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Adjusting Drag While Fighting Fish

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MikeK

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Seems like every youtuber or fishing video these days shows the angler adjusting their drag while fighting fish.  I was always taught to set you drag properly once before your first cast and not to adjust it while fighting a fish. The reason for this is to properly set you drag you need to flex the rod and pull line through the guides to replicate the friction. Something that cannot be done while fighting a fish.

 

The only time I will touch my drag while fighting a fish is if a fish is running towards problematic structure and needs to be stopped.  Most times that can be accomplished by cupping the spool and not messing with the drag knob.

 

What say you?

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22 mins ago, MikeK said:

Seems like every youtuber or fishing video

 

There is your problem

Watching you tube

 

 Bad day fishing is still much better than good day work.

 

"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him had better take a much closer look at the American Indian.
                                                                                     - Henry Ford-

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1 hour ago, MikeK said:

Seems like every youtuber or fishing video these days shows the angler adjusting their drag while fighting fish.  I was always taught to set you drag properly once before your first cast and not to adjust it while fighting a fish. The reason for this is to properly set you drag you need to flex the rod and pull line through the guides to replicate the friction. Something that cannot be done while fighting a fish.

 

The only time I will touch my drag while fighting a fish is if a fish is running towards problematic structure and needs to be stopped.  Most times that can be accomplished by cupping the spool and not messing with the drag knob.

 

What say you?

99% of the youtubers are egotistical morons who catch average to below average fish in both quantity and quality. They are completely clueless and inexperienced. I wouldn’t watch any of them and copy what they do

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Best tool to set a drag

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 Bad day fishing is still much better than good day work.

 

"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him had better take a much closer look at the American Indian.
                                                                                     - Henry Ford-

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I absolutely do. I may not tighten the drag as much as I’d loosen it, especially when the fish gets close. At the end of a cast the drag seems harder to pull and if I get hit that far out, I will back off a bit ( if I can and should). Hooks always seem to pull when a fish is much closer, trying to run but there is no given in the drag, that’s when I back it off and cup when I need to, especially with large fish. I’ve lost em close, we all have. Big or small fish I’ve seen many plugs come flying back 20’ out from muscling them in tight, no need and no reason on the open beach.  There’s many situations and variables here but  I’d rather walk a fish down current in a line up over losing it or getting someone hooked. Staying in front your fish in that scenario seems lost in surf fishing these days. 

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13 mins ago, Mike Mendez said:

I agree... set the drag and leave it.

 

Armchair fisherman comment:  It is interesting that as more line is taken from the reel, the lever arm to turn the spool gets shorter and increases the amount of force needed to slip the drag.

Good point there, but very few of us are likely fishing drags near the breaking strength of the line.  So a little higher with line out, a little less with less line in doesn't really make a difference.

 

A tuna with 300 yards of line out running at 40 mph, is a different and very unique situation, where drag adjustment may be necessary.

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I never adjusted my drag once set but always made sure the bottom of my roller was centered in spool to achieve even line pull from top and bottom of spool when fighting fish. You can often hear an uncentered roller as the drag will pulse because the pull is completely unbalanced

Edited by SC
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I  nearly lock my drag striped bass fishing. I forget what VS max drag values are, but I have never had a fish break off unless  it is contact with structure.

 

Fly fishing is a different story, I will adjust the drag depending on what I tangling with during a fight.  I dont like getting to far into backing, and I have no problem if I loose a fish because I set it too far.  I would rather risk breakoff than toasting a large fish. Most fish to about 15# I leave the drag pretty loose (2-3#) and just apply hand line pressure. 

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When I'm fishing bait I tend to just set it and forget it. When throwing artificial I tend to switch between many different types of lures which tends to be used under different drag tensions. The only time I really adjust drag during a fight is like the above aforementioned if the fish is approaching structure.  

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I’ve always set drag a little lighter, but enough to get a hook set. Then adjust to conditions and the specie. Certain fish run extra hard and long with a tight drag.examples : Steelhead, snook, salmon when trolled, Of course structure makes a difference, vertical jogging to get something out the rocks or bottom. In many cases bringing a “hot” fish in creates more break offs, I set my drag, tie line or hook to something and put the rod to the test,find that spot and back off slightly ,fishing 4 lb tippett requires only the rod, What’s more important is the drag is perfectly smooth, no jerking 

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