2 Ways To Set The Drag On Your Spinning Reel (With & Without A Scale)


If the drag isn’t set correctly on your fishing reel, you could be missing out on fish.

If it’s set too high, a strong run or head shake from a fish could break it because there’s no give.

Also, some fish like trout and snook have thin mouths, and the pressure from the line may rip the hook out of it’s set too high.

On the other hand, if your drag is too light, you could get spooled, or get a weak hook set (which makes it easy for a fish to spit your hook).

So how do you set the drag just right?

In this video, I’ll show you two ways to set it correctly:

  1. With a scale
  2. Without a scale

Check it out below.

How To Set Your Spinning Reel Drag [VIDEO]

Sign up for FREE to receive the latest saltwater fishing videos, tutorials, product reviews, and fishing product discounts!

➡ Click here to join the Insider Club

➡ Click here to get the Daiwa Fuego

Your drag should be set at 20-30% of the breaking strength of your line.

For example, if you’re using 10 lb. line, you should set the scale at 2-3 lbs.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Get a spring scale (like this one from Amazon)
  2. Tie your mainline to the scale
  3. Pull it to measure the force required to engage your drag
  4. Adjust the drag so that it falls between 20-30% of the breaking strength of your line

Now, what if you don’t have a scale?

Well, if you’re using 10 lb. braid, like I am, then take note of how the line pressed into my hand when I pulled on it.

When it was too light, it barely made any indentation, and when it was too heavy, I had to strain and it felt like it was about to cut my hand.

When it was around 2-3 lbs. it made a slight indentation on my hand, so look for that same indentation on your hand when you pull on the line.

If you’re using a different strength line, first, set the drag correctly with a scale, then, take note of how the line looks in your hand and how much pressure it takes to engage the drag.

Moving forward, remembering that pressure will help you set the line pretty accurately when there’s no scale around.


how to fish the flats

Setting your drag correctly is super important, as it could be the difference between landing a fish, or losing a fish.

Have any questions about setting your drag?

Let us know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who needs to learn how to correctly set their drag, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

P.S. Want access to our best fishing spots and tips, plus discounts to our online tackle store? Click here to join us in the Insider Club!

Related articles:

Disclaimer: When you buy through links on our site, we sometimes earn affiliate commission from places like Amazon, Bass Pro, Tackle Warehouse, etc. It’s one more way we can help you quickly find the best deals on the web while making sure we’re still around to serve you for years to come (and you do want us to be around to help you catch fish for many more years, right)?

Related categories:

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Victor Gatell Jr
1 year ago

Hey Wyatt, is there a difference by using the entire rod to apply pressure on the scale? Just like when a fish is on

George Layton
1 year ago

Great info Wyatt, thanks !!!

Roland Courtois
1 year ago

Wyatt, thank you for the useful tip. I was wondering whether the drag setting should be dependent on the fish rather than the lb test of the line : if 3lbs of resistance will put a hole in a snook’s mouth, should you not set your drag at 2 lbs even if you are using 20 lb test line ?

Brandon Waldroup
1 year ago

Great information Wyatt, just to verify I’m using Fuego 2500 reel with 20 lb power pro so I should have my drag set around 5-6 lbs? Is that correct? Lmk please, thank you!

Michael Band
8 months ago

Is indentating a word?

Willie Dickerson
1 month ago

Thanks Wyatt. I been asking for this video. I did not know it was out there.


Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.

Here’s what you’ll receive today when you join:

Other Fishing Tips You May Like :

How To Use A Fishing Net To Land Big Fish [VIDEO]

Sick of losing fish at the boat? Check out this video to see how to use a net to land big fish. There are three things to remember when using a net and...
See Full post

How To Use A Yo-Yo Hand Reel To Catch Inshore Fish [VIDEO]

Do you want to see how you could be catching nice inshore fish (or even your bait fish) with nothing but a "Cuban YoYo" hand reel? Then watch this!
See Full post
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x