What is Drag in Fishing?

If you buy via a link on this page, we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.Learn more

Do you know what drag, gear ratio, or inches per turn mean? No? Well, don’t worry. It is common among new anglers. Although knowing the concept doesn’t increase your catching rate, it will help you to decide which reel suits your needs the best. 

In today’s piece, what is drag in Fishing? In simple terms, the term defines the friction that a set of discs put into the spool. Consequently, a force greater than this friction must be applied to take the line out of the spool. 

Make sure to stay with us a little longer if you want to know more about drag and how it helps you to land a fish. 

How Using The Drag Helps

The drag makes it harder for the fish to take the line out of the spool. Why? You might wonder. In a nutshell, the drag system applies pressure on the spool. To overcome said friction, the fish has to pull the line with more force. As a result, it helps you to keep the line tight as the fish swims away. 

Consequently, this also means that setting the drag correctly will help you to achieve two things: Prevent the line from snapping and weaken the fish. 

You might be wondering, how the drag systems lower the odds of the line snapping. Let’s say that you are using a 10-pound line. The logical thing to do is to set the drag at less than 10 pounds. As a result, the fish only need as much pressure to take some yards out of the spool. But this drives us to our next question.

How Much Drag Do You Need For Fishing?

It depends on the line, the reel, and the fish. In any case, you have to set the drag below the line’s test strength. If not, your line will break eventually. 

On the other hand, you can only use as much drag as the reel is able to deliver. Lastly, we have the fish. Large fish require heavier tackle and, consequently, more drag. 

It is time for a practical example with the same 10-pound line. The rule of thumb here is to set the drag between a third to half of the line weight. In this case, between 3 to 5 pounds. This way, you hit the sweet spot between power and security. 

How To Adjust Drag On a Spinning Reel?

Most spinning reels come with a front drag wheel, also known as the dial. Turn it clockwise to increase the drag. Other models might come with a drag dial on the back, called a bait feeder. Naturally, these are special models; made for specific situations where you need some extra help. 

How To Adjust Drag On a Baitcaster Reel?

On baitcaster reels, the drag dial is right next to the handle. But in the end, the same principles apply. The convenient location makes it easy to adjust the drag even after casting. However, it also made it easier to alter the settings accidentally. 

In our experience, we’ve found that the baitcasters drag dial is more sensible than any other type of reel. Additionally, these reels pack a strong drag system that yields more pounds of stopping power. 

How To Adjust Drag On a SpincastReel?

Spincast reels feature a small dial located right above the release button. However, these reels have much lesser drag than the previous two variants. Besides, we’ve found that the dial on these reels is not as trustworthy either. 

That is why spincast reels are mainly used by young anglers who are unlikely to catch a giant fish. 

How do I Know How Much Drag I’m Using?

How do I know how much drag I’m currently using? This is one of the most common questions people ask us. Sadly, reels don’t show your current drag settings. Therefore, it is tricky to tell if you are between a third to half of the line weight. But don’t worry, we have a solution. 

The easiest and quickest way is to use your hands to test the resistance. If you notice a stretch in the line as you pull, then you might need to push back a little. Ultimately, it is better to battle the fish a little longer than lose it because of a snap. 

You will roughly tell how much drag you’ve chosen once you get a hold of your reel.

How Does Drag Work? 

Regardless of the type of fishing reel, all drag systems work the same way. It comprises a set of drag discs, also known as washers. 

Some reels pack felt washers, while others prefer carbon. While both of them get the job done. It is undeniable that carbon discs offer a smoother experience. On the flip side, they are not as durable. 

Either way, the washers apply pressure to the spool as you engage the dial. Thus, increasing the effort the fish has to make to escape. 

Drag: Your Invisible Friend

You need every help you can get while battling fish. That’s why it is crucial to know what drag is, how to set the correct amount, and how it works.

To recap what we’ve discussed. The drag is the pressure a set of discs put into the spool. As a result, the fish has to produce enough power to overcome said friction. 

Most fishing reels come with a drag dial that you can use to set the right amount of pressure. Remember that it should be between a third and a half of the line weight. Otherwise, your line will more likely break. 

While you are here, we invite you to check our other articles about spinning reels, rods, and lures! 

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *