Drag setting for Surface Irons?

Bchbum54

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Oct 27, 2008
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Bayron
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Just curious how much drag do you normally set when throwing surface irons (let's say 40lb line)?

Was on a trip to the Coronado Islands Tuesday and I hung a nice size yellow on the iron. I was fishing a 909FX cousins rod and a komodo 471P spooled with 65lb braid and 40lb short fluoro topshot. I set my drag at 13lb off the top of reel. Earlier in the day I failed to turn a yellow and got rocked. Then later on I hooked one that wrapped itself on the anchor so the deckhand (great hard working guys) took over and thumbed the sh!t out of my spool to get it out. I was almost certain that he was going to bust me off but he was confident in his method and it paid off in the end. I mean he clamped down on that reel spool hard and manhandled that yellow out. So I'm thinking if I had fished with a tighter drag I might have been able to gain the upper hand on that earlier yellow which brings me to my question. How tight do you set your drags on 40lb line?

By the way, I woke up sore as heck the next morning. I didn't feel too tired and was quite comfortable slinging that jig all day but man did I feel it the next day.
 
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Bchbum54

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Oct 27, 2008
90
82
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Bayron
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I Wish I had 1
On a side note, I really enjoyed the komodo 471P. I originally had the gen 1 Lexa 400P paired on this rod and then the new Lexa 400P winn version. No issues with the Lexas but in comparing Lexa and Komodo, Komodo feels a lot stronger and feels like better cranking power. Just felt like a tank in my hand. I do have an issue with the dang clicker though. Every time I got bit and clamped my grip down on the reel my palm would activate the clicker. Was a real pain and I lost 1 presumed yellow and a couple bones because I stopped my retrieve during the fight to turn off the clicker. Lexa has a better finish coating, after only 1 trip the komodo coating is chipping. Both my Lexas still look great after multiple trips. Lexa also cast a bit further, maybe 3 or 5 feet but not enough for me to want to switch out the komodo going forward.
 
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jiggermyster

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Dec 12, 2003
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Just curious how much drag do you normally set when throwing surface irons (let's say 40lb line)?

Was on a trip to the Coronado Islands Tuesday and I hung a nice size yellow on the iron. I was fishing a 909FX cousins rod and a komodo 471P spooled with 65lb braid and 40lb short fluoro topshot. I set my drag at 13lb off the top of reel. Earlier in the day I failed to turn a yellow and got rocked. Then later on I hooked one that wrapped itself on the anchor so the deckhand (great hard working guys) took over and thumbed the sh!t out of my spool to get it out. I was almost certain that he was going to bust me off but he was confident in his method and it paid off in the end. I mean he clamped down on that reel spool hard and manhandled that yellow out. So I'm thinking if I had fished with a tighter drag I might have been able to gain the upper hand on that earlier yellow which brings me to my question. How tight do you set your drags on 40lb line?

By the way, I woke up sore as heck the next morning. I didn't feel too tired and was quite comfortable slinging that jig all day but man did I feel it the next day.
It's all about how much you trust your connections and knots, and what the whole stack actually breaks at.
Technique matters too. Many folks switch from grinding to fighting, soon as they get bit. Those few seconds lets the fish get its head turned.
 
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Mr. DRE

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  • Sep 23, 2019
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    That's about right for surface iron I'm usually between 12-15 lbs. The problem with fishing near the rocks is those YT are smart and dive straight down. Although it is normally bad advise if you feel like the YT is going straight down you have to do what you can to get that head turned around and that often is putting extra pressure on the line. Your chances are better by increasing drag as opposed to the rocks.
     

    Ratshirt

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    Mar 25, 2007
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    Old school here and I always fished my jigs with the drag buttoned down to the point where I had to use my dykes to get it bottomed out. Fished 40 pound on a Newell 447 and I murdered plenty of yellows at the islands. All we had back then was mono. Seldom broke off a fish, can't remember losing any jigs and can't recall getting rocked.
     

    bullyo

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    Aug 5, 2005
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    I have lost jigs before I knew I was bit! Got rocked on the sink at Tanner.

    Part of the reason I believe in the 1/3rd rule to set your drag is because when you have 200 yards of line out in the water, the water pressure on the line increases the amount of drag/stress on your line/knot/connections

    When iron fishing, you rarely have more than 100 yards of line out there. So you can easily increase the amount of drag past the 1/3rd of your mono without risking breaking your line (solely to line strength).

    When fishing 50lb for yellowtail or tuna, I always use 20-22lbs of drag. More if fishing for them zebra wahoo bastards.

    YT are among the smartest fish we face out here on the west coast and no matter what you do, you cant avoid be rocked (cornholed) by them. I think I remember more of the fish that kicked my butt versus the ones I was able to get to gaff
     

    jiggermyster

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    YT are among the smartest fish we face out here on the west coast and no matter what you do, you cant avoid be rocked (cornholed) by them. I think I remember more of the fish that kicked my butt versus the ones I was able to get to gaff
    Oldtimers remember the stories that YT will actually rub their face on the rocks to try and dislodge that thing that's irritating them.

    Down at the ridge one year, I hung another one on the jig. Had to pause for a minute to sort out a wrap with another angler... long enough for the fish to get to the rocks.

    After he busted me off, my line came back with the last foot frayed and nicked. I know it was the end of the line because there was a frayed pigtail at the tip.
     
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    jiggermyster

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    Old school here and I always fished my jigs with the drag buttoned down to the point where I had to use my dykes to get it bottomed out. Fished 40 pound on a Newell 447 and I murdered plenty of yellows at the islands. All we had back then was mono. Seldom broke off a fish, can't remember losing any jigs and can't recall getting rocked.
    Medium size YT's can't pull hard enough to straight up break 40.
    (Knots and connections are another story)
     
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    Ratshirt

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    Medium size YT's can't pull hard enough to straight up break 40.
    (Knots and connections are another story)
    I made it a habit to change line frequently back then since I knew I was going to use every ounce of line strength to brute force the fish. I trusted my knots and usually got bit on the grind on the surface so didn't have lots of line out for the fish to rock me with. Yo Yo-ing was another story. I would use 50 pound for that because I knew I risked getting rocked. South Coronado island was always good to me.
    I can't be the only one who remembers pink Ande.
    540 Sabre full length was how we rolled back then.
     
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    jiggermyster

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    I made it a habit to change line frequently back then since I knew I was going to use every ounce of line strength to brute force the fish. I trusted my knots and usually got bit on the grind on the surface so didn't have lots of line out for the fish to rock me with. Yo Yo-ing was another story. I would use 50 pound for that because I knew I risked getting rocked. South Coronado island was always good to me.
    I can't be the only one who remembers pink Ande.
    540 Sabre full length was how we rolled back then.
    When mono fails as it's stretched to its limit, segments of it yield first.
    Areas where the line is minutely weaker through variation in diameter or initial hardness stretch more.
    The break happens when one of those segments fail.
    The line around the break will be stiff, hard, and kinky.

    One of my favorite (humblebrag) stories:
    Yoyoing down at the Rocks. Straight 50# Izor on my Newell 533 5.5... buttoned down.
    When I got bit I left the rod on the rail and put my shoulder to the crank.
    Most fish came right to the boat.
    Over my shoulder I hear Brian from up on the sun deck.
    "You're straight winding those fish!?"

    The one in my profile pic (49.9 back at the dock) didn't come straight to the boat.
    The line was toast. So stiff and kinked it would almost stand out straight when held sideways.
     
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    Depresfish

    Electric Fly Hunter
  • Apr 16, 2018
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    As mentioned, 1/3 rule for drag. 13-lbs of drag should be more than enough especially for the Coronado grade fish. Just gotta use that drag, give the heat to them and break their will. It can take a pretty conscious effort to do that on the "bass gear" low profile reel combos.

    Give em the heat and you shouldn't really face any issues with >20lb. fish that are biting on the surface with 13lbs of drag
     
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    gettingbentwithbo

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    Mar 7, 2009
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    I am not an expert never claimed to be. But what I do and has worked for me is I will tighten my drag to the point where I have to put some muscle into pulling drag. This seems to work good for me as when the fish takes a hit at it seems to hook itself most of the time, but not to tight to where the line breaks.
     
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    SaltH20Angler

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    I know a couple guys...
    Gotta find the sweet spot with your specific factors... If you're not sure you've found it, just err on your preference between avoiding a pulled hook or getting rocked in case you get lucky enough to get bit by an island donkey.

    All I know it that when I get busted off, it better not be a squiggly pigtail... no excuse for a bad knot. Pisses me off cuz it's totally avoidable, just need to pay attention when tying it.

    Seems my knots get shittier the more wide open it gets. 🤪
     
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