View Smooth Drag products available through your Merrick Tackle catalog.
High Quality Carbon Fiber Drag Washers
for Silky Smoothness and Unrivaled Stopping Power!
Smoothies: Improved high-density fiber blend, now treated with a fantastic dry lubricant making them smoother than ever.
Xtreme Smoothies: Xtreme smoothness and durability. Designed for the best performance of sliding surfaces.
Metal Washers: Ground FLAT and polished for maximum drag performance.
For: Penn, Daiwa, Shimano, Abu, Newell.
Drags and Settings
The drag system on a reel is an often overlooked but very important part of your ability to catch a fish. It helps tire out the fish and helps keep your line from breaking off.
So what is a drag?
It's a sort of a clutch which is supposed to let the line unwind in a controlled manner off the reel when a fish (or anything else) pulls so hard that the line is in danger of breaking. There are many different drag arrangements on different kinds or brands of reels. They are all adjustable so you can control the amount of pull it takes to make the line peel off the spool but there is a wide variation from one reel to the next in how precise the adjustment can be and in how smoothly the line slips out. A drag which feeds line out smoothly is very valuable. When a fish suddenly strikes or when an already hooked fish makes a sudden run you want the drag to immediately feed line with no jerks or catches. A sticky drag can cause a line to break in a hurry. Have you ever heard this fish story: "I got a strike so hard that my line was broken before I could do a thing?" We've heard it a lot and always think the same thing: If the drag on that reel was set right and working smoothly then the fish should never have been lost. The drag should feed line out so that the line never breaks.
There are several different drag set ups. Most involve a series of fiber and metal washers which spin against each other when the drag slips.
You'll need to service your drag system periodically to keep it functioning smoothly. Learn how to disassemble the set of washers so you can clean or replace them as necessary. Do this at least a couple of times per year or more, depending on how much you fish, more often if the drag starts to get sticky.
This is typical stack for a star drag reel. Also some spinning reels.
Smoooooth Drag Installation Instructions
Courtesy of Jack Erskine's Precision Reel Engineering, Cairns, Australia
Smoothies should be installed dry as they are treated with a dry lubricant. Xtreme Smoothies and Carbontex can both be installed dry OR with a VERY LIGHT coating of Cal's Universal Reel and Drag grease. This is the only grease we recommend. It can be used on the drags and everywhere else in the reel grease is desired. All old grease should be cleaned out of the reel before re-greasing with Cal's grease. A VERY LIGHT coating of Cal's grease on the Xtreme Smoothies is recommended if you are likely to get your reels very wet, it will help waterproof the drag system. Very light means you should be able to leave a finger print in the grease on the surface of the drag. When it comes to drags more grease is NOT better!
When incomponents in the drag system are thoroughly cleaned with a specialist cleaning solvent such as white sprits, dry cleaning solvent, disc brake parts cleaner (auto supply) or any totally evaporating agent that leaves a dead dry and metallic oil free surface. ( Do not use Kero, metho, diesel or acetone, etc.) Insure that all metal surfaces in gears & metal drag washers that come in contact with friction drag washers are smooth, polished & burr free. If any components are damaged or in doubt it is better to replace at this stage. Make sure metal drag washers are flat and not cupped. If reusing metal drag washers polish them up with #600 fine sandpaper, or crocus cloth.
Once installed & after extended use, if the Xtreme Smoothies show any sign of irregular performance or drag "shudder", etc. you can bet that oil, grease or water or a combination of both have worked their way into the drag system. It is imperative with all reel servicing that only a small amount of the correct reel grease and reel oils are applied to the reel components. Over lubricating is possibly the biggest cause of poor drag performance. The major offender in most bait casting reels is the anti reverse needle roller bearing (one way clutch bearing), which is always over lubed and ultimately excessive lube migrates down into the drag system. Also only lightly coat the teeth of the reel gears with the correct gear grease, and remove any excess. However it should be noted that the bore in the hub of the main gear is sparingly lubricated to ensure that proper lubrication is offered between the main gear hub and the main gear shaft on which it rotates, again sparingly is the key word.
Xtreme Smoothies can be returned to their original performance value, if lube or water contamination occurs by removing them and cleaning thoroughly in the cleaning solvents as previously mentioned, ensuring that all other drag components are cleaned likewise.
Also ensure that you install all of the drag washers supplied in the replacement kit. Some anglers neglect to replace the drag washer located beneath the main gear between the main gear and shaft carrier base plate. This washer is an extremely important part necessary to ensure proper drag performance. Lubricate very lightly.