How to Adjust Brake in Fishing Reels

| Last Updated June 13, 2021

No one can be a pro fisherman if the reel he or she use does not respond as it should be.

And that’s why one of the most valuable tools in the fishing reel is the brake. Indeed, the correct calibration of braking the reel is one of the crucial points that can make the difference between achieving or not achieving in a day of recreational fishing.

How to know that your reel is properly adjusted? Read this post carefully what we told then, we are sure that will be helpful for you.

Utility Brake

Including brake on the reels is a relatively recent development in the fishing industry.

Until its creation, fishers had to depend only on parts that they could control their physical strength. Before he turned or allowed to rotate the coil in the opposite direction; a method indeed posed imprecise and lots of broken lines.

There comes the braking technology with the possibility of obtaining catches easier way.

The brake connected on the coil help extending or pulling the line when needed.

As we know, each line has a nominal resistance, i.e. a deadweight capacity that can load without breaking. If comes close to the point of breaking, the brake will stop it.

Types of Brakes in Spinning Reel

These are the reels launched with excellence. They have great pulling power, making them highly suitable for catching medium-sized species. Spooling is fixed because they remain stable while we drop or pick up the line. What about the load?

The higher the load, the more likely we make a longer haul.

Within the fixed spool reels, depending on the model in question, there are two different types of drags in spinning reel:

Front Drag

With a disc in the front of the coil, which is tightening or loosening the front rotating knob.

Rear Drag

Has a knob on the back, which fits in both directions for adjusting the reel.

The front brakes are controlled by a knob that moves in a rotation.

Many fishermen choose these as reliable for fixed reels. Though front drag brakes are usually heated quickly since the friction surface is small.

The rear brake is more precise, with the advantage that can be manipulated while the fishing action occurs. Many fishermen think it also reliable.

In the market, there is another type of brake appeared for these reels which is trying to unite the qualities of the other two types of brake. That’s adding greater braking capacity; and also thanks to the increase in size.

Types of Brakes in Motor Reel

These are rotating reels as the drum rotates and pick up the line coil. These are the perfect for capturing large species.

Also here we can see two different models:

Brake Star

Star-shaped piece placed on one side of the spool, under the handle. Adjustable by turning in the direction of clockwise and loosened by doing the opposite.

Ideal for surf-casting, allowing fully release the coil at the time of launch.

It is a braking system that impinges directly on the release button of the coil so that the brake. That is disengaged completely allowing the free rotation of the coil without pressure on the brake. That is good for distance hauls.

Despite that, only the problem with these are the difficulty of handling during the fight with a fish.

It has a very low friction surface, which tends to overheat (which leads to a mismatch in the brake).

For the same placement, brake exerts pressure on the coil is not regular. For that reason, the fluctuations are generated that they can lead to breakage.

Brake Lever

Lever positioned on the side of the spool.

This type of brake is reliable and efficient of all since it never allows the coil to release 100%. But in addition to this and main virtue are; that can increase or decrease precisely and gradually the brake tension during combat. Also manage safely and comprehensively in a controlled way.

However, many desirous use the brake star, due to complications involving the use of lever

Brake Calibration

To properly regulate a brake at first you must consider the resistance of the line. Be very careful to find the diameter about the strength of the line. Nowadays fishing lines manufacturing by different companies offers a different strength.

During fishing, the fishing line will undergo a lot of pushing and traction, which can reach break to avoid the brake. The question arises how do you know when you should start to skid brake ?

Experts suggest that when we have a line whose resistance is 30 kilos, the brake must skate when the tug reaches a strength of 10 kilos.

If they do not do so, we run the serious risk that split the line.

Therefore to calibrate a brake, it is essential to measure the force that is a strong push. Dynamometer scales is used to gauge the weight of catch

Once you have this scale, for calibration you must follow the following steps:

  1. Mount the reel on the rod that you will use. This is crucial.
  2. Always install the gauge in the final reel carrying equipment since the characteristics of the cane significantly alter the force that is transmitted in each case to the line.
  3. Once mounted reel, pass the line through the guides and fixity cane (ask collaboration to a partner).
  4. Set the reel by hand, consider calibrating according to the eye.
  5. Place the scale on the end of the line, provided with a plastic ring that will help us to measure the peak to reach the scale that when demos jerk.
  6. A strong pull with the rod and check the peak reached by the scale.
  7. Calibrate the brake not exceeding the plastic ring the desired maximum power.
  8. Repeat several times, until the brake slip at the power you want (1/3 of the line resistance).

Adjustment of the Brake for the Fight

Another major problem in calibrating the brake is to use during the fight. Indeed, a fish has taken the bait will not be left out peacefully. But to oppose all possible fight to avoid capture, violent head movements, spins, races – it is essential to know the correct way to use the brake. It will help you best catches along the way. Indeed, water has a certain weight that is exerted on the line when it penetrates. It’s certainly is an added burden for the line to be the break for movement.

To stop it this, we must add a point so to prevent water not exerting on the line.

Added to the weight of the line means that the more we have in the water line, the greater the burden that receives all of it.

It is, therefore, necessary to adjust the brake calibration.

Therefore sometimes be a need to reach even a quarter of the nominal line resistance.

Thus, as we have less line on the spool, the braking must decrease rather than increase, to prevent rupture.

We note below the golden rules to take into account in the fight against the piece:

  • As the fish pull line from the reel, do not adjust the brake, on the contrary. Thus we reduce the resistance.
  • Only when check that the fish is exhausted proceed to adjust the brake.
  • Will increase the brake only in those cases where the fish is found fighting in the vertical and not towards the horizon . If we increase the pressure and the fish jumps, the weight of the fish will cause water line break.
  • We will monitor the heating coil (especially in those cases where the prey is large)
  • If the spool overheats take cold water.

Caring of the Brake

Consider the following tips to keep your reel brake in perfect condition.

The first and most important point to consider in the care of the brake is storage. When we maintain the reel, we must ensure that we do totally free brake (on the reels spinning, will loosen the brake completely).

Avoid overheating of the brake. As already mentioned, this heating can be certainly usual when we are in full fight with a fish. In those cases should cool the reel with water, but not in its central part (not serve us any good), but on the side.

As we know the salt water, you can damage the reel, but it’s better to get to this warming.

After a big fight to get a fish, there should be a thorough cleaning of the reel.

In addition to these simple tips, a good rule is to make the reel is reviewed by a mechanical specialist, who will determine whether or not that it is replaced.

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My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.