Pier Fishing in California

Resources :: Tackle Tips

Setting The Drag

In order to properly set your drag, you must first know the proper line weight for your rod. How do you find out the proper line weight for your rod? Read this in the Archives and DO IT.

Now, remember when you were determining the line weight, you read your scale while your helper was holding the rod with the tip at a 90 degree angle to the butt. The number on your scale (the reference number), is also the proper drag setting for your reel.

Now fill your reel with the proper weight line for your rod, attach the reel to your rod and string the line through the guides. Leave about 30 feet of line out and attach the end to your scale and your fixed object. The drag is off. Tighten the drag some. Pull up on the rod until you have reached both the 90 degree angle (of the rod tip to the butt), and your reference number on the scale. Have your helper read the scale and let you know when you reach your reference number.

If your drag slips before you reach your 90 degree angle, or your reference number, tighten your drag and try again.

Continue in this manner until your scale reads your reference number and your rod is at 90 degrees. What you have done is take into account the friction of the guides, the friction of the level wind (if you have one) and the friction of the line it self.

The next step is to measure the pull required, at the reel, to make the drag work.

Leaving the reel on the rod, unstring it from the guides, and reattach the scale. Now pull on the scale (and line) until the drag slips. Read this number. This number is what your reel should be set to each time you use the same combination of rod, line and reel.

When using mono-filament and ceramic guides, the drag reading will be very close to (a little less than) your reference number. (In other words, there is very little friction caused by the line and guides.) What’s important here is that as long as you don’t change the rod, reel, or line type you can reset your drag at any time by yourself by measuring the drag at the reel and know it is matched to the rod, line and reel.

(The Fenwick rod we used in determining line weight, required a 3 pound pull to achieve the 90 degrees and a 2 < pound pull at the reel. Each time this rod, line, reel combination is used the drag will be set at 2 < pounds.)

Now back the drag off. Each time after you are done fishing, back off the drag. Do not store your reel with the drag on, as this will cause the drags to seize

The next time you go fishing with this same rod, line and reel combination, measure and set the drag to the same number on your scale that you determined in the last step, which under ideal conditions
should be about the same as your line weight divided by 4.

Note: With Dacron or super lines, your drag weight number will be different than with monofilament line.

This Tackle Tip offered Ron Crandall of Ron’s Reel Repair