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Setting drag - Spinning reel

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I’m trying to get used to the drag on my new Daiwa spinning reel. I fish with 10# braid w/ mono leader. I usually set my drag so that like when a 3# fish is really fighting hard, the drag is clicking. 3# is about an average fish for me, when I hook something larger, I tighten up the drag on the fly.

 

I wanted to see how much dead weight that drag setting represents, so I hung a bag on my hook and added weight until the drag started clicking. It seems to be around 20 ounces, a lot lower than the 53 ounces that would be 1/3 of my line weight.

 

I’ve been missing some bites fishing with a worm with the new reel, getting the worm stripped from my hook in some cases. I’m wondering if it’s due to having the drag set too low, or if it’s coincidence. My rigging and everything else is the same as always, and I rarely miss bites on a worm.

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1 pint plastic drinking water filled with water weighs about 1 pound (actual 1.14 lb /18 oz).

Very simple test for your rod, reel, line combination is hook on the plastic grocery bag and place 1 pint water bottle in it and lift it. Take close notice of the rod Bend and feel the 1 lb force being applied. Next add another 1 pint bottle of water for 2 lbs and lift.

2 lbs is about as light a drag setting for bass fishing. 2 lbs is also about the max lifting force a medium light rod can handle. Keep adding a pint at a time, you will need a medium power rod to lift 3 lbs, medium heavy for 4 lbs and heavy power for 5 lbs.

5 lbs of drag is only 1/3 of 15 lb test line, yet bottoms out most MH and H /fast bass rods.

If the rod can't withstand 5 lbs of drag force why would anyone need more bass fishing?

Back to your question set the drag at 1/3 line strength of your rod can handle the force.

After setting drags for awhile you will be able to estimate the pulling force.

Tom

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I set the drag to give when i pull medium hard and then adjust on the fly after I hook one. As long as you have the initial drag set somewhat and a good sharp hook you will hook the fish and will have time to set the drag perfectly. Once this is done, I don't touch it until I respool. Don't overthink it. This is fishing not aquatic engineering.

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29 minutes ago, WRB said:

1 pint plastic drinking water filled with water weighs about 1 pound (actual 1.14 lb /18 oz).

Very simple test for your rod, reel, line combination is hook on the plastic grocery bag and place 1 pint water bottle in it and lift it. Take close notice of the rod Bend and feel the 1 lb force being applied. Next add another 1 pint bottle of water for 2 lbs and lift.

2 lbs is about as light a drag setting for bass fishing. 2 lbs is also about the max lifting force a medium light rod can handle. Keep adding a pint at a time, you will need a medium power rod to lift 3 lbs, medium heavy for 4 lbs and heavy power for 5 lbs.

5 lbs of drag is only 1/3 of 15 lb test line, yet bottoms out most MH and H /fast bass rods.

If the rod can't withstand 5 lbs of drag force why would anyone need more bass fishing?

Back to your question set the drag at 1/3 line strength of your rod can handle the force.

After setting drags for awhile you will be able to estimate the pulling force.

Tom

I've read several of your past comments about setting drag, and they make sense. I'm glad you replied.

 

My question in this case is more about the initial bite and whether maybe I'm missing bites because the hook is not getting set due to a low drag setting. I'm not concerned about breaking line or rod in this conversation. Let's say I was using 6# test. Then my 20 ounce setting wouldn't be very far off. Is the diameter of the line going to affect hook set? Not that much, I would think. Do you see what I'm getting at? There's a minimum drag setting for setting a hook, regardless of the line diameter or rod power. Would 20 ounces be below that setting in this situation?

 

14 minutes ago, Mikeltee said:

Don't overthink it.

Too late.

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I think I’ve made the question too convoluted. What I’m basically asking is what is the minimum amount of drag required to set a hook, regardless of the line or rod.

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24 minutes ago, fin said:

I think I’ve made the question too convoluted. What I’m basically asking is what is the minimum amount of drag required to set a hook, regardless of the line or rod.

Depends on the hook.

I use 10lb braid & mono leaders on spinning gear as well.

My gear, rod & line, needs to be 'matched' to my presentation.

With anything less than an 8 lb leader - my hook set is a 'reel set' with a thin wire hook.

My drag will be set to a sufficient level where I can sink the barb (or barbs in the case of treble hooked baits) but it will still slip a little.

That's a bit of a safely value designed to prevent me from setting up on an over-sized fish that may already be heading the opposite direction; which is a good way to pop a fish off.  

Generally, my 'hookset' is the most 'pressure' I prefer to put on a big fish.

Unless there's a reason for it, horsing or rushing a spirited fish to my frabil seems to have no real advantage. 

I also have no problem 'adjusting' my drag on the fly (while fighting a fish) and often do loosen the drag as a big fish gets close to or gets a first look at the boat in anticipation of a last lunge for freedom.

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

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On my spinning rig, using a 2500 size reel, I give a good tug on the line and set the drag so I can't pull any line out. If I get a good size fish, I loosen the drag while the fish is on. Been doing it that way for years.

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If the drag is slipping while setting the hook then there’s the problem. Tighten it where it doesn’t slip with hookset. I’m assuming your rod has the backbone to drive the hook. 

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3 hours ago, Kidflex said:

If the drag is slipping while setting the hook then there’s the problem. Tighten it where it doesn’t slip with hookset. I’m assuming your rod has the backbone to drive the hook. 

I'm not hearing the drag clicking, so I don't think it's slipping.

 

7 hours ago, Hammer 4 said:

On my spinning rig, using a 2500 size reel, I give a good tug on the line and set the drag so I can't pull any line out. If I get a good size fish, I loosen the drag while the fish is on. Been doing it that way for years.

That's sort of the way I did it for years, but I set it where the line would just barely give when pulling on it by hand. The way you are setting it is a little dangerous if you get hit by a monster right at the last moment.

 

After reading @WRB talking about using weights (like a plastic water bottle) to set the drag, it sounded like a more accurate and consistent way. I wanted to come up with a standard weight setting for my setup. 20 ounces feels good, but I'm wondering if that's too light.

 

8 hours ago, A-Jay said:

Depends on the hook.

I use 10lb braid & mono leaders on spinning gear as well.

My gear, rod & line, needs to be 'matched' to my presentation.

With anything less than an 8 lb leader - my hook set is a 'reel set' with a thin wire hook.

My drag will be set to a sufficient level where I can sink the barb (or barbs in the case of treble hooked baits) but it will still slip a little.

That's a bit of a safely value designed to prevent me from setting up on an over-sized fish that may already be heading the opposite direction; which is a good way to pop a fish off.  

Generally, my 'hookset' is the most 'pressure' I prefer to put on a big fish.

Unless there's a reason for it, horsing or rushing a spirited fish to my frabil seems to have no real advantage. 

I also have no problem 'adjusting' my drag on the fly (while fighting a fish) and often do loosen the drag as a big fish gets close to or gets a first look at the boat in anticipation of a last lunge for freedom.

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

I'm using a 2/0 EWG thin wire. I agree with everything you're saying, especially about rushing the fish in. That's like chugging a fine wine.

 

So with your drag set normal, if you hung a bag on your hook and put 2 16 oz bottles of water in the bag and lifted the rod, would your drag be clicking? (I hold the tip of my rod when doing this, just to be on the safe side) For me, a 20 ounce bottle of BBQ sauce was just about right. Two water bottles was way too much.

 

 

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3 hours ago, fin said:

 

I'm using a 2/0 EWG thin wire. I agree with everything you're saying, especially about rushing the fish in. That's like chugging a fine wine.

 

So with your drag set normal, if you hung a bag on your hook and put 2 16 oz bottles of water in the bag and lifted the rod, would your drag be clicking? (I hold the tip of my rod when doing this, just to be on the safe side) For me, a 20 ounce bottle of BBQ sauce was just about right. Two water bottles was way too much.

 

 

I've never done this or even considered it.

In my mind this does a poor job of replicating what actually happens on the water.

The forces in actions here have too many variables in play.

Between the different sizes & attitudes  of the fish, the movement of the boat (either forward or backward away from the fish or even up & down because of wave action - or both) all of which can happen during any point of fighting a fish; including the hook set.  In big game fishing scenarios, where giant fish make several super long runs, anglers use a scale to set the drag.   Seem you are trying to do that, but IMO it's not needed in bass fishing. 

  I say you'd be better served by attaching the end of your line to something secure, walking back whatever distance you feel your average hook set is made from, adjusting your drag, and then set the hook.

 Granted the object you're hooked to doesn't move like a fish will, the ground you're standing on doesn't move either, like a boat will, but you'll still be able to see how much pressure you're putting on your gear, how your line & knots hold up and finally at what point your drag slips (or doesn't).

 The actual pressure applied on the 'hookset' only needs to last a second.  After that, and once the fish is on, then it's time to fight / play the fish back to the boat and you'll rarely need that more force again at any point in the fight to land the fish.  Most times I benefit from quite a bit less. 

  It's a feel thing and when I set up my rigs, the lighter ones are set up to where I can not apply too much before the drag slips.  Conversely, the heavier the tackle set up, the stouter the settings. 

Hope that helps

:smiley:

A-Jay

Here's a hookset I made on a fat brown bass using 10lb braid & a 10lb mono leader that hit on topwater - hooksets here need to happen fast - just like the strike. You'll see me adjust the drag as the fish nears the boat. Also note how the boat moves toward the fish during the fight, quite a ways too.  If the wind was blowing in my face -that could have been another force acting on my gear & the drag.

 

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Setting your drag using a known force tells you what that force feels like with you rod, reel and line. If you don't know what 1/3 one strength feels like you learn the hard way by trail and error losing or breaking off fish. You will evenrually get close to 1/3 line strength so why not start there? 

Adjusting a drag tighter during fighting a fish almost always ends up badly, backing off a little with a hot fish is common sense. If you don't know the force to start with and never set a drag with a scale or known weight you have no idea what turning the drag adjustment equals is less or more force. For example what does a 1/4 turn add or subtract to the drag force? Every reel is different, the only way to know how to adjust the drag to to back off or add is knowing what a 1/4 turn does and you will be surprised!

My suggestion is set the drag by hand then test what you think the that force is. I can almost garentee the force is less then 1/3 line strength.

Never leave the drag button down over 24 hours, it may damage the drag disk and washers where the drag becomes jerky no longer smooth.

It's your tackle not mine, I am telling you what I do and rarely lose bass after hooking them.

Tom

 

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5 hours ago, A-Jay said:

In my mind this does a poor job of replicating what actually happens on the water.

I'm not trying to replicate what happens on the water. I'm setting my drag just like you are - I'm tugging on the line, feeling the resistance as I tighten the drag. I'm not using the bag of bottles to determine how to set my drag. I'm using the bag of bottles as a point of reference so I can always return to the same setting with ease, without subjective judgement each time.

 

5 hours ago, A-Jay said:

In big game fishing scenarios, where giant fish make several super long runs, anglers use a scale to set the drag.   Seem you are trying to do that, but IMO it's not needed in bass fishing

It's not necessary, I agree, but a lot of what we do is not necessary.

 

In big game fishing it would be much harder to accurately guess the amount of tug given the much higher weight amounts they are dealing with. They are also doing it because there is a lot at stake, and they are controlling as many variables as possible. It makes sense, it's easy to do, so why not? The hardest part is finding some known weights, and they are easy to find in your kitchen cabinet.

 

I don't know how many rods you have rigged, I'm guessing a few. It might be interesting to see how much variation you have between them, like between your light rigs and heavy rigs. Are your light rigs around 1.5#s and heavy around 3#s? You can't really say for sure without some point of reference.

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spinning reel --> tight drag hook set --> larger than expected fish --> loosen drag and back-reel

 

oe

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14 minutes ago, fin said:

I'm not trying to replicate what happens on the water. I'm setting my drag just like you are - I'm tugging on the line, feeling the resistance as I tighten the drag. I'm not using the bag of bottles to determine how to set my drag. I'm using the bag of bottles as a point of reference so I can always return to the same setting with ease, without subjective judgement each time.

 

It's not necessary, I agree, but a lot of what we do is not necessary.

 

In big game fishing it would be much harder to accurately guess the amount of tug given the much higher weight amounts they are dealing with. They are also doing it because there is a lot at stake, and they are controlling as many variables as possible. It makes sense, it's easy to do, so why not? The hardest part is finding some known weights, and they are easy to find in your kitchen cabinet.

 

I don't know how many rods you have rigged, I'm guessing a few. It might be interesting to see how much variation you have between them, like between your light rigs and heavy rigs. Are your light rigs around 1.5#s and heavy around 3#s? You can't really say for sure without some point of reference.

 I do have several rigs - and knowing exactly how pounds of drag I have on each rig, is not something I track or even need to know.   What is definitely important to me, is that when I cast every rig - it's set up and ready to perform effectively in that particular situation.  Several decades of experience hooking, fighting, landing (and even losing) a bunch of of trophy class fish, has helped me to learn & know, what that is.  

 My fishing may not be an exact science - where pounds of drag a calculated & then set to precise levels - 

Then again - it may not need to be . . .

Caught this fish in May on 10 lb line - and I have no Idea how many pounds of drag my reel had - 

But whatever it was, it worked and did offer me this sweet photo op.

1063939443_30Apr2019PBMusky1croppedtiny.png.313746c9f8f1a52684c2daba9c920c6d.png

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

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58 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

 I do have several rigs - and knowing exactly how pounds of drag I have on each rig, is not something I track or even need to know.   What is definitely important to me, is that when I cast every rig - it's set up and ready to perform effectively in that particular situation.  Several decades of experience hooking, fighting, landing (and even losing) a bunch of of trophy class fish, has helped me to learn & know, what that is.  

 My fishing may not be an exact science - where pounds of drag a calculated & then set to precise levels - 

Then again - it may not need to be . . .

Caught this fish in May on 10 lb line - and I have no Idea how many pounds of drag my reel had - 

But whatever it was, it worked and did offer me this sweet photo op.

1063939443_30Apr2019PBMusky1croppedtiny.png.313746c9f8f1a52684c2daba9c920c6d.png

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

Maybe I come across like I'm trying to sell you on a better way of doing things. That's not it at all. You obviously know what you're doing. I was trying to explain why the idea appeals to me.

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I guess I am on the other end of the spectrum from Tom and closer to A-Jay.  Every setup that I own from ultra lite spinning to my heavy ARig rods have the drag set to slip on the hook set. I don’t worry about the drag slipping when bringing in a fish.  

 

If if I am using a spinning reel I can apply drag with my left hand as needed.  On a baitcaster my thumb can assist the drag as needed.  I do this because I use 6-12 # line most of the time and want to have a hard hook set without breaking my line.

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47 minutes ago, Jig Man said:

I guess I am on the other end of the spectrum from Tom and closer to A-Jay.  Every setup that I own from ultra lite spinning to my heavy ARig rods have the drag set to slip on the hook set. I don’t worry about the drag slipping when bringing in a fish.  

 

If if I am using a spinning reel I can apply drag with my left hand as needed.  On a baitcaster my thumb can assist the drag as needed.  I do this because I use 6-12 # line most of the time and want to have a hard hook set without breaking my line.

This is how I have my reels set, slight slip on the hook-set. Though since I have my anti-reverse ON on my spinners, I use my right (reeling) hand to adjust the drag as needed during a fight.

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1 hour ago, Jig Man said:

Every setup that I own from ultra lite spinning to my heavy ARig rods have the drag set to slip on the hook set.

 

15 minutes ago, MN Fisher said:

This is how I have my reels set, slight slip on the hook-set.

 

I don't know why you would want the drag set that light, unless you are getting really hard hits or you are really yanking when you set the hook. After the initial bite, as the fish makes the first run, my drag is set to slip, but I hope it's not slipping when I set the hook. That's kind of what I was getting at in my initial post.

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1 hour ago, fin said:

Maybe I come across like I'm trying to sell you on a better way of doing things. That's not it at all. You obviously know what you're doing. I was trying to explain why the idea appeals to me.

I hear ya ~ 

So go for it and perhaps report back with your results.

If it helps you successfully hook and land fish, you're Golden.

Good Luck

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

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35 minutes ago, fin said:

 

 

I don't know why you would want the drag set that light, unless you are getting really hard hits or you are really yanking when you set the hook. After the initial bite, as the fish makes the first run, my drag is set to slip, but I hope it's not slipping when I set the hook. That's kind of what I was getting at in my initial post.

I think what comes to light here is there is no wrong way to set the drag.  If one fishes enough with an assortment of setups a system that works will be put into place.  I carry more than 20 setups with various lines and try to fish 100 days per year.  This method has been working for me for a long time.

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What I am suggesting is something that is objective in lieu being subjective that requires trail and error or a learning curve by losing fish.

When you figure what works for you do it, this works for me!

Tom

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When my drag slips, either I hooked a really hot fish or it was set too loose. I don't want it to slip on a hookset. That is less force to drive the hook home. I want it to be solid. When I'm fishing soft baits, I tend to run it a bit tighter. On treble baits, heck, on spinning gear in general, I try to use a lighter wire hook, which allows for better penetration. 

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4 hours ago, WRB said:

What I am suggesting is something that is objective in lieu being subjective that requires trail and error or a learning curve by losing fish.

When you figure what works for you do it, this works for me!

Tom

It becomes apparent to me that not many others here do it. Everyone in this thread talks like they think it's a really wacky idea. I see your comments recommending it pretty often, and I assumed some people were doing it. I think it makes sense.

 

When I'm adding a leader, I hold the line and stretch out my arms to determine the length to cut it. That gives me about a 6' leader. Now that measuring is totally unnecessary, but I've read on here where many other people do the same thing. Measuring your drag is the same type thing, only more important than measuring the length of your leader.

 

Maybe I've just done a really bad job of communicating. I don't think I made it clear. I was looking for an answer like, "I set my drag at 32 ounces".

 

 

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