Rear or front drags for fixed spool reels

keora

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
648
Reaction score
2
Location
Leeds
What's the most effective drag mechanism for fixed spool reels - front or rear ?

Originally, drags usually were on the front, in the spool itself. I think it was ABU that developed rear drags in the 70s, their ABU Cardinal reels became popular, and other makers copied the idea. The cycle has now gone full circle, and there seems more front drag reels in the shops than rear drag reels. Does this mean they are better?

While I'm on the subject of reels, has anybody tried the new small baitrunners ?
 

dezza

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 14, 2000
Messages
32,331
Reaction score
7
Location
Rotherham South Yorkshire
The cycle has now gone full circle, and there seems more front drag reels in the shops than rear drag reels. Does this mean they are better?
No, not at all.

The vast majority of modern drags, be they rear or front, are thousands of times better than the awful "slipping clutches" that were on the early fixed spool reels such as the Mitchells. The rear drag on the ABU Cardinals was a great improvement.

The ultimate in drags in my opinion is the rear "fightin drag" fitted to the Shimano Stradic which was produced a few years ago - it was as smooth as silk and perfect for handling hard fighting fish. I have a few reels that are front drag and certainly I have not detected if they are superior to top class rear drag reels by Shimano or Diawa. The problem with front drag reels is the adustment screw, which can easily be dropped or lost when changing spools whilst fishing.

I have a idea that the change to front drag on most reels today is more to do with costs of manufacturing rather than efficacy.

From an engineering point of view, if the bearings are top class, there shouldn't be much to choose between good quality front and rear drags.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 4, 2007
Messages
13,736
Reaction score
11
Location
Cheshire
What's the most effective drag mechanism for fixed spool reels - front or rear ?
The most effective, smoothest drag on any reel must be the front drag on a Mitchell 300.

Thousands of anglers just can't be wrong. With the huge choice of precision engineered reels available, they would have to be absolute plonkers to just blindly keep on using the Mitchell 300. ie for so many well respected anglers to literally swear by this reel then it must be amongst the best around. Yes, you can't argue with that.

Not only does the Mitchell 300 have the most reliable, smoothest drag on the market, it also has one of the most reliable line rollers - it never wears and the line never gets trapped behind it. The bail arm spring is also engineered from the strongest, fatigue resistant spring steel available. And to make sure you know whether the anti reverse is on or not, Mitchell have incorporated a ratchet that clicks at 108 db.

And to make things even better, Mitchell now make these things in China for peanuts, so now everybody can afford one.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Messages
5,751
Reaction score
11
Location
Stockport
And as we know young Mr. Corker - it is the reel of choice for the top specimen angler Morespiders!

I see you are practising your baiting techniques in advance of the weekend. Always useful to know what the quarry is feeding on in Yorkshire before we get to Dam Flask. ;):wh

---------- Post added at 08:58 ---------- Previous post was at 08:56 ----------

I too like the fighting drag facility on shimano reels.
 

tigger

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2009
Messages
8,808
Reaction score
1,005
While I'm on the subject of reels, has anybody tried the new small baitrunners ?
I have a couple of the new shimano 2500 FA baitrunners and up to now they've been great. I had several barbel using one yesterday evening. The drag seems to be nice and smooth and easy enough to operate while playing a fish if it needs altering but I can never remember which way tightens and which way slackens the tension LOL. They seem to have excellent cranking power and when winding back heavy leads in strong flow it's pretty much effortless.
 

Graham Whatmore

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2003
Messages
9,147
Reaction score
9
Location
Lydney, in the Forest of Dean
The simple truth is that front drag reels were once far better than rear drag reels but that is not the case these days. Not only are the rear drag reels equally as good they are easier to use because of their position and if you want the best reels they don't get any better than Shimano, Daiwa are as good but much more expensive.
 

David Rogers 3

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 5, 2006
Messages
455
Reaction score
68
Location
Cheshire
No, not at all.
The problem with front drag reels is the adustment screw, which can easily be dropped or lost when changing spools whilst fishing.
.
It does seem odd that my modern Shimano Exage 2500 front drag reel has one of these silly adjustment screws, whilst my old Mitchell 300s all have quick-release, push-button spools that effectively get around the problem.
 

tigger

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2009
Messages
8,808
Reaction score
1,005
Talking front/ rear drag, no one ever seems to mention centre drag and I have a couple of Abu Suverans which have centre drag. To me it's the most comfortable place to have and use your drag adjuster. The Suveran reels are no longer in production but if you ever seen one up for grabb's then grabb it quick as they really are the dogs danglies !
 

quickcedo

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Messages
1,459
Reaction score
5
Location
Enslow Oxon
As mentioned throughout this thread there is no longer much difference in the quallity between the two. so it's down to personal preference. I own two shimano DL4000FA front drag. I prefer front drag and have no problems with adjustment during the playing of a fish.
It is worth mentioning that some of the less expensive reels do "stick" on initial release of the clutch so it's worth setting it a little lighter than required then adjusting during the playing of the fish.
 
A

alan whittington

Guest
In my experience the modern front drag is a little better,but not much,ive a daiwa exceller plus 4000,and a shimano,both were around £70-80 and are much of a muchness,as to a mitchell 300,i thought sewing machines used to be made by 'singer',they might have press button spools,but any reel made of monkey-metal deserves its place in the bin with the rest of the garbage:wh:w.
 
A

alan whittington

Guest
I agree Chris,i think they are more user friendly,but not as an effective mechanism,i think what Mark mentioned about the drag sticking seems to happen a little more with rear drags,but rear drag reels are still an efficient item if thats your choice,i have i believe six rear dragged shimano's all perfectly good reels but......front drags have excellent drags imo:),that said as an after thought only in a decent reel,not any old poop.
 

keora

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
648
Reaction score
2
Location
Leeds
I think the only drawback of the rear drag is that the control knob often picks up mud and grit and sand from the bank. This gunk tends to get into the drag mechanism and stops it from working smoothly.
 
Top