Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

October 24, 2012

Understand a reel’s drag system

Special report
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — Every experienced fisherman knows how much time, work and energy is involved in hooking into a trophy fish. Those same fishermen also know that even after you get that fish on the end of your line, you’re only halfway home. The job isn’t complete until you get it safely in the boat. But then that’s half the fun... working and playing a fish through the fight.

Above all, the angler’s most valuable tool in playing fish is the reel’s drag system. Acting as a slip-clutch system, the reel’s drag allows line to slip instead of breaking under the pressure of a sudden, or heavy pull by an above-average fish. With your drag set too light, you don’t have the ability to maintain the needed pressure to keep the fish from "throwing” the hook. If your drag is set too tight, surges produced by the fighting fish will cause the line to snap. But with your drag properly set, you have the ability to both control and enjoy the fighting fish all the way to the boat.

Most drag systems work on the principle of two discs that work face-to-face. Constructed of cork — or some or substance that offers resistance when butted against a like substance — one disc is attached to the side of the line spool itself and the facing disc being attached to the reel’s cranking and anti-reverse system. In principle, the tighter the two discs are pushed together (through the drag adjustment), the more resistance is created, thereby requiring more pull to cause the line to slip.

The drag system on most baitcasting reels is controlled by a “star wheel” located just under the cranking handle. Turning the wheel clockwise increases the drag pressure, turning it counter-clockwise decreases the drag pressure. Drag adjustment on spinning reels is either accomplished through a knob at the rear of the reel, or by a screw directly in front of the spool.

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