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spinning reel drags
Post 01 Apr 2020, 22:04 • #1 
Sport
Joined: 10/17/14
Posts: 59
Location: US-PA
The thread on the Alcedo got me thinking about my own reel, that needs a bit of service I suppose I'll get to next week. One thing about this reel is that it has the flat-out best drag of any reel I've ever owned, I honestly don't think it can be improved on.

Anyways, I was wondering what other folks thought about drags on other reels, or ways to improve them. With fishing season upon us, this seems timely.

Tim


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Re: spinning reel drags
Post 01 Apr 2020, 22:27 • #2 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 17467
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
it's really hard to beat felt drags in that 1-2-lb range, but they do have a finite life.
Having tied into some larger fish on larger spinning reels with 4-lb and greater drag that still ran out 100 yards (e.g., the mackerel that killed my Mitchell 300 as a teenager), that's where carbon drags come in - and stay.


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 02 Apr 2020, 05:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: spinning reel drags
Post 01 Apr 2020, 23:16 • #3 
Master Guide
Joined: 01/14/06
Posts: 669
Location: US-CA
I'm just putting together a spinning rod for popping tuna. Have an old penn 750ss that I am trying to make work. Ordered new carbon discs for it and it seems better but spinning reel drags have come a long way. Much larger drag surface areas now. Quite a bit smoother as well. I have a couple modern shimano stradics and the drag is just super smooth and has a huge range. Even the lower end of the quality reels seem to have a much better drag. I am in the process of swapping out the drag discs to carbon in quite a few of my older reels.


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Re: spinning reel drags
Post 02 Apr 2020, 06:26 • #4 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 17467
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Russell, as I've talked about when lauding the Stradic, the spindle has to be stiff enough for using Big Drag, or else you end up with a reverse cone line lay from spindle deflection; in use this becomes a permanent condition by conical wear in bushings (end of my Penn).
Likewise, the torsion through the spindle moment arm becomes really huge contact stress on the internal drive parts, changing the shape of the gear teeth and resulting in even greater free-play and impact (where my Mitchell ended).

So on that Penn, et.al., use the carbon drag for smoothness and lack of fade - don't use it for its max capacity. Of course the Penn is a big offshore reel - just think about your line/drag target and set the drag no more than 1/4 of the line test, or in this case, 1/4 of the reported mono strength for the Penn. (Likewise, to protect light rods, set the drag for 1/4 rod max line if you're over-lining with modern braid)

I have my venerable Salter spring balance for setting drag at home, and bring this along in my gear sailcloth bag for salt trips.
(used to be in my display curio, but way too useful to stay there)
Image


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 03 Apr 2020, 05:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: spinning reel drags
Post 02 Apr 2020, 10:01 • #5 
Master Guide
Joined: 01/14/06
Posts: 669
Location: US-CA
We'll see how the Penn holds up. Won't be using it enough to justify the new saragosa, but it might have to happen. I bought the carbon washers in thoughts of not burning up more than any added drag pressure. The other carbon washers I bought are for older level wind reels I use in the salt. Added smoothness and better range. Greased the washers with cals grease as recommended by others.


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Re: spinning reel drags
Post 02 Apr 2020, 10:31 • #6 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 17467
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Penn 750 is a great reel - just follow my algorithm for setting drag with it - you probably would never need more than 7 or 8 lbs drag.

Russell, you and I go way back swapping great rods - would never insult your good taste, just wanted to arm you.


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 03 Apr 2020, 05:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: spinning reel drags
Post 02 Apr 2020, 14:25 • #7 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 07/11/14
Posts: 1405
Location: urban Colorado
best light reel drag I know is still the old Mitchell 308. Somehow those two washers, one large fiber and one larger spring, provide a wide range of adjustability and smooth drag at all settings.. caught 25lb catfish, 20lb carp, and a couple leervis in the salt on this reel, all of those went over 100yds fast..

The DAM Quick 110 uses a similar system, large washers but not many of them, to provide excellent drag.

Orvis 50A is frankly mediocre, relying on a coil spring which seems to get old and permanently compressed quite easily, a drag retention push-fit circlip which is impossible to remove, and a couple of small washers. The 150S has a much better system with more and larger washers but still has that silly spring at the bottom. I found a newish spare spool for mine, with a fresh spring it's pretty good.

Shakespeare 2052 drag is well overbuilt for a light reel, think it would stand up to lots of big fish. Impressive.

Weirdest drag system I know is the JW Young Ambidex. What it should look like, courtesy of the kind folks at traditionalfisherman.com,



What mine looked like,





The fiber washer at the bottom was missing, also the spring/split washer. All the split washers I could find were 0.065". A washer for a 1/4" bolt should work, but couldn't find a thinner split washer.
Tried a couple of curved washers from McMaster, sort of work but still not much adjustability.
Lots of fiber washers lying around the workbench so that was easy. On the bench this works better than expected, still need to tie it to a big carp and see how it holds up.

One nice feature is once assembled the entire drag system is inside the retaining nut, stays clean and out of the way.

In the heavier reels the new stuff really is much much better.. sealed or semi-sealed, drag washers above and below the spool, carbon fiber washers etc. But that's not necessary for the kind of fish I get to deal with..


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Re: spinning reel drags
Post 02 Apr 2020, 21:40 • #8 
Sport
Joined: 10/17/14
Posts: 59
Location: US-PA
I have 4# Trilene on my micron, I've had the drag tightened just below breaking with it on one fish, spent 45 minutes fighting, didn't let me down. The washers don't last forever, like you said, but its easy enough to punch out new ones from a sheet of felt. Unlike you, I haven't had any long running fish on it, if I can bring myself to do it, I may try using it for carp this summer to give it a workout.

I don't fish with anything made after the early 80's, so I don't have any experience with new stuff, but I have fitted my old Ambassadeurs with carbon washers and Cals drag grease. That's a really good drag, especially compared to the original, but its just not as smooth as felt.

I have a Shakespeare 2052, I think I'm going to try fitting felt washers to one of its spare spools, see how that is.

Tim


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Re: spinning reel drags
Post 03 Apr 2020, 00:28 • #9 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 17467
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
What you get with new reels is amazingly micro-fine drag adjustments. I set drags using my spring balance, and it takes 3 or more full 360 turns to increase the drag by 1/4 lb.
And especially on the good reels, those 360 degrees are pushing 100 detente clicks. It's not fair throwing out my Vanquish with its felt drag - the all-time engineered UL reel - but even $45 and $95 Ticas, $40 Okumas, $70 Sahara or Legalis, etc.,have wonderful fine drag adjustment and fade-proof drags. The other thing you gain with new reels is computer design to reduce (or eliminate) free play in the drive mechanisms and the engineering mechanics eliminating all the really bad stuff such as spool deflection and gear overload (brinnelling) over a wide real-world working range.

I've fished through some really fine reels, pushing them beyond their limits, Mitchells, Penns, and what's being made now has decades mitigating the inherent problems of the complex spinning reel mechanism.
Again, Hardy's 1932 patent was the space shuttle of fishing reels. A lot of people copied the ideas, but it wasn't until the past two decades they truly got empirical with the issues.
It's one thing to put double-digit drag load on a spool using carbon washers, but it's something else to lever it into the drive gears, and design a reel to stand up to it.

Just this winter I've been in a situation where big fish were sipping tiny bait, and the feel of UL made all the difference in being able to catch them. With that, it's nice to know I'm not fishing through the reel to land them.


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