1. View: Beginner's Guide: Setting the Drag on Your Game Fishing Reel

Beginner's Guide: Setting the Drag on Your Game Fishing Reel

Posted 30/07/2013 10:20 AM
Updated 16/09/2013 4:11 AM



The lever drag setting on your game fishing reel, as in all drag settings, should be set to slip at only 25 to 30 percent of the line's breaking strength. The low setting builds in a good safety margin in case there are any weak links in your line or fishing tackle. Frays, nicks, general line wear and even knots can reduce the line strength, so you will need this extra large margin of safety.

Start by moving the lever to "FREE" and turning the Pre-Set Knob clockwise to increase the drag range. Now move the lever forward to the "STRIKE" position where it will automatically stop. Pull line from the reel or check the scale reading as the line is released. Continue to fine tune your drag range adjustments (with the lever at "FREE" each time) until you are satisfied with the tension at "STRIKE".

Warning: Always turn the pre-set knob with the drag lever in the "FREE" position. Turning the pre-set knob with the lever in the "STRIKE" position can damage the reel.


If you are an experienced angler you may be able to set your drag tension by pulling line from the fishing reel by hand while it is in "STRIKE" and judging it through feel. If you have any doubts, scale your drag. Many anglers overestimate their drags by 100%. To scale your drag, first place the fishing reel on the fishing rod and run the line through the guide. Then, have a friend hold the scale and pull the fishing line so that it puts a bend in the fishing rod. Using this method you can be assured your drag is set accurately.


Once you have established your drag setting, you can return to the pre-set "STRIKE" setting at any time. Your fishing reel will "remember" this setting forever, so you will never be in doubt about what drag pressure you are exerting on the fish. If you wish to go past your "STRIKE" setting to put even more pressure on a fish just press the strike stop button located in the drag lever quadrant so you can move the lever towards the "FULL" position. This will gradually increase the drag force, up to a maximum of an additional 30%. This setting is to be used with caution since the combination of programmed control and increased line leverage may exceed your line strength. It is recommended that the "STRIKE" setting be checked before each use and after encountering any long running fish. Do this as part of the regular checks you should be doing with the rest of your fishing tackle and fishing gear.


Well first off, drag means controls the amount of force the fishing reel should give up line to keep the line or fishing rod from snapping. It's a life saver! To adjust this there should be a round adjusting knob or something that clockwise and anti-clockwise. If you adjust this device one way it tightens the drag and if you adjust it the other way it loosens the drag.

The unwritten rule for drag adjusting is simple: whatever the strength of the line you're using, divide it by 4 and that's how much pound of force it should take to get the drag working. So for example if you are using 30 pound monofilament line then you should get a spring scale and attach the end of the line to the hook of the spring scale and pull on the line just enough to where the spring scale reads 7 pounds (ie. 7 pounds x 4 = 28 pounds which is just under 30 pounds). Then twist the drag knob until the line starts to pull out of the fishing reel right at 8 pounds of pressure.


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