playing a tuna, drag settings (I love old star drags)


Jul 19, 2020
san diego
I get a general consensus that, as far as star drag fishing goes, playing with -my own- drag is a very taboo thing... almost as bad as bringing a banana on the boat. I have personally never held up a drift with a fish that refused to come in because my tackle was simply not up to the task, neither have I -ever- lost a fish in a "zing-pop" scenario. I have setups for every scenario from norcal salmon to lings and socal tuna and calicos all the way through... I know how to use the damn things, and well enough that I deck hand up in the sac river. I'm just curious as to why it is such a norm to absolutely winch on smaller fish and get it on the boat so fast just to get my line back in the water when I am in socal, but when it comes to the cows nobody cares how long a fight is. I guess it's the classic game of numbers, but I will say that I really don't care how many fish i tug, so long as I get a good fight each trip. I personally like to chill out.

>This isn't to say i'm fishing with a feather of weight on my drag, but I will say that I do not like to tighten my drag way up until a tuna is circling. I grease my drags purely so that if any fish spooks like a horse and starts kicking, I won't ever snap off, not to mention that I just prefer the feel of a buttery star drag over the feel of a stout lever drag just because lighter drag settings are just easier on my body. in socal I fish a penn senator 4/0 with 425 yards of 65 # p/pro and another 120 of 60# mono on top paired with a stiff 8 foot graphite wist coast style rod, a jigmaster with 40# mono to the core on a parabolic 7 foot stick, a daiwa saltist 50h with 30# fluoro on a springy 8 foot fibreglass rod, and an avet sxj with 20 to 30# mono on a graftech 20-30# inshore. I tried a fathom lever drag rental rod and could not stand the way that it payed out line.

> I am aware of the fact that drag does increase as spool diameter decreases, and that is the main point behind my reasoning in fishing setups with more delicate drags, because by the time my spool is half empty I'm already outputting more than enough drag to stop what i've got on the line. not to mention that if a fish is spiraling and I need to instantaneously add more drag to a full spool of line, I can always thumb the reel on the swing up before I reel on the way down. I fish the heaviest lines that my setups will take because that means that if i take my setups to their own respective extremes, I'll never be out-classing my line, and therefore never snapping off.

> Am I doing something wrong here? This is america after all, so I'm just fishing what I want to. It's not a cost thing either, I'd be all lever dragged out with new age type stuff if I actually liked it, trust me. If I fish what I fish and never ever cause any issues for anyone, does this just boil down to the fact that I look like a total noob when I get up to the dock with what most people consider to be outdated tech and keep it simple by explaining that I just like the drags on them?,

> let me know!
Upvote 0

swami 805

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Mar 9, 2016
sunk it
Run whatcha brung! Now days you can upgrade a 4/0 to get as much usable drag as you can use, 30lbs no problem without the reel grenading. That said by the time you pay for it all you could buy the latest and greatest. If spinning reels are acceptable now anything goes. Tricked out zebco?
  • Haha
Reactions: pacificscout
Upvote 0


I Should Upgrade My Account
Nov 20, 2011
Chuck Mc
@bladee... I'm much the same as you! I know that the newer stuff is technically better. I just haven't embraced it fully. At some point, I'll probably break down and get a Fathom. With that said, my friend @Corndog has some very nice stuff I will borrow. Some of it I sold to him. 🤣
I do have some composite blanks to build out as well as a bunch of old school glass, both E, and S glass. Not enough working space in my current living situation to build them. Not to mention there isn't a great need to have them in Denver. hahaha.

Like Swami805 said, run what ya bring! 👍
Upvote 0


Apr 2, 2007
la mesa ca
mike de vito
20ft nitro
to answer your question about bring in a smaller fish quickly. They usually run in schools and the captain wants the school at the boat. If you bring the fish with the school to the boat than more anglers have the opportunity to hook a fish. large fish you can not just turn and burn to the boat it is not going to happen I have had them charge the boat and was happy they did. I started fishing tuna in the Hudson Canyon and the Mudhole back in the 70s. We used Penn senators single speed with star drags. We used to get the job done. Cheers
  • Like
Reactions: pacificscout
Upvote 0