Setting drag: I set the drag so that line can be stripped comfortably. You'll be spending more time stripping line than playing fish off the drag (unfortunately
). You don't want it so loose that a good run will cause the spool to over-run, and create a tangled mess of line around the spool. Trout
will run fast enough to cause that, and even a quick tug while stripping line will cause that to happen with a loose drag. I've tightened the drag on my Ross reels without a problem, although some people don't like doing that.
Getting them on the reel: It depends on how much line you have out. If you have 5 feet of line, fiddling with the reel handle on the initial burst might cause a light tippet to break. I let line run through my fingers while keeping an appropriate amount of tension. With lots of line out, I do a combination of letting line out while reeling in the rest. Letting the line slip through your fingers keeps the fish from breaking off, and spinning the spool get the line back on quickly. I use the largest arbor possible now, and getting line back on the spool takes seconds.
Light tippet: I never really used light tippet a lot until the past year. I've gone to much smaller flies for trout (#18 most common), and 6X tippet. One day
this past May, I caught 7-8 really nice browns and rainbows on a #18 BWO, and caught a few small smallmouth all on the same fly. I had considered re-tying the knot, but the action was too hot to spend 30 seconds.
The last fish I caught that afternoon was a REALLY nice rainbow, and he broke the much abused tippet inches from the net. It's amazing that the tippet hadn't snapped before that, and I've always been one to re-tie every few fish. It's also a good idea to give the fly a tug after tying it on, to test the knot's strength.