Can you explain the relation between max drag and max fish weight?
I see that Ocea Jigger has only 7KG max drag in spite of the fact that it is very expensive.

There’s no equation between max drag and max catch size. Remember the fish weighs almost 0kg in the water.

If you are skilled in fish fight, you can bring home a 30kg fish with 5kg drag. Also we always load at least 600m line. We would need big margin to wear down the fish since a lot of times we can’t stop the fish.

When you fight with the light line like PE2.0, you don’t want to put on no more than 5.0kg drag.
Your line may hold more than 5kg for the straight tension, (Shimano EX8 PE2.0 is 40lb or 18kg class), but there are other considerations you should keep in mind.

  • Your knots usually holds less weight. About 60% to 80%. See the article on line and knots
  • Drag is measured when the line is loaded full on the spool. The actual drag weight increases when the line load is less. For example, set the drag at 5kg when the line is fully loaded. In the actual fight, much of your line is out of the spool. Your line load is less in diameter. Your spool is harder to be dragged to turn. It means the line will be holding the tension far more than 5kg.
  • PE line is strong for straight tensions. But it’s very weak for frictions. You would only need less than 1kg to break the line by friction. When the drag is on, the line out of the spool will be holding the straight tension, but the line on the spool may be holding the friction. This is why the line needs to be spooled as tight as possible, and the line needs to be loaded as neatly as possible so that the line is not crossing the one underneath to create frictions. Fluffy load or crossed load can easily snap.

I suppose you are looking at OJ1500HG. I recommend to set the drag at 3kg with that reel. And that’s enough for the fish that this reel can handle. (Of course you may use your thumb or increase drag during the fish fight if it’s needed.)

Fine-adjustment of Drag

Shimano reels are so fine and specific with drag adjustments.

Whether the reel is a lever drag or a star drag, let’s suppose that the reel has 20 notches toward max drag. Theoretically speaking, one reel may have 7kg max, and it means one notch can increase 0.35kg drag average. Another reel may have 20kg max drag, and one notch increases 1kg average per notch. I’ve examined a reel like that before. Big drag, but it’s impossible to fine-adjust the drag. One notch felt like a jump. It should be OK with PE8.0, but not with PE2.0.

Don’t forget that if you are fighting a fish at 100m deep, the actual drag is greater than you set at full load. Sometimes you have to judge during such a fight whether or not you should tighten a drag by one notch…

So many anglers have cried in remorse for that one notch that ended up with the line break.

That’s how important that decision is and that’s how important the reel has a smooth curve of drag setting.

This is from Shimano website. In reality, drag pressure per notch increases smoothly and slowly toward Practical Drag point, and from that point on, jumps rapidly toward Max Drag.


I think Practical drag for OJ1500 is about 3kg+. There are only 4 or 5 more notches toward the full drag. After 3kg mark, you should pray when you gamble to tighten one notch with the fish on the line. This is such a finesse game with light line.

It is non-sense to think that expensive reel should have big drag capacity. Unless it’s “fine-adjustable” big drag capacity.

Shimano could easily engineer bigger drag capacity if they want to. After all, it’s just a disc brake. But as they have developed in the competitive Japan market, they have learned that fine-adjustable smooth drag is far more important than simply big max drag capacity for demanding Japanese anglers who like to fish with light lines.

Studio Ocean Mark makes one of the best SPJ reels in the market. The lever drag increases about 0.5kg drag per notch toward Fight position (Practical Drag). It increases rapidly toward Max Drag and the last notch increases 2kg drag. Studio Ocean Mark is very clear with that.