Drag, how tight?

C

collegekidusa

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Sep 21, 2010
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South East Portland
Hey everyone, I have a question. How tight do you keep your drag when fishing steelhead? Tight, Med, Light? I have heard different things and am trying to figure it out.

Thanks for the responses,

collegekidusa
 
F

fish4life

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Oct 24, 2010
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molalla,or
It just depends on what hole Im fishing. If it is a spot with a lot of room to play out a fish I will set it lighter, but if it is a spot where you need to stop a fish because you are not going to be able to chase it downstream or if there is a log or something in the hole I would rather take my chance on getting him to turn.
 
brandon4455

brandon4455

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i put my drag on kinda light/medium. that way if the fish is big i wont loose it or get my rod snapped. and if it makes a run for a snag i just lightly thumb the spool (casting reel) usually ill have the drag a wee bit tighter (but not to much) on a spinning rod.
 
N

nwkiller

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i just go with whatever pound tust im running and presonaly its the same for every fish. it matters to me what pound test im running example: 8lb i will pull my drag and determine the pound i need obviuosly being less then my line weight. maybe 5 or 6 pound its all about feel really, just as long as it is below the line lb your using, guess thats just common sense but.... a person can catch a 50 lb fish on 4 # test because his drag was set loose enough to let him run, yet taught enough to wear him down.
 
S

SantiamDrifter

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Salem
I like to run my drags in the med-light side. When you first hook into a fish you dont want a tight drag. A fresh fish may end up breaking you off that way. But once you fight the fish for awhile then start tighten the drag. The more tired he is, the tighter you can set your drag.
 
G

GraphiteZen

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It's important to remember that there are knots between your reel and the fish.

The best way to test IMO:

Get a fish scale that consists of a gauge and and actual spring set (digital readout is too slow).
Tie your personal knot to a metal ring or something and attach it to the scale.
With the reel on the rod, safety glasses on your face and your eye on the scale, start pulling and tighten the drag until your knot breaks, record this weight.
Repeat the procedure four or five times, then determine the average weight of all the sessions.
Tie back up and set the drag to feed line at 1/3 the average weight it took to break your knot. You will be surprised at how tight this actually is.
Then, leave the drag alone. ;)

I never actually do this, of course, because it's a total PITA. But, it is the correct way IMO.
 
G

GraphiteZen

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good point GZ

Yup. The advantage is that if you do get broken off, so long as you take care to tie a good knot every time and re-tie often enough, you will know it was a problem with either an obstacle in the water or abraded leader and only one of those factors is out of your control.
 
Y

youngbuck307

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Mar 5, 2009
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SE Portland, Oregon
Bait caster way light and I thumb it on hooksets and use it for a drag the whole fight.... If u need to stop him u can if u need to let him run u can... Fish taking u down whight water with tight drag is going to snap u off lot more then letting it run and catching up.... That is if u can go down with it.

Spinning reel just tight enough to get a good hook set... Should pull few clicks of drag on a hard hook set into a rock or fish but not much at all... Then adjust when neededor palm it to stop him
 
B

bernduffy

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I concur with SantiamDrifter's theory of light drag at first then tighten up as the fish tires. Sounds good on paper, but watch it: a fish can suddenly go ballistic when it sees the boat or net...so be prepared to lighten up in a nanosecond.
 
M

mgdguy

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Gresham, Oregon
I concur with SantiamDrifter's theory of light drag at first then tighten up as the fish tires. Sounds good on paper, but watch it: a fish can suddenly go ballistic when it sees the boat or net...so be prepared to lighten up in a nanosecond.

Bingo. Start loose and tighten a little if needed, but not much. I'd rather have the fish make a couple surprise last runs, then a *surprise!* lost fish at the end! :doh:
 
R

RunWithSasquatch

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Ive always started fairly light, and tighten as needed. Ive never seen a steelhead spool, or make this incredible run like you hooked into a Sea Lion. They're hooked, they ain't going anywhere. 10lb ultra green straightens my hooks before it breaks anyway, I say light drag, and use your instinct from there. I like to fight my fish and have fun, not yard its ass in like its a logging operation.
 
M

Mad dog

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Roseburg, Oregon
Go light, you'll land more fish in the long run! You can do a lot with your rod postion to fight a fish and change when it runs or jumps. If you run a tight drag you are going to pull a lot of hooks, especially when the fight is in close! Nothing worse than reeling down on a fish at rods length only to have them shoot away from the bank and rip the hook out of their mouth, that or start the head shake thrashing at the bank that helps them throw the hook, I alway keep my rod tip low to the water when they start that crap!
 

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