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Alan

Setting the drag

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Alan

Spinning & Spin Casting reels, how to know how much drag to set? I have read many articles that say you could loose the big one, or break a line, bend a hook etc.. if you set your drag to high. Well, how do you know what it should be set at?

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nofishfisherman

When I cast out my lure or bait or whatever it is I give the line a tug to test my drag, there's no exact rule that I know of I just make sure that the line can be pulled out without a ton of effort. I want to make sure that the fish will pull drag without breaking the line, if it is set a little to loose thats fine you can always tighten it a little as you fight the fish.

Just make sure you don't loosen it to much so that you don't get a good hook set.

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BobT

When I set mine I prefer to err on the side of too light rather than too heavy. I can always increase it some when necessary and I'd rather have a fish run with it rather than break it off.

With that said, the rule of thumb I have used over the years is roughly 1/3 - 1/2 of the line test weight. So for 6# test, I set mine up so that excess of 3 lbs. of force applied will take drag. Maybe with higher quality reels and lines one can be a little more daring and set it tighter especially if you are comfortable with back-reeling which I also rely on more than drag.

Bob

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EBass

I like mine on the heavy side (get a good hookset) then back it down if it's a biggun. But there's always the "It Depends"

If bobber fishing - lighter

If fishing the lily pads - heavier

So the cover can dicate how tight of drag I want.

Other thing to consider is the size of said hook. Thin wire hooks penetrate with lil force, but a large bass jig will need that extra tension to drive that hook in.

However be sure to balance your entire outfit.

Like you wouldn't toss a muskie lure on a ultra lite crappie rod and vice versa.

Another lil tip - instead of pulling the line out right next to the reel, pull the line out from the rod tip. This will give ya a feel of how much the rod helps out the drag when fishing said fish. You can kinda judge how much pressure you're pulling.

Hope that helped a lil

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Valv

I fish mainly with superbraids, hookset is not an issue for me, I rather be on the "loose" side and not rip lips, than be too "tight" and loose a fish.

You can always tighten your drag while fighting fish, plenty and plenty of times they come to the boat and they give you the last "run"....I am always glad I didn't have the drag set too tight, in fact sometimes, depending on fish type, I loosen it when at the boat...just in case wink.gif

Cast or put your line out, then pull on it from top of reel, depending on diameter and lb/test, I usually test it to check if I am too loose or too tight.

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PerchJerker

Been lots of good advice so far.

The tip about pulling the line from past the rod tip (ie. so the rod bends like you're fighting a fish) is the best way to start. Do it with a loose drag, and tighten the drag if the line slips too easily. Once you get it set by pulling from past the tip, then pull it out from the reel to get a feel for how that feels. After a while you'll get the feel of it and will be able to check it / set it just by pulling it out from in front of the reel.

I'm in the group that says go with a tighter drag for the hookset, then loosen it as needed. If your drag slips when a fish strikes or when you strike a fish, it's too loose and you're probably not going to drive the hooks home.

I loosen my drag after the hookset, and I usually turn off the anti-reverse and backreel on big fish, or release the spool and thumb it on a line counter or bait caster. After a while it becomes second nature. I'd rather do that than rely entirely on the drag - but even so it's important to have the drag set correctly.

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GCLARK

I've never lost a big fish while using the Al Lindner method of back reeling!

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croixeyes

You ever tried to backreel a baitcaster?As the above posts mentioned checking the drag from the rod tip will give you and accurate measure of how your drag is set.Adjusting on the fight is about the only way to go,or back reeling on spinning reels.There are to many variables etc,weeds,woodcover,size of fish to have your drag set at one setting.The main thing is ,start tight and backoff from there.

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upnorth

I set the drag on several criteria. First thing I consider is the line weight and second is the type, power and action of the rod. I set my drag pretty light probably about 25% to 30% of the break strength of the line at the rod tip with about 8 to 10 feet of line out.

If you really think you need to crank down your drag to set the hook, you should check the sharpness of you hooks. If you are using 4 to 6# line bait fishing with a #6 or #4 bait hook and it is sharp you really don't need much to drive the hook in past the barb. If you are using a big spinner bait on 15# line I think 5 pounds of snapping pressure should do a pretty good job of sinking hook in past the barb.

A few years back I was fishing in about 2 to 3 feet of water for Salmon in the fall using 8# line and probably 2# to #3 of drag at the end of the rod and hooked a 12" rainbow and pulled the fish completely out of the water on the hookset. It equates to a lot of power when you really snap that rod.

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LPCrowRiverFisherman

Another good one is how far you want the fish to run I fish a river with alot of snags so I'd rather take the chance of snapping the line than getting hung up. So I feel as long as the fish can't run a long way, and I feel it won't snap the line it's ok. The thing I do most is set it to the point where I can pull it out with no problem, and If it needs changing I do it during the fight.

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Luck e 1

Lots of good advice from everyone above.

As mentioned earlier...not too loose that you don't get a good hook set. When my dad sets the hook I always hear the ting of the drag...and he can't understand why some get off.

I go tighter on the drag...and if need be I just flatten out the angle of the rod to allow the drag to go a little easier (point the rod more at the fish). WHen he stops I quickly bring the angle up again.

I think you want a looser drag with the braided lines so less stress on the rod??

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upnorth

easy enough to reach down with a finger on a spinning rig or a thumb on a baitcaster and apply some more pressure. That way you can ease up easily when you need to and clamp down when you feel the need to stop them from running.

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big musk411

Well put by every one. The only thing that I have to add at this point is to allways check your drag setting each and every time you get to the lake. long or short travels may throw your settings off. I have lost a few by being lazy and not checking.

I use strong line[Maxima on spinning and braid on baitcasters] so I set my drag pretty tight.

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