feel. If a small fish is pulling out drag, I tighten it up a bit. If a big fish isn’t, I loosen it. Always worked for me.

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15 minutes ago, WRB said:

I gallon of water weighs 8 lbs, XH flipping rod would have a hard time lifting it before bottoming out!

Most bass anglers over estimate the rods power of lifting dead weight and the drags pulling force needed to control fresh water bass.

We set out off shore International big game reels at 6 to lbs strike -15 to 20 lbs full on for big tuna and Marlin weighing between 150 to 750 lbs!

Tom

   Ho ......... ly ....... cow.  I had no idea that those big rigs were set like that!     jj

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Some of the biggest advances in reels is in the drag systems and you pay a lot for them. Spinning reel drags are usually multiple disks in the spool using the bail roller to turn the line 90 degrees near the spool. The issue with spinning reel drags is strarting up force can exceed slipping force by 50% depending on the design. Baitcasting reels the line force is direct pull, the line doesn't bend around a roller.

Set your drag correctly and trust it you paid good money for it. Alway loosen the reel drags when storing the reel over night or longer periods to prevent damaging the drag components or taking a set.

Using 1/3rd the line the strength for monofilament lines it compensates for sudden applied force like a fish turning and running near the boat if the line isn't damaged and knots are tied correctly.

Tom 

 

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13 hours ago, The Bassman said:

I like this approach.  Don't get all hung up on specific #'s of resistance. You develop a sense of what's "just right". I get a kick out of reel promos that boast of double digit drags. Total nonsense.

+1

 

I’m not a fan of specific pounds, if you set specific pounds on a machine, depending on the rod, you could wind up with way more drag than the machine setting because of the rod bending. And then lose fish. Best to develop a sense of what’s right. Double digit drags are overrated, 9 pounds of drag is more than enough for anything I’m ever fishing for.

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46 minutes ago, CrankFate said:

+1

 

I’m not a fan of specific pounds, if you set specific pounds on a machine, depending on the rod, you could wind up with way more drag than the machine setting because of the rod bending. And then lose fish. Best to develop a sense of what’s right. Double digit drags are overrated, 9 pounds of drag is more than enough for anything I’m ever fishing for.

9 pounds is certainly more than enough drag for most bass fishing applications.  But there is something else to consider here.  Reels that produce a lot of drag allow you to work in the lower portion of the drag band where the drag tends to be much smoother, whereas a reel that only produces 9 pounds of total drag tends to put you in middle high.  Just a thought.

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15 minutes ago, Heartland said:

9 pounds is certainly more than enough drag for most bass fishing applications.  But there is something else to consider here.  Reels that produce a lot of drag allow you to work in the lower portion of the drag band where the drag tends to be much smoother, whereas a reel that only produces 9 pounds of total drag tends to put you in middle high.  Just a thought.

True.

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Forget about math and numbers. Before casting, give the line a tug while imagining a fish of your roughly expected size/weight/force pulling on it. If it's too easy to pull the line (like a fish is going to run away with all your line and you have no 'hand'), tighten the drag. If it's too hard to pull the line (like a big fish might break away), loosen it. Forget about the math, go with your gut, set the drag so it's "just so." And once you have a fish on, adjust it as needed. If you hear drag peeling out, don't reel against it (introduces line twist), tighten the drag instead.

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On Monday, February 18, 2019 at 8:45 PM, CroakHunter said:

Add the line suggestions on the rod together (8lb+10lb=18lb) for example. Then divide that number by 2. (18÷2=9). Then take that number divided by 3 (9÷3=3).  Set your drag by using this formula and a scale for best results. That way you won't damage your rod. 

Or just divide by 6

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lots of great advice and probably better advice than what I can give, but ill tell you what I do regardless.

 

I loosen the drag way more than I know I will use, and grab the line at the tip and let out line until it is at the reel again. then I pull the line and tighten the drag and simulate fighting a fish, you want the rod to bend a lot, but not too much, and not slip when setting the hook, but loose enough that the line doesn't break.

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I Set the drag by feel. Pull on line and adjust drag accordingly. Never used a scaled ever and I can say I’ve never lost a bass due to drag being too tight or too loose

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