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I was out fishing a local lake in Miami, using my Abu Silver Max on (6'6) All star Rod... I hooked a fish and no mater how much I turned the handle the spool would not move.. I had forgotten to set the drag on the reel. What are some techniques you guys use to set drag on a reel?

Thanks

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What are some techniques you guys use to set drag on a reel?

I know of only one technique to set the drag; turning the drag knob. :P

Remember to loosen up the drag after the trip is over though...

If you mean how tight the drag should be set. I think the rule of thumb is like 1/3rd of the line strength, or something like that. I just set it pretty tight; without damaging the washers. I don't want the drag to slip on the hookset.

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I've read recommendations on drag that range from very light to very heavy. You can measure drag by tying the line to the hook of a scale and walking back taking out line while reading the scale. My drag is light, probably ranging from about 15–25%. However, I haven't measured in quite some time because I know what I want just from the feel of pulling out line with my hand.

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I've read recommendations on drag that range from very light to very heavy. You can measure drag by tying the line to the hook of a scale and walking back taking out line while reading the scale. My drag is light, probably ranging from about 15–25%. However, I haven't measured in quite some time because I know what I want just from the feel of pulling out line with my hand.

I am with you Marty. I think most recommendations I've read are around 20% of line breaking strength. I would rather be a little too loose than too tight and have a hog break off. Horsing one out of heavy cover with heavy gear is the exception.

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The standard rule is 1/3 or so of line test. In reality I've yet to know anyone that actually uses a scale, I set mine by feel 100% of the time. Given the use of the same equipment my drag setting will vary depending on the type of bait I'm using (plastics are bit firmer for a better hookset), target species, the density of weeds, floating seaweed or grasses and the strength of the current. Sounds like a lot to digest but it really isn't, it becomes second nature. Quite common for me to catch a saltwater fish using a tighter drag, then bass fish with the same combo and using a lighter drag, like pond fishing with little or no vegetation and using a lure with exposed hooks.

With experience you will get the feel of when to back down or tighten up the drag when fighting a fish, this also becomes second nature.

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I don't fish salt very often, but when I have fished for yellowfin tuna

the deckhands measured the drag on on the reels we used with a scale and

very precisely. The same technique can be used for freshwater gear as well.

Although most experienced fishermen have a "feel" for their drag setting,

I think it's fun to check it occasionally. This is what I do based on the

25% guideline:

Yo-Zuri #6 has a breaking strength of 11.9 lbs. 25% is about 3lbs, 30% 4 lbs.

String your rod and tie it to a plastic grocery bag containing a 3 or 4 lb free

weight. GENTLY lift your rod until the drag begins to release. Tighten

the drag until you can just lift the bag.

Now when you try that with your baitcaster, I think you are going to find this

is all your going to want. Technically Hybrid #12 is 19.5 lb breaking strength,

so are we looking at a drag setting of 5-7lbs? I don't think so, but be careful

and give it a try.

B)

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The 1/3 of line weight is a good starting point for traditional lines. When you get into the hybrids and braid with higher break strengths you have to use some judgement. I usually use enough drag to avoid slipping on a hookset and avoid locking it down.

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I use a spring scale, and a straight pull. 1/4 to 1/3 the line's break strength or rod's max. load, whichever is lower. It is unnecessary to loosen you drags, unless you are storing the reels for a long time.

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I don't fish salt very often, but when I have fished for yellowfin tuna the deckhands measured the drag on on the reels we used with a scale and very precisely.

Most likely fishing for Yellowfins or other large fish a single or 2 speed lever drag reel would be used, not a typical small b/c reel with a star drag. Once the drag is set on lever drag reel there is no need to change the setting unless new line of a different test is used. I have used the same brand and test line on my Avet lever drag reel for several years and the drag has never needed any readjustment. The reel is always stored in free spool which does not change the drag setting,

The original post was an inquiry regarding small game fishing and being from Miami there is a possibility of inshore fishing as well, which uses pretty much the same kind of equipment, lines and lures.

If using a 6# line the drag should be around 2lb. If the breaking strength is closer to 12, are you not really using a 12lb test line? If so 4 lb drag would be good. All that said I have no idea, but setting by feel total removes that thought from my process.

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When I'm wrong I'll fess up.. Just went out for some bass fishing and bumped into my bud who is tuna/striper captain from Cape May N. J. He said about using a scale to set drag for tuna, yes he does, but not every day. He says his charters sometime play with the drags and they need to be reset and uses a scale to do so. He uses nothing but lever drag reels and said for using your own personal gear using a scale each and every time is not needed. I'm the only one that uses my Avet.

For his ocean stripers it's spinning gear and he sets it by feel and like many of us does adjust the drag with a fish on.

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Once you use the scale few times, you get a feel for what it should be. I still check mine once in a while, usually after a cleaning or line change.

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When I'm wrong I'll fess up.. Just went out for some bass fishing and bumped into my bud who is tuna/striper captain from Cape May N. J. He said about using a scale to set drag for tuna, yes he does, but not every day. He says his charters sometime play with the drags and they need to be reset and uses a scale to do so. He uses nothing but lever drag reels and said for using your own personal gear using a scale each and every time is not needed. I'm the only one that uses my Avet.

For his ocean stripers it's spinning gear and he sets it by feel and like many of us does adjust the drag with a fish on.

I don't think your wrong, it's just your opinion. I dont use 30# and 40# every day so I can't do it by feel.

My three day Tuna trip I go on every year cost me a pretty penny. I can't afford to take a chance on my drag by "feel". It's one more variable I can put the percentages in my favor.I use a drag scale. The captain has two set out as soon as you walk on the boat. Yes I use Avet for my 25# and 30#.

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My three day Tuna trip I go on every year cost me a pretty penny. I can't afford to take a chance on my drag by "feel".

That's a good point. And it applies to some bass tournaments, too. Some of the opens come with a steep entry fee. Why risk it on "feel"???

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