What is the purpose of drag on a fishing reel?

As an artificial angler, a fishing reel is your best bet to haul your catch to the shore. However, the science behind the design of the reel isn’t all about aesthetics. Whether you’re fishing in saltwater or freshwater, drag is an essential aspect of a fishing reel. It might just be a word, but it’s an indispensable mechanism that affects the success of your fishing expedition.

Boat anglers and shore-bound fishing enthusiasts alike rely on the fishing reel’s drag in catching different fish species. Notably, the drag system comprises of a washer stack mechanism that controls the spool’s spinning ability. Such a mechanism influences an angler’s ability to catch larger fish species without breaking the fishing line.

So,? To put it simply, drag manages the force used to pull a fish on the line. As such, it slows down the speed of the spool as the tension rises. Drag is designed to prevent a fish from breaking the line as it tries to swim away with the bait. It also allows the angler to control the force applied on the catch. Without drag on the fishing reel, anglers wouldn’t be able to battle bigger fish species.

The drag system utilizes heat dissipation, and in some cases, mechanical engineering. Its function involves the use of a series of washers that tighten as the angler reels in the catch. The tighter the washers, the harder it is to pull the line from the spool. On the other hand, when the angler slackens the tension, the washers disengage, and the spool moves more freely.

When setting the drag, it’s essential to consider the right amount of tension applicable to the fishing line. For larger fish species like marlin, tuna or sailfish, it’s critical to have a tight drag that will apply maximum pressure when retrieving the catch. For smaller fish, it’s more useful to have a slack drag so that the fish can swim while on the line.

The drag system on a fishing reel plays an essential role in maintaining the integrity of the fishing line as one reels in the catch. Choosing the right drag system for every fishing trip will influence how successful an angler is in catching fish, especially those that weigh more than usual. As such, whether you’re fishing in saltwater or freshwater, understanding the drag system is a vital part of your angling journey.

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