January 12

What Is Drag In Fishing?

Today’s blog post will be talking about what is drag in fishing. most people don't think about all the different adjustments you can make to your fishing gear. Slight adjustments are what will make or break a good fishing day. You should always take into consideration what you're going after and what you're using to go after it.

I personally adjustments I feel. This is just something I do from experience.I believe you will have to do some testing to figure it out but let me known that setting your drag when fishing is very important. Please read down below to find out how you set the drive for all the situations you're going to be dealing with.

How To Use Drag When Fishing

Using the drag while fishing is extremely important.  if you have the setting to high you'll find at the fish get off your line more often. This can be very annoying. If you have the lime to light or your jack, a small fish completely pick up all your lines until you reach the end.

Somewhere in between these outer limits will be your sweet spot for the type and size of fish you plan to catch. Like I said before there is a little bit of personal preference and experience that goes along with your drag. Always try to remember where and how you caught a fish and what your drag setting was. 

How To Keep Fish On The Line

Keeping your fish on the line is something that comes with a little bit of finesse. If you have ever watched a fishing tournament you probably notice a few things that they do which you don't. They try to keep the fish underwater. They try to keep the fish away from the structure. They try to make sure at the fish is tired before they pull it in. They may even try to pull the fishing as quickly as possible if it's small. They also make sure that the drag is set so you don't lose a fish for no good reason.

most of those reasons are self-explanatory however setting and drag is something that comes with experience. I personally learned I catching a lot of fish of a particular type an adjusting each and every time. This is the absolute best way to set your drag if you have time. a lot of people don't have this time and need it to be right the first time for them to enjoy themselves.

If you have a fish on a line that's bigger than you thought it would be and your drag is tighter than you think is necessary you will need to make some adjustments on the Fly. when I get into a very large striped bass I will almost instinctively feel that the lines going to break if I pull back too hard. At this moment I release the dragon enough to let the line out but not enough to make the line go Slack. At this point I fight the fish and if it's winning over me I tighten it a little bit more. 

Abu Garcia C3-6500 Ambassadeur Catfish

The drag setting is easy to see on many bait casting reels.  Right on the handle is a 5-6 prong handle for setting your drag to the amount you need

I will keep tightening until I can do it as high as possible without getting that same feeling that I might lose the fish if my drag is too tight. It's best to get to that point and he's off just a little bit because you never know when they're going to go for a super-strong Superman run.

How Much Drag Do I Need

Figuring out how much drag need comes down to knowing oneself. If you were a freshman and likes to real back and hook a fish like you wanted to go straight through it then you should probably have to drag a little looser. The reason for this is that we don't want to rip the lips off the fish. If you have circle hooks you don't even need to hook them they just hooked themselves.

Once you have a fish show on is one of the best times to set your drag. He can simply loosen it until the fish is able to take some wine out of it naturally. From this point, you want to tighten it by 1/4 return until it feels like you're able to reel in the line more than the fish is able to fight you. This is the optimal level to let the Fish Tire itself out so you will know that you can reel it in.

Checking Fishing Drag

Checking Fishing Drag

There are some caveats to this. one of those is the fact that if it is a very small fish you don't need to listen to any of this. Any fishing rod and reel can hook and reel in bluegill without breaking the line. The only reason this wouldn't be true is if they're inside of some kind of cover or you need to let them play around and hopefully swim out of it themselves. Otherwise, you can just real minions fast as you can and that's the reason it's good for kids.

I would say that anything over 3 lb should have a focused drag setting to optimally fight the fish. At this weight range, the drag setting has the ability to make or break you catching a fish or not. Also, the drag setting can affect your hooking percentage. The reason people use braided line it's because it doesn't stretch and puts an arrow-like hook setting into the fish.remember not to overdo the drag setting just to have a fantastic hooking percentage. more times unless you will end up over power in the fish and hurting it or completely missing the strike.

How To Set Drag On Conventional Reel

Setting the drag on a regular reel is quite easy. Doing it correctly is another thanks entirely. You will either notice a knob that can twist or a spindle that can twist on your open face reel or baitcasting reel. If you twist this counterclockwise it will loosen. If you twist this clockwise it will tighten. These are the basics for setting your drag. 

Drag Setting On Conventional Reel

Drag Setting On Conventional Reel

As I stated above, this is a finesse thing. You will have to figure this out yourself based on your fishing situation. I know this is not what you wanted to hear but it's the truth. Every person is different, every environment is different, every fishing rod and reel is different, and every fish is different. therefore, you will have to do consistent and numerous changes to your drag settings for every fishing reel you have.

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How To Set Drag On Baitcaster

On a baitcasting reel, you will find the drag setting connected to the crank. It will have little knobs that your thumb can push upon to tighten it closer to the fishing reel or loosen it further away. You are able to take this whole assembly apart and give it a proper oil change when necessary.

Setting The Drag On a Baitcasting Reel

Setting The Drag On a Baitcasting Reel

If you find that you completely tighten it all the way in a line is still going out you need to make some adjustments internally on your fishing reel. I have an Abu Garcia with the same symptoms and it turns out for the mail that I need to do a tune-up. The springs get a little loose over time and you will need to readjust them to make them tighten at the right points.

Everything is in working order it's very easy to adjust and react to you're fishing situation. You're more than likely to use this when you get hung on something. You'll feel like you're pulling a log and next thing you know your lines coming out. if you're traveling and you actually hit something it's best that your drag is set otherwise you might find yourself swimming with the fish.

How To Set Drag On Open Face Reel

Setting the drag on an spinning reel is it much different than doing it on a baitcasting reel. the real difference is the tension device that you're using to do it. On an open face reel you will find this at the top of the spindle. This looks like it's just holding down the spindle so you're lying in a spindle don't go flying off the real. The secondary function of this is the drag setting. the counterclockwise and clockwise movements work exactly the same.

Setting The Drag On An Open Face Reel

Setting The Drag On An Open Face Reel

Dealing with an open face fishing reel is a bit easier. I believe that the adjustment has more range in more variability. This helps you adjust better to each and every fish that you're trying to catch. 

How To Set Drag For Surf Fishing

You would think that setting the drag for your surf fishing reel would be the same as everywhere else but you would be wrong. Surf fishing is a very unique sport. I had lots of fun with it down to Florida and it taught me a few things. The wave action has a life of itself when it comes to using a drag. The bigger the waves are the more you will find that your drag is taken out and then you spend a lot of effort getting it back in even when the fish is it that big.

Palm Beach Inlet Fishing and Jupiter Island Fishing

I had a 5lb Margate at the Blowing Rocks near Jupiter Island in Jupiter Florida. If you look at this video you will notice that I spent a lot of time reeling in and then adjusting my line so that when the wave goes back out it doesn't break my line. The reason for this is the fish is running up to the shore with the wave and then running out to see with the wave. This makes it feel like I have two or more fish fighting me.

Palm Beach Inlet Fishing and Jupiter Island Fishing

I was honestly thinking that something much bigger was on the line. I was convinced that a 15 the 20 lb fish was going to be coming out of water if I could manage to work my drag just enough to get it in after it's tired. This was a lesson I learned about surf fishing. This is the reason you need a huge Rod to give you leverage and to help you fight the fish for longer without dealing with a break-off.

Oakum TXP-1002-80 Tundra Pro Surf Rod & Reel

Purchasing the right surf reel can be a real challenge. Height, size, weight and style all come into play depending on what you are doing. Go easy on yourself and just get something that works.

During this lesson, I knew that I needed to tighten the drag just enough to let the fish take line out at all periods. I then used my super reeling speed to make way on the fish when the waves came in. This allows me to let the wave and the fish go out to see unabated but yet reel it in to recover my drag and not run out of fishing.

Palm Beach Inlet Fishing and Jupiter Island Fishing

If this was a bigger fish I would have had a bigger fishing line and a tighter drag. A bigger fish would have stayed out of the wave break instead of staying there as a smaller fish would. That way I could use the height of the rod to fight the fish behind the ways and not have to deal with that extra weight. This would allow you to fight the fish normally. but once that fish goes into the waves it's a whole different ballgame.

Setting Drag For Bass

For most bass setting a drag is really an afterthought. Most are going to be under 3 lb and just about any fishing rod with any tension can pull them in easily. This is the reason that professional bass fisherman feel the weight of the bass and if it's too small they pull into the boat without really thinking about it.

Once a bass above that weight, you have to do a few different things. First congratulations on getting a huge Largemouth or smallmouth bass. We could be talking about striped bass to and that also needs drag at all time.

Charles River Fishing

You should use just enough drag to let the light out for that weight size. I suggest that you tighten the line and do a light pull on the fishing line. If the line barely comes out when you pull it hard you're getting close to where you need to be. If you pull the line lately and it comes out you definitely need to tighten it. The same goes for striped bass. 

This is when it's important to have the right weight fishing line. Your drag said he will try to save you from using the wrong fishing line size. However, if you try to catch a 50 lb striped bass of 6 lb test you're going to have a problem at some point. Maybe you're open water and you have about 5,000 feet of fishing line to work with us maybe might get a world record. 

Max Drag For Catfish

The reason I want to talk about drag with catfish is the fact that they have little grinding teeth. If you ever stuck your hand into the mouth of a catfish you know that they can scrape you up a little bit. I personally don't like putting my fingers in the mouth of a catfish but I will do it from time to time when they are small. If you're a real man you'll go down to the Mississippi River find a hole and stick your whole arm or foot in it and catch a catfish that way.



When setting the drag for a catfish you should make sure that you don't give them too much line. Therefore the drag setting should be very tight. if you underestimate a catfish it will take the line out and get you hung up in something. Most catfish aren't as Romaine the bearish or with no structure around them. They're going to go down to the bottom back to the structure and wrap around it as many times as they can. It's almost like they were instructed to do this.

I can't count how many times a catfish has gone 10 feet and completely wrap me up in something I didn't even know was there. When this happens set a little marker on your sonar unit cuz this is where the fish are going to be hanging out. This is sort of like when you're flipping for bass and you get a flipping Rod so they don't go back into those weeds. When they do you will most likely lose the fish or have a very hard time getting him out.


As you have seen setting your drag is something that comes from experience. If you are still wondering how much drag is enough or how much drag do I need or how to set drag for some type of fish you should stop and think. Remember the last time you caught that fish with that fishing rod and reel. How did it feel? How far did the fish run away? What size line were you using? Did you notice any underwater structure?

Questions like these are what will get you closer to choosing the right drag setting for your fishing Adventure. I hope that this blog post has helped you figure out how you want to go about setting your drag on your fishing rod and reel. If you have any questions about drag settings,  how to use an open face reel, how to cast properly while fishing, or how to hold a fishing rod use the contact address at the top of the page.

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