The importance of drag

tighten-spinning-reel-drag

Drag pressure or how hard it is to pull line off a reel, is crucial and the cause of many bust-offs at the boat. Typically what happens is you either start with your drag set to tight or tighten it during the fight in an effort to stop the fish reaching the bottom or its favourite snag. The problem in doing this is that the drag needed varies throughout the fight so while you need more drag in the initial stages, as you retrieve line there is less water effect, the fish slows and you need less drag by the time you see the fish. Most species will nearly always take a last minute run when they spot the boat.

If your drag is still set tight as needed in the initial stages of the fight, the last dive, without water pressure on the line and a hook that has probably created a large hole, this is the time you loose that fish of a lifetime. A good technique is to set the drag to suit the rod, reel and line class you’re fishing before you start. While it is tempting to crank the drag up as a fish peels line off your reel, it is best not to unless you’re experienced and can back it off again when the time is right. If the drag is preset correctly, theoretically you’re stretching the rod / reel / line combination as much as you probably should. By increasing it during the fight, you’re pushing the outfit beyond its capabilities. It is a good idea to expect it and be prepared for that last minute dive by not having the drag too tight.

In most situations, when the fish is at the boat it is in the deeper water than it has been during the fight so there is less chance of it getting to the bottom or a snag so let it dive, take line. The key to not loosing fish at the boat is to make sure that the drag is not too tight and let the rod absorb some of the fish’s last surge, you will see less bust offs.

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