Here’s Why Your Drag Is Silent On Your Spinning Reel
Here’s why your spinning reel drag is SILENT.
I like to refer to this as “Ghost Drag”.
This happens when the line is peeling off of the spool but you don’t hear any clicking sound.
Learn why this is happening to you in the video below!!
Why Your Spinning Reel Drag Is Silent [VIDEO]
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Normally you should hear a distinct clicking noise as the line comes off of the reel spool.
In other cases, you may not hear a sound at all or it comes and goes.
There are really two main reasons for this.
The first is if you spooled the braid on your reel without any monofilament backing.
You need something to help secure the braid to the spool.
Because braid is so slick, it will spin freely on the spool by itself if given the ability to do so.
A simple test you can do right at home to confirm this is to lock down the drag and try to pull on the braid.
If you see the entire spool of line itself spinning freely while the spool remains still, that means the braid is not secure to the spool.
You would then have to take that braid off and put monofilament backing or electrical tape on the spool.
The second reason for a “Ghost Drag” is some sort of mechanical issue.
You can check this by taking the spool off the reel.
All spinning reels may look a little different but they function mechanically the same.
When you remove the spool, take a look at the washers on the reel and make sure they are intact.
Flip over the spool and find a small metal mechanism with a point on it.
There is a spring attached to this metal mechanism that, if missing or damaged, can cause your drag to become silent.
That metal piece is ‘floating’ inside the reel and not coming into contact with anything to create the “clicking” noise.
To check if the spring is in place, move the metal mechanism and lift up so it snaps back into place.
If it snaps back into place, the spring is intact and undamaged.
If not, then the spring is broken, missing, or compromised in some way.
Keep in mind, just because the spring is broken or missing does not mean you can’t tighten down the drag.
You will still be able to tighten or loosen the drag but you must pay extra attention to the line coming off of your spool because you won’t be able to hear it.
This has a major impact on how you fish and control the drag throughout the trip.
If you have this issue with your reel, I highly recommend getting it fixed.
However, it does not fully compromise the performance of the reel itself.
It just needs more attention from you while you’re fishing.
If you can’t hear the drag on your spinning reels, perform these simple tests to see if it’s because of a missing or damaged spring.
It might be as simple as you don’t have any backing to secure the line, in which case that’s an easy fix!
I recommend getting this addressed and solved before hitting the water with silent drag!!
What questions come to mind about why your spinning reel drag is silent?
Do you know of any other solutions to this problem?
Please go ahead and share in the comments!!
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Tony, thank you for sharing why a drag isn’t clicking. I have a reel that recently went silent and I wasn’t sure why. I greatly appreciate your insight.
You’re welcome Jerre!
Tony, you kind of touched on my question, but I am hoping for a little more clarification. I just pick up a new reel, and the instruction indicated that the drag should be loosed when stored ( I did not know this). Before your first cast, how do you determine how much drag to apply? Thanks for helping us newbies.
It’s tough to say since it can really depend on numerous variables (line strength, how much line is out on your cast, flexibility of the rod, etc.) It has been trial and error for me as now it’s more of a “that feels about right” haha. If you want to get more specific and get a better feel for it, you can use a digital scale to attach your lure to and pull with the rod. The drag should start engaging at around 20% of the line breaking strength. So if you’re using 10lb braid, the drag should be set to engage when the scale shows around 2lbs of force. Better to keep it set lighter than tighter. You can always use your hand to “palm” the spool to sort of create increased drag without actually tightening down the knob.
Thanks for the tip Tony.
You’re welcome William!
Knew nothing about the drag spring . Thank you for the info. That screaming drag adds to the excitement of catching…gotta have it!!!
You’re welcome Amber!
Good tips Tony!
Never had the issue but thanks for the insight, Tony!
My pleasure James!
I have a Stradic 2500 that I couldn’t hear the clicker. All checked out ok with the spring and clicker metal mechanism. The spool post had 2 line level adjustment washers and I had to remove both until I could hear the clicker – very faint though. I did notice the gear on the shaft that the metal piece rides that makes the clicking does rotate some. Is it supposed to be stable? Anyone have a link to the YouTube hack referenced in the comments that is supposed to make the clicker louder?
I never missed my clicker until I read this post!! Clicker is still very faint with the 2 line leveling washers removed. The only thing I can think is that the plastic gear that the metal clicker is supposed to ride in to make the clicking sound should not rotate. (if the gear was made out of metal, I’m sure the click would be much louder). This plastic gear does rotate pretty freely when turned counterclockwise on the shaft and rotates with a small amount of resistance when turned clockwise. Maybe someone with a Stradic could remove the spool and let me know if that gear should be stable? I’ve found that the set screw holding this in takes a .09 Torx which I don’t have!!
Yes the gear on the shaft does move on mine but no issue with sound. You shouldn’t have to add or remove washers – that is intended for fixing issues with line laying evenly on your spool. Make sure there isn’t any grease or salt build up on the clicker, and even though the clicker may spring right back into place, it could be bent or not aligned properly.
Thanks Tony. All still checks out, so I put the washers back on and reassembled. It now clicks, however very faint. Not sure I would hear it over my screams when I hook a fish! At this point I’ll leave well enough alone.
Thanks for the tip–I just started getting a ghost drag on a relatively new Shimano –When I checked the spring there was some salt around it but it was intact. With a little cleaning and some reel oil, all is working fine for now. Love your videos. Keep ’em coming. Peace
You’re welcome Paul! Yep any buildup on the clicker can cause some issues as well.
On some reels the sprocket that the spring and metal point come into contact with comes off very easily. (Pfluegers come to mind) that could also be missing. When I worked in a tackle shop I saw that quite often.
Ah yes. I had an issue with a pflueger a while back as well!
Thanks Tony great information
You’re welcome Bobby!