Tutorial: The Reel Tech educational series….

Posted: July 13, 2012 by Hellcat in Fish Reports, Gear Fishing, Out of Area, Salmon, Trout & Steelhead, Sturgeon, Tutorials, Warm Water
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John Strenk IS The Reel Tech (Proud AAA sponsor/partner)….listen, learn…share. Send him your reels today for an overhaul today! Local PDX area companies cannot compare. Period.

In this photo, there are 3 different examples of drag materials. Left: Carbontex drag material that can be either installed as is, or with the addition of drag grease. Center: Drag material designed to be installed as is with no modification. Right: Cloth drag material designed to be used in conjunction with drag grease.
Any questions, please feel free to contact me. Tight lines and screaming drags to ALL !! John Strenk The Reel Tech



“Through the many years of being a professional reel technician, there has been much discussion on drag systems, as well as some confusion on the part of my customers. Here I will try to clear up some confusion and explain a bit about the differences. There are basically 2 types of drag systems, wet and dry, and each has its benefits.

Either way, there is nothing worse than a jerky drag system. Drags not working in top form can cause you to lose that fish of a lifetime. “Dry” drags are drags that require no modification and are designed to be installed as is.

What makes a drag a “wet” drag is the addition of a lithium drag grease such as the Shimano drag grease or Cal’s drag grease. The confusion I see a lot is (the) fact that not just any old grease will work, (but that) it must be a grease that is made for drag systems.

Putting any old grease or oil on a drag washer will destroy its smooth fish-stopping properties, and simply will not work. Also, it must be understood that not all drag material is able to be modified to a wet system.

Some drag materials are simply made to be just installed dry, and some are designed to be used with grease. Others materials are designed to be used both ways, depending on the persons preference.

Lets for example talk about the carbontex drags made by Smooth Drag Co. in Oak Hills, CA. These are a fine example of a drag that can be either installed wet or dry. When you choose a “wet drag system” what you gain is a much smoother start up, and overall smoother performing and longer lasting drag…in my opinion.

Installing the carbontex drags dry with no modification will give you a higher top end drag setting, but over time, you will not have as smooth of a startup over the entire range of drag settings.

Some people for example that fish from the river bank for hard pulling fish may opt for a dry drag system, so they can really button down on the drag to try and stop a fish they cannot follow, and keep it from going over the break.

I personally am one of the guys who likes a butter-smooth drag, all the time, so my personal choice would be for the wet system.” John ‘The Reel Tech’ Strenk

If you would like to learn more about drag systems, reel repair…etc…please click on John’s company THE REEL TECH right here on AllAroundAngler.com.


  1. daheller says:

    Good article. I have to admit not being fully up to speed on wet a dry drags and reels where one can decide which of the two are desired. I liked the info on the strengths and wekasnesses of each type of drag system. Thanks. Sal

  2. The Hustler says:

    Thanks John. I used that 6501 I bought on eBay today while plunking on the beach. It casted 8 ounces great, but I did notice on reel in it started to make a bit of noise when I was reeling against high tension. I had the drag set pretty tight. Any suggestions on this symptom?

  3. The noise could be coming from the gears working, I dont know what type of noise it is. Also make sure you have the quick take down screws tightened all the way. Send me a message and we can try to trouble shoot it together. 🙂

  4. KP says:

    Hi John,
    I am interested in learning to repair reels.
    What would you suggest?

    Thank you.


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