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  1. #1

    Default Drag on a fly reel

    OK, I am totally new to fly fishing so please forgive this question. I'm a bit confused about how drag works on a fly reel. I know from my spinning reels and baitcasters how it works as the reel will release line even when reeling in depending on how the drag is set. I'm not seeing this with a fly reel though. If you are reeling it in, no matter how the drag is set it will not release line. The only way that I can see the drag working is if you are simply not holding the crank (handle?). The crank and reel are locked in at 1:1 so no matter what that stays the same.

    It's almost like my old Ambassadeur 5000C, if you want to give the fish some line you simply crank in reverse. Am I missing something regarding drag on a fly reel?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Drag on a fly reel

    When a fish pulls hard enough to pull drag, you just let go of the reel and let the fish pull line out.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Drag on a fly reel

    I'll use Sage reels as an example.

    Their reel drag knobs are numbered 1-10. Setting 1 is pretty much letting the fish have line at his will. Setting 10 will stop the fish or snap your tippet because the drag stops the reel from spinning, or almost stops it.

    There is also a click and pawl style reel. Same principals, but there is not a drag to engage. The reels lightest setting is like free spooling and the tightest setting is still letting line from the reel, no stopping power like a disc drag reel. People use their hand as their drag called palming the reel.

    I usually keep my drag setting maybe on 4 or 5 setting and control the line with my trigger finger.

    Hope that helps
    Randy
    “Fishing for me, as funny as it sounds, is sorta my brand of praying almost. I’m never closer to my spirituality than when I’m in the act of fishing.” - JT Van Zandt

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  6. Default Re: Drag on a fly reel

    there are many designs and set ups i use drag free reels with external spools and palm it (useing the palm of your hand as drag on the spool) but there are many with adjustable drag and sealed drags and i have a white water and an orvis with switches or toggels that either lock the drag to only reel in or set drag on out goin line or free spin. shop around around do some research and visit your local shop you will find what suits you ... also palming not recomended for beginners

    i think the 5000c is a free spooling reel if it dosnt turn free it should be taken apart and cleaned

    Sent from my SCH-S720C using Tapatalk 2

  7. #5

    Default Re: Drag on a fly reel

    My reel is a Grey G2, not sure what style drag that has. From what I hear then the drag only comes into play when I actually release the handle on the reel. If I want to add to the drag I can palm the spool helping to slow it down. But as long as I have a hand on the actual handle the drag will not come into play, unlike a spinning reel or most baitcasters.

    This question is coming from someone that has only used a fly rod to jerk bluegill out of the water and that was 20 years ago. I've never 'properly' caught a fish with one.

    And yes, my old 5000C is free spinning. The only 'drag' is my letting go of the handle or winding backwards to let the fish run.

  8. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Drag on a fly reel

    Quote Originally Posted by spinsheet View Post
    I know from my spinning reels and baitcasters how it works as the reel will release line even when reeling in depending on how the drag is set. I'm not seeing this with a fly reel though.
    There are fly reels that do it the same way, they are called Anti-reverse reels. If you don't have an anti-reverse reel you need to know when to let loose of the reel handle. In a spinning rod, if you keep reeling while a fish is ripping line off, you end up twisting the heck out of the line, so I assume you know when to stop reeling with a spinning reel. It's the same with a fly rod. When you should stop reeling with a spinning reel is the same time you should let go of the handle.

    Quote Originally Posted by spinsheet View Post
    If you are you are reeling it in, no matter how the drag is set it will not release line. The only way that I can see the drag working is if you are simply not holding the crank (handle?). The crank and reel are locked in at 1:1 so no matter what that stays the same.
    Correct. Not much I can add to that, you have it nailed down. Unless like I said, you get and anti-reverse fly reel, then you can hold it and the drag will feed line out without the handle flying around and beating your knuckles.

    Quote Originally Posted by spinsheet View Post
    It's almost like my old Ambassadeur 5000C, if you want to give the fish some line you simply crank in reverse. Am I missing something regarding drag on a fly reel?
    You can back reel if you think it's a good idea, but the best thing to do is set the drag right to begin with (I go 1/4-1/3 of the tippet strength on a straight pull, and then when a fish runs, get my reeling hand out of the way. When a fish gets way out keep in mind the drag gets harder, bending the rod more increases the drag on the fish, so you will want to point the rod more at a fish that has you way out of the reel.

    Back to that how I set the drag thing. A lot of people just go "Oh, this feels about right" and start fishing. You can do that and get away with a lot of times, but when you get a really big fast fish one of these days, it may bite you in the rear end. Set it right, get you hand out of the way, pay attention to how far away it's getting.

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  10. #7
    okuma Guest

    Default Re: Drag on a fly reel

    Kinda along with all this, keep in mind, the more a fish runs, the hotter your drag system will become. Thus increasing the drag pressure. Like my friend Dan says, make sure you keep your hand clear of the reel knob on a run. You may also control the line escaping by added pressure of the line against the cork handle with the hand opposite reeling.

  11. #8

    Default Re: Drag on a fly reel

    This actually clears it up perfectly for me. I really need to get out there and fly fish with someone that knows what they're doing. I think that would save me the effort of about 1000 posts

    Thanks everyone for the insight.

  12. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Drag on a fly reel

    The drag is also negligible depending on what you're fishing for, and even how you fish to some extent. Certain fish will rarely make runs great enough to put you on your reel.

    I primarily fish for largemouth and my reel does little more than hold my line. I am able to play the fish entirely by holding the line in my left hand and letting out excess stripped line if the fish begins the pull.

    Some people like to use the reel regardless of their target species, and take the time to reel in all slack and stripped line before they begin playing a fish.

  13. #10

    Default Re: Drag on a fly reel

    That was another question that I had! When do you reel in a fish and when do you just pull in the stripped line? I guess it's all a matter of the size of the fish and personal preference?

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