How To Set Drag On A Spinning Reel

Once you’ve experienced the fishing process as an angler, you certainly know how it feels to lose a large fish due to a broken line. This situation usually happens when the drag is not appropriately adjusted. But don’t worry, you will not have such experiences anymore.

The helpful tips below will change a drag setting to a simple process and help you know how to set drag on a spinning reel.

What Is Drag Fishing?

You’ve thrown your line, enticed a fish to bite, and then set the hook. You may now begin reeling in the fish. A broken line is the last thing you want to encounter during this stage of learning to fish. By understanding how to adjust the drag on your fishing reel, you can avoid the most unexpected situations relating to a broken line while drag fishing.

So, what is the definition of drag fishing? If you’re fishing with a rod and reel instead of pole fishing or trawling with a net, you will almost certainly need to adjust the drag at some point.

In fishing reels, the drag is essentially a pair of friction plates. The friction is overcome when the fish pulls hard enough on the line, and the revolution turns backwards, allowing the line out and preventing the cable from breaking. Before making your first throw of the day, you should set the drag on your fishing reel. It might be tough to adjust it when fighting a fish. Furthermore, you should not change the drag fishing gear while fishing because doing so might break it.

Lever Drag And Conventional Reels

The drag should be adjusted to 1/4 to 1/3 of the breaking strength of your line. Therefore, if you’re using a 40-pound braid, your strike drag will be between 10 and 13 pounds.

Star drags feature a drag shaped like a star, allowing you to manage your pain more precisely. You can’t tighten or loosen a star drag once it’s been set; otherwise, you’ll have to start over.

Lever drags feature a lever that adjusts from strike to complete and a built-in stop that may shift a few pounds when you change gears.

For the best precision, use a spring scale. Make a loop at the end of your line with your rod and reel setup with a line through the guides. Add some drag to the reel and attach your scale to the bar. Pull the string down and see how far you can get. If the scale reads 8 pounds on a 40 lb line, release the drag until it reads 10-13 lbs, which is the optimal value for a 40 lb line. Make sure it’s consistent by repeating the process a few times. Once you’ve got your drag to the appropriate setting, please don’t touch it again, or you’ll alter it by accident.

Adjusting Your Drag When Fighting A Fish

When you first set your drag, you have a full spool of line on the spool. A large fish may pull half of your spool out, altering the dynamics and requiring you to increase your drag. When a fish has half your line out, you may be at 20-26 lbs if you begin at 10-13 lbs. You’ll need to relax your drag to get to a comfortable range of 10-13 pounds. Otherwise, your line will break.

How To Set Drag On A Spinning Reel?

When battling a fish, a heavy action rod puts more pressure on you, making your drag setting feel more significant than a more curved rod with a medium tip and a slow-bending backbone. Because braided lines do not stretch as much as monofilament, consider this while adjusting your drag.

Your rod acts like a spring under pressure when a fish is on. It has kinetic energy working to its advantage once loaded. With the appropriate action, it works in your favour by exerting pressure on the fish under the reel’s drag. It will take the stress off you and apply it to the fish after it has been bent. Because heavier action rods do not flex like lighter ones when standing up, they can put much strain on a fish, so keep that in mind when adjusting your drag.

You can follow the method below to set your drag correctly:

  • Assemble your fishing rod. Set up your rod and thread the line as though you’re genuinely going to use it. To acquire an accurate reading, make sure to incorporate the line through all of the guidelines.
  • Make a knot in your line and tie it to the scale. You’ll need to fasten it to the end of your digital or spring scale’s hook. When the scale is pulled, keep the line from coming off.
  • Place your rod in a comfortable position. Maintain a 45-degree angle with the rod. Ask your friend to hold your rod or the scale for you. Maintain a vertical scale with the hook and line at the top.
  • Reduce the weight on the scale. Your line will first do nothing except bend down with the weight. The drag should then begin to slip, and the cable should lengthen. Look at the scale and take a measurement as soon as this happens.
  • Make the necessary adjustments to your drag. Examine your pain, determine where it should be positioned, and then tighten or loosen the drag adjustment as needed.

Related post: A Complete Guide To Lindy Rig Fishing (Detailed Guide)

How To Set The Drag On Baitcaster?

The drag mechanism on most baitcaster reels is star-shaped and adjacent to the revolution. Turn right to tighten the drag and left to relax it, much like the other reels.

Suppose you’re using a braided fishing line instead of monofilament. In that case, you’ll want to test the drag by winding it a few times around the handle of your fishing pliers or a pencil rather than using your hands. If you pull too hard on the braid, it will slice clean through your fingertips.


After learning about all the tips for setting your drag on a spinning reel, it is time for you to try them. Just check the resistance and make the appropriate adjustments before going out and catching all types of fish with your specific reel and drag adjuster.

Read more: Best Inshore Spinning Reel (Top 10 Saltwater Reel)