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October 26, 2001

Warm Up Your Reels

Erratic pressure caused by sticky drags on trolling reels can cost you fish.

Erratic pressure caused by sticky drags on trolling reels can cost you fish. At the start of the day, warm up reels prior to setting drags in order to detect and avoid problems.
Warming up the reel will smooth out a sticky drag - if the stickiness is caused by moisture on the drag plate. Also, drag settings are more accurate when performed on warmed-up reels. A third benefit: The warm-up procedure can alert you to a problem if an uneven drag doesn't improve, giving you time to haul out a spare reel.
To warm up a reel, set the drag at a point where there's some tension, but you can still pull line out fairly easily. I find a setting of about 8 to 10 pounds works well unless extremely light line is on the reel. One person grabs the swivel or double line and, quickly but smoothly, pulls off about 6 feet. A second person immediately cranks the line back on the reel. Do this over and over for a few minutes. Although minimal, the heat generated dries out any damp spots and smooths the drag unless the reel has more serious problems.
Capt. Darrin Isaacs
Sundowner Sportfishing Charters
Kona, Hawaii
www.biggame.com