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Reel Drag Settings

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Taylor8
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Reel Drag Settings

#1

Post by Taylor8 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:16 pm

Anyone have opinions on what the initial reel drag setting should be as a % if your leader breaking strength? I’m mostly thinking of saltwater flats fishing applications but could also apply to trout or anything else where you might fight the fish off the reel drag.

I’ve seen different things on the internet that the reel Max drag setting should be 30-40% of leader breaking strength but can’t find much for initial drag setting.

All the best,
Taylor

Geenomad
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Re: Reel Drag Settings

#2

Post by Geenomad » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:38 am

Hi Taylor
Here's how I think about it. There are two basic reasons to have drag on your fly reel. One is to prevent overrun, including when stripping line off in a hurry. The other is to (help) apply pressure to a fish to tire them sufficiently to land. The circumstances will influence a drag setting too. Open water, no snags, no coral edges etc and choice favours lowering the risk of break off. Opposite conditions, might require pushing the limits a lot more from the beginning.

For trout, even big ones, I almost never use more than enough reel drag than to prevent overrun and rarely increase it during a fight. Palming with my line/reel hand takes care of the rest.

On the salty flats it varies. Bones for example I tend to play a bit more like trout. GTs and such are more likely to be heavy to max drag scenarios or thereabouts. If I don't start with heavy drag it will be engaged asap.

Long way of saying that from my experience and preferences there isn't a simple answer, unqualified by species and circumstances. :)

Cheers
Mark
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James9118
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Re: Reel Drag Settings

#3

Post by James9118 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:21 pm

Hi Taylor

I set my lighter saltwater outfit, for bonefish etc., with a drag setting that I'm comfortable with for the fight. I'll obviously make adjustments to this during the fight if necessary. For my heavier outfits I do things slightly differently; if I pre-set the drag on these then stripping the line off in preparation for a cast is a pain (I wade fish, carrying two rods) e.g. if I set it for 10lb then it becomes a bit of a work-out to pull off 70/80ft of line. As such, I'll set the drag to avoid overruns when stripping the fly line, but it will still be light enough not to impede my speed (or leave my arm aching). After stripping the line, I give the drag knob a twist and then make the cast. I then make further fine tweaks once the line is cleared and the backing knot is heading out through the tip ring. With a bit of practice (and a decent reel) you can get pretty quick and consistent with the twist of the drag knob in order to get much the same drag level each time.

James

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Graeme H
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Re: Reel Drag Settings

#4

Post by Graeme H » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:06 pm

I follow the method described by James.

In the salt, I think it's really important to have a setting that is well above "just preventing overruns" because a setting that light will see your knuckles broken when your fish suddenly pulls line. A higher drag setting retards the acceleration of the reel so you have enough time to pull your hand off the handle of the reel before it reaches a dangerous speed.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Taylor8
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Re: Reel Drag Settings

#5

Post by Taylor8 » Sat Feb 15, 2020 1:40 pm

Great thoughts gents! I’ve used similar approaches in the past but just with the “feel” of pulling line of the reel. I recently purchased a Mako reel that has a single turn drag knob and have measured its drag strength at different points thru out the 360 degree turn. It seems most reels have multiple turn drag knobs so this method isn’t possible but I’m curious if others have taken a similar approach with single turn drags.

All the best,
Taylor

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Paul Arden
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Re: Reel Drag Settings

#6

Post by Paul Arden » Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:16 pm

It would be great to have a reel with two settings. Pulling line out setting and fish fighting setting. I spun that idea around a few years ago with Ralf (Vosseler) but I think that there might actually be something out there that does this?

Ultimately it’s about getting line off the reel to make a shot. The problem with heavy drag settings is that it means that the fight is always at this setting (unless you can alter it with your third hand!) and that’s not perfect either because there are times in a fight when you want to give line super quickly. For example if you get into a difficult situation near the boat and the fish dives and the rod is up you need to slip line or you break the tip.

A lever drag system I think would be an improvement but it would have to be at the front of the reel and not at the back.

Cheers, Paul
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Graeme H
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Re: Reel Drag Settings

#7

Post by Graeme H » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:30 pm

Paul Arden wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:16 pm
It would be great to have a reel with two settings. Pulling line out setting and fish fighting setting. I spun that idea around a few years ago with Ralf (Vosseler) but I think that there might actually be something out there that does this?
In practice, the Mako reels already do this, except the "fight" setting is variable. The very large drag control is simple to adjust from "not quite free spooling" (which is minimum setting) to a suitable fighting setting. For me, it's 2/5 of a turn, easily estimated due to the pentagonal design.

There's no need for a third hand. Reach around the reel and adjust it. On the Mako reels, that adjustment has very little resistance. Just a slight push of the control at the front or back of the reel will tweak the setting.

All that comes at a hefty price and they are only available down to about a 9wt reel. If they made them smaller, I'd have more of them.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Graeme H
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Re: Reel Drag Settings

#8

Post by Graeme H » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:41 pm

Taylor8 wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 1:40 pm
I recently purchased a Mako reel that has a single turn drag knob and have measured its drag strength at different points thru out the 360 degree turn. It seems most reels have multiple turn drag knobs so this method isn’t possible but I’m curious if others have taken a similar approach with single turn drags.
I haven't bothered measuring the setting on the Makos I own (other than out of interest for the maximum values). There are too many other variables in play to come close to knowing the resistance the fish - and tippet - will experience. The main one being how fly line drags through water and the guides of the rod: the faster the fish is moving and the more line is in the water, the higher the drag will be from that friction. A fish running quickly to the left or right relative to me places an enormous stress on the tippet, even if I have minimal drag set on the reel.

During a fight, I keep it low enough to allow for that line drag and high enough to prevent injury to myself. If the fish makes a long run directly away from me and I'm getting worried, I'll reach around and tweak the drag.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Paul Arden
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Re: Reel Drag Settings

#9

Post by Paul Arden » Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:22 am

Those puffer fish really go hard don’t they Graeme?


:cool:
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Graeme H
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Re: Reel Drag Settings

#10

Post by Graeme H » Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:20 am

:D
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