Drag is measured in pounds. The tighter you set the drag, the more resistance the fish feels.
You want to set the drag tight enough that it tires out the fish when you fight it, but not so tight that the line breaks under stress.
The most accurate procedure for setting the drag on your reel requires a scale.
You can use a spring scale:
The drag should be set to 25% of the breaking strength of the line you are using. The breaking strength is the line’s pound test, which should be clearly labeled on the package and spool.
test strength ÷ 4 = correct drag setting
For example, if you are using 8lb test line, the correct drag setting should be 2lbs.
8 ÷ 4 = 2lb
How do I set the drag on my reel?
- Assemble your rod and attach the reel. Thread the line through all the guides from the butt to the tip top.
- Tie the line to the hook of the scale.
- Hold the rod at a 45° angle.
- Pull down on the scale. Take a reading on the scale the moment the drag begins to slip.
The scale method is the most accurate way to set your drag. You can try to set the drag by feel, many people do. But many of these anglers have their drag set too tight and too tight equals lost fish.