Drag settings - boat vs kayak

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kingiFiddler
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Does the fact we are essentially just a big float that is getting dragged along by the fish, mean we can apply more reel drag than most of us could handle if stuck to a boat if said boat isn't moving?

A mate was saying to me he doesn't think 12kgs is safe from a kayak but he doesn't seem to understand the yak is already moving at a good clip by that stage, we're not standing up, aren't stoopid enough to high-stick it, and the the actual butt of the rod is pretty close to where our centre of gravity is anyway. He doesn't believe we are capable of let alone can put to good use, greater than 12kgs.

I'm not saying 12kgs of reel drag isn't a heap but does anybody else think we can handle more in certain situations?

Personally, I've had a spinning reel cranked up to 12kgs of drag, if not a bit more, and it's a blast when the fish is still peeling line off and the yak is seriously hauling @ss. Didn't feel dangerous. Not sure I'd be happy if the fish was side-on, but being dragged behind it seems fine.
Rabbit
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I think its more than do-able to run 12kg of drag which iv'e done multiple times but I feel it is crucial to keep the rod pointed forward. If you've got the rod hanging out at 90 degrees you are putting yourself at risk. Also more risky using a heavy rod which is stiff as a broomstick much better to have a rod with more curve/flex. I certainly wouldn't want to going over 12kg which is commonly held as the max drag off a yak.

Check out Robert Field videos on You Tube there's a couple of classic scenes of dudes getting tipped over by a big fish but it looks very much like their rods were perpendicular to the kayak, exactly where you don't want it to be.
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kingiFiddler
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I watched a shark drag my neighbour out of his kayak with about 5-6kgs of drag. There are some people who posses an amazing ability to crack a sledgehammer with a nut, if you know what I mean.

In Greg Potter's marlin video he goes to max drag, which in that reel is supposed to be about 20kgs, so in reality maybe more like 17/18? Doesn't look dangerous. Looks fun :-)

Could he do that from a stationary boat, probably not. Perhaps the fact we are actually being dragged along in a kayak means that while the reel is at 18kgs, we are only seeing loads of about 12kgs, the other 6kgs is being used to drag us around in the direction of the load. So what seems a crazy high reel drag setting on a boat is if not perfectly fine then certainly do-able, on a kayak.
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AndrewRawlingson
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It's fun/doable if you're in control of the situation, if not... :sweat:
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kingiFiddler
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It's probably just as well survival dictates most of us kayak fishos are control freaks anyway ;-)

If my marlin reel comes back from my reel guy repaired and I can find a shark somewhere to test higher drags on, it'd be rude not to. Noticed a big one break the surface about 100m ahead of me today, deployed a livie but (fortunately for my kidstix rod and $26.50 plastic reel) it wasn't interested. Didn't really expect to find any out there today.

Looking at the black plastic adjustable foot rests in kermit, I was wondering how much sun they've seen after a few years now, and if they'd be more or less capable of handling high drags than I.
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GregPotter
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Hi, interesting question. I think you can apply the same amount in either or. Often the difference, as you note, is that in a kayak you're able to be towed by the fish. This means less pressure/resistance on the line and drag system when compared to a stationary angler. If the fish decides to go directly down, then you're going to experience less of the 'reduced pressure effect' from being towed, and more of the pressure will be applied to the drag system and line. In this situation you want to keep the rod forward, like Rabbit suggests, to prevent tipping.

While the drag lever was at max toward the end of the fight with the marlin, the drag was only set to maybe half way. I don't have the right scales to set the drag, so I don't know exactly in kg what it was set to, but I'd guess around 10kg. On the day it was all just feel - there was no precision to how much drag I applied. I'm glad I didn't set it higher as this could have lead to the hook pulling. At the end of the fight when the drag couldn't cut it to pull the fish up, I just handlined it in.

Long story short, don't worry too much about the numbers, just go by feel and have fun. Oh, and use an Ugly Stik rod - if those don't snap while high sticking a 94.2kg fish, I don't know what will break them :D
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kingiFiddler
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Thanks Greg. The way you had to lay into it to lift it at the end was impressive.
The day before, do you think that was a shark? I mean the bite leader broke (was it shredded or just broke) but I don't think you were feeling any head shakes, so I dunno. You were giving it a fair bit of curry then too.

Big congrats from me. And a big thanks too. I've learned plenty from those videos. Such as if I ever get a go pro with voice activation, set it up by screaming "go pro start recording" at it at the top of my lungs with adrenaline coursing through the veins, so it will work when it really counts. :-)
Last edited by kingiFiddler on Tue Sep 14, 2021 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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GregPotter
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Thanks mate! I'm still really not sure what it was the day before - your comment made me re-watch the video last night, but I'm still not sure. Whatever it was, it felt a hell of a lot heavier than the marlin I did land. I'm 99% sure it was tail/body wrapped - quite a large section of the leader was scuffed up, and that would explain why the line went slack suddenly before the pressure came back on.

Haha my mates still give me shit about yelling at the GoPro :D glad you enjoy the videos though. I appreciate the support! Cheers
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kingiFiddler
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It seemed like a very big 'I ain't bovvered' species of shark to me. The type that we hope for all we're worth doesn't finally decide to ignite once we get it yak-side. But that's coming from this novice, so a worthless guess.

Was that the 16 or 20 sized reel? For some reason I was thinking 20 but you mentioning 18kgs max drag makes me think maybe it was the 16? If the latter, any concerns with line capacity, either before or after the fight? I was originally looking at the 16 but wondered if I would survive the second or third determined run, if i should be so lucky to be in that position, before being spooled.
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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Once the yak is on its Nantucket Sleighride, I usually kick the drag right up to just south of sunset, with enough leeway in case whatever it is decides to take the gloves off.
Still back it right off to coward mode when the fish is real close to the yak though.
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Dad! Dad! Look at his fish! It's way bigger than anything you've EVER caught! - Nosey 7-8yo boy on opening my icebox to father strapping down his $XXX Stabicraft 759(?) - Gold. Pure Gold.
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Hairy Little Dwarf
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kingiFiddler wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 4:32 pm If my marlin reel comes back from my reel guy repaired and I can find a shark somewhere to test higher drags on, it'd be rude not to.
Rangaunu Harbour bud, massive sport in there in summer. If not the swarms of Bronzies, the XXOS Trevs will test your kit :devil:
Phoenix Hornet - Specialty Assault Craft

Dad! Dad! Look at his fish! It's way bigger than anything you've EVER caught! - Nosey 7-8yo boy on opening my icebox to father strapping down his $XXX Stabicraft 759(?) - Gold. Pure Gold.
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kingiFiddler
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Cheers HLD,

How many kgs is sunset on your reel?
Thanks for the suggestion for training grounds. Had to chuckle the other day - it used be a PITA getting sharked (generally bronzies) when livebaiting for kingies out at McGregor Rock, but out there the other day the mindset has done a 180. They are good training and [insert deity of your choice here] knows I need plenty of that.
Oh, and I am still waiting for the Aucklanders (the ones that couldn't give a fark for anyone but themselves and fled to here when the lockdown was looming or just after, b4 the roadblocks finally, eventually got put in the right place) to far cough home once the lockdown ends before braving a trip to clear the PO box, but certainly looking forward to the pressie. Thanks again mate. Much appreciated.
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GregPotter
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The reel is a 16 - I think it has around 18kg drag. No concerns with line capacity - never took more than 150m (from 350m) of line I'd say. I had enough drag for it to tow me and the kayak without it taking too much line. It stayed pretty high in the water column during the fight too. I would still probably go up a reel size to be on the safe side. Currently have a Penn Fathom 2-speed in their 30 size - it seems to be similar, if not smaller than the Shimano Speedmaster 16. Thinking of going to a Fathom 40, but will see how the 30 fares this summer.
kingiFiddler wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:50 am It seemed like a very big 'I ain't bovvered' species of shark to me. The type that we hope for all we're worth doesn't finally decide to ignite once we get it yak-side. But that's coming from this novice, so a worthless guess.

Was that the 16 or 20 sized reel? For some reason I was thinking 20 but you mentioning 18kgs max drag makes me think maybe it was the 16? If the latter, any concerns with line capacity, either before or after the fight? I was originally looking at the 16 but wondered if I would survive the second or third determined run, if i should be so lucky to be in that position, before being spooled.
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kingiFiddler
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Thanks Greg,

Have been eyeing the single speed 40N Penn Fathom too. It seems like a lot of reel for the price. Also looked at the Poseidon 500R but wish it had a bit more line capacity.

Would be good to be able to load these reels with line and get a good handle on what the drag is like before buying, and also, as I'm learning (as my basket case fin nor marquesa is my first overhead reel, so a steep learning curve for this mouth-breathing neanderthal ) what the drag window is like from just out of freespool to full if the pretension is set to have max drag at sunset. I'd hate to be in the position of trying to back the drag off when a fish gets near or is getting feisty directly under the yak, and there's no or next to no wriggle room with the drag and the lever is backed right up, dangerously close to freespool.

Oh, and for your marlin hunt, did you have a plan B if an assist boat was unavailable? Get some footage, try and get the hook out or cut it off, try and revive it or just hope it was capable of swimming off OK, or knock it on the head, tie it to floats and drag it home like a super big deadbait for a great white, or?
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GregPotter
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I also considered the Fathom FTH40NLD, but 2-speed is essential for fighting very large species from a kayak IMO. 1-speed is fine for kingfish and probably tuna too, but unless you're Arnold Schwarzenegger, you're going to have a VERY difficult time pulling up a marlin or large shark from the depths without a 2-speed. I discovered this on the second day of my trip during the first hour of the fight with whatever that fish was. Spent so long struggling to pull it up on the main gear, and then after switching to low it actually became possible. That's the difference between angling from a boat vs kayak - you have some much more leverage on a boat, whereas on the kayak you can only apply so much pressure, no matter how good you are at balancing.

Re plan B - plan B was get assistance from a boat :D plan A was always to catch and release the marlin if I caught one. When that fish came up it still had plenty of life and I would like to think it would have been an easy release. I was just fortunate that there were some super generous boaties hanging around that weekend who were kind enough to sacrifice their day's fishing to support. I never asked - as soon as they heard me lodge my trip report they offered. Not enough good buggers like that around I reckon :y: oh and there was no way I could have brought it back on the kayak. I think on my Viking I could bring back a 60kg fish max. If you've seen the photos we did with it on my lap, half the kayak is submerged. Which makes sense given its max weight capacity.
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kingiFiddler
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Awesome info, thanks Greg.

In low gear, were you still lifting the rod and winding down or was that just too hard/risky and you instead left it down, supported by the yak/knee/etc and cranked the handle in low gear? If the former, was it just too heavy to get enough load off to crank on the way down, in high gear, even though you could still lift the rod?

The high gear on that reel you used is 5.7:1, low gear 3.1:1, so it's geared pretty high. The gearing on the single-speed fathom 40N is 4.8:1 and on the 2-speed is 5:1 and 2.5:1.

Do you think it would have been better to have the lower geared low gear of the 2-speed fathom in that scenario or were you fine with that low gear of the real you used?

If you were fine with the low gear of that reel you used, do you think you could have been OK with the 4.8:1 gearing instead of that reels high gear of 5.7:1 or would 4.8 not be low enough? I've got no probs with 2-speed reels, but if it's gonna be 2-speed, I wonder if the high gear should be more than 5:1.

I guess another thing to consider is the fathom under consideration is a narrow reel so perhaps the spool is a larger diameter, so if there's not much line in the water, the gearing is going to be high on the reel anyway, and the low gear of 2.5:1 on the fathom might actually feel pretty close to the 3.1:1 on that reel you used. Likewise for the high gears, although being different feeling about the same.

My head hurts. :geek:
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GregPotter
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Pretty sure I was in low gear the whole fight with the marlin. You can see from the video I switched between lift/wind to leg/wind throughout. The day before when I was in high gear I couldn't even get a wind in high gear at times, even when I lifted the rod. You can see for the first half of the video from that day I'm in high gear and really struggling. I remember when I switched to low it was the biggest relief and I was wondering why I hadn't done it sooner.

The low gear on the Speedmaster was fine, so assume the Fathom 2-speed would be fine too. I can't say how the gearing of the single speed Fathom would fare - only one way to find out I guess!
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kingiFiddler
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Cheers Greg,
Was going to wait until the marquesa sold but got the go ahead anyway so just ordered the 2-speed fathom 40N. With a great deal of luck, hopefully I'll find a fish this Summer that puts the granny gear to good use.
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GregPotter
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Awesome. Good luck! If you're heading out wide and want some company flick me a message on Instagram or Facebook.
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kingiFiddler
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Will do, cheers. No set plans yet. Depends on finding a kayak to help me get wide and back. Also fitness but that should sort itself out in a few months.

Unfortunately, I'm no machine like HLD, so there are limits to how far I feel safe ranging in the Hornet bc I get really hucking fopelessly unsafe when too tired. For example, did 8hrs yesterday and fell out within a km from landing bc was fuming at the boats (worst I have ever seen it up here) and made a bad decision to cut in close to the rocks to avoid a boat about 20m in front of me (the same skipper that turned astern of me while I was slow trolling a livie, about 5hrs earlier in the day, breaking my line and not even offering an apology) and I got knocked out by a breaking wave. I'm just not safe and make terrible decisions when that tired.

But if I can get fitter and find a more suitable kayak, I'd be stoked to sort something out and tag along with you or anyone keen.
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