Keep in mind that this is the initial drag setting; you can make adjustments up or down during the fish fight. Use the painted star point as a reference; small adjustments of the star make a big difference. Use caution. After fighting a hard-running fish, this initial drag setting will change somewhat; it will loosen with wear, and a scale check might be in order.
Proper drag care also requires that, at the end of the fishing day, you rinse your reels with a mist of fresh water, not a high-pressure stream. This misting should be done with the drag still set to prevent moisture from entering the drag. After rinsing and drying with a soft cloth, then and only then, back off the drag until the drag washers have just a bit of compression on them; then engage the clicker. This prevents the soft drag washers from warping, which could cause them to stick on your next big fish.
All this costs you is some effort, a little time and a dab of paint, but you'll be utilizing all the advantages of a star-drag reel and gaining more control over the fight.
Fill 'Em Up
One way to diminish the change in drag on a long-running fish is to reduce the rate at which the spool empties, to keep the "lever arm" as long as possible. I do this by filling my reels completely with braided line. The small-diameter braid - 100-pound-test is the same diameter as 20-pound mono - helps maintain the spooled-line diameter. This not only benefits drag performance, but lets me cast farther and get more line back on the retrieve per turn of the reel handle.
About the Author: Patrick Lemire is a native of Galveston, Texas, who has fished the Gulf of Mexico for more than 50 years. He has written widely on Gulf fishing methods and strategies and is a state and IGFA record holder. Currently, he is a department editor for Gulf Coast Fisherman.