Setting trolling drags dynamically while trolling Lake Ontario is not as hard as it seems. In fact, once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. In this post, we will discuss the technique we use while Lake Ontario fishing on our charter boat the “Ace II“. The benefits of dynamic drag sets will also be touched upon.
Why Set The Drags This Way
A properly set drag trolling Lake Ontario is a must! Too loose, and a fish can spool you. Too tight, and a fish can break you off. Remember this! It’s large fish that break your stuff, not the small ones. Any chink in your armor, and they will show it to you. This goes double for adult Lake Ontario kings. Setting drags dynamicaly while trolling Lake Ontario takes the guess work out of drag setting. It can be done on the fly.
How to Do It
Now that you know the why of setting trolling drags dynamically, let’s get into the how. After letting out the stretch behind the boat with your lure, it’s set into the release clip on the downrigger. We use Black’s releases. It’s then sent down to the desired depth of troll. Now comes the fun part. While the rod is in the rod holder, reel down to load the rod up. You want a good bend in the rod. If the drag is too loose, the reel will slip and not be able to bend the rod down. A too tight drag will bend the rod down for sure, but remember, what happens if the drag is too tight. The drag needs to be set on a loaded rod so that you can still reel, but be able to pull out line from the reel with two fingers. I’ll repeat! Tight enough to reel when loaded but loose enough to pull out with two fingers.
Setting Dipsey Rods
The ideal setting for dipsey divers, especially wire dipseys for kings, is the same. While in the rod holder, you want to be able to reel line in, but still be able to pull line out with two fingers. This is the sweet spot for setting trolling drags dynamically while trolling Lake Ontario. When an adult fish hits, it can take out line on a run with the two finger pull setting. Yet, once it stops its run, line can be reeled in without any further drag adjustment.
Setting Copper Lines
Copper lines wether in the shoot position or on boards are set drag wise exactly the same. You want to be able to reel line in when deployed but still be able to pull line out with two fingers. This is vitally important with board rods when a smaller fish hits and doesn’t release from the planer board line. All too often if the drag is not set tight enough, you won’t be able to reel the line in without having to waste time adjusting it. On the contrary, if the drag is much too tight and a big fish hits, hello break off or hook pulled. There is no need for further drag adjustment when they are set properly for the initial strike. Be advised that later in the battle as the copper reel spool fills, drag tension will need to be increased. But as always, check the drag after every adjustment.
Proper Line Tension
With a dynamically set drag, when a rod goes off all that is left is to fight the fish. With proper line tension, no further initial drag adjustment is neccesary (except for coppers). There is no guess work! The good rod bend on a rigger rod and being able to reel while still in that position ensures the drag is tight enough. Being able to pull out line with two fingers confirms it is lite enough for a big fish to run. One note worth mentioning again when making drag adjustments! Always, and I mean always check the drag by pulling on it after any adjustments no matter how small.
Feel free to check out another post about controlling drag tension with rod bend which works in unison with dynamically set drags.
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