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Lever drag vs star drag ease of use and maintenence?

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From a maintenance standpoint, it really depends on the reel. Some star drags are very simple whereas some are a pain. Same goes for lever. 


I'd first start with figuring out what you want to use it for. 

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Lever drag reels are nice, but it is very important to know how to properly set the drag.


It is not as cut and dry as setting the drag on a reel with a star drag, but it is a more precise drag system that will allow you to know exactly how much drag power you are putting out at any given time, this is especially important when fighting fish that take off on long runs. I also see it as a good option when using light lines to land big fish.


I used both drag systems, but I prefer the star drag.


 



Ease of maintenance is dependent on how the manufacturer designed the reel rather then the drag system. Avet reels are lever drag reels, but depending on the model it could be extra easy to brake down or it could be very difficult on the bigger models. 


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For applications where you repeatedly cast or frequently engage/disengage freespool like bouncing bottom, I would use a star drag

 

For chunking and livelining a leverdrag has big advantages because of the progressive drag settings

 

But I get caught using the wrong reel for what I'm doing more often than not. Not a huge deal, if you are proficient with the given reel you can make it work. Just get one of each

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Unless you're challenging big fish that pose a real risk of breaking your line, there's no reason to go to a lever drag.

 

I've got a bunch of lever drag reels that I use offshore, but inside I use star drags for everything, with the exception of one of the old Penn International 12s that I sometimes use for diamond jigging stripers once the mahi--which is what I normally use it for--depart for warmer seas.

 

Even offshore, where the biggest thing I'm likely to run into is a big mako or bigeye tuna (I don't chase giants and blue marlin are, sadly, few and far between up here), I've got old 9/0 and 10/0 Penn Senators on my 80-pound rods, while everything from 12 through 50 are Internationals. And those 80s have served well when big sharks and bigeye come to call.

 

Personally, I find the convenience of a fixed drag and free-spool lever easier to use on the inshore grounds than a lever drag, and just add incremental pressure, when needed, with my thumb. Unless you're fishing for something that swims fast enough to burn off your fingerprints, that's really all you need.

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If it's 8 'n Bait, I like the lever drag. But if it's plugging, go with star drag. If another reason is expense, star drag is usually are less expensive. Now here are my reasons for both.

1) Lever Drag with 8 'n Bait leaves you with a couple of options. If you are going to hold the rod while fishing, you set a little drag, if any, so when a fish picks up the bait it doesn't feel the weight. If dead sticking, you set the drag tighter so if you get a hit, the rod doesn't get dragged out to sea and then put the drag in the strike position after you pull the rod from the holder to fight the fish. I'm fishing Accurates from the surf. A PITA to learn to cast, but once you get it dailed in, it works great for me. I have Avets as back-up reels.

2) Star drags when plugging. I find it more of a PITA with a lever drag for this application. I prefer to just push or flip a button after the cast for the retrieve. I will use an Abu or similar reel for this application.

Pete

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