Break a Giant
Setting the drag on a 50-, 80- or 130-pound stand-up outfit is a pre-game ritual. Knowing how to use it will keep you on top of the game when you encounter an adversary capable of really challenging your tackle and skill.
To break a big fish fast, you'll want three clearly marked settings. First set "strike" at 33 percent of the line's breaking strength. Then locate a "pre-strike" position at 25 percent, usually about a finger's width before "strike." Mark it with a piece of colored electrical tape on the reel frame. This is done so that when you push the lever to "full" it should generate approximately 50 percent of the line rating.
Why three? Beating big fish is as much about breaking its will as tiring it out and you can do it by continually increasing pressure as the contest unfolds. On the fish's initial run, the drag is at "pre-strike." The line should always be moving either in or out. When the fish stops, you pump. When it runs, you rest. When it turns and makes another run, push the drag up to "strike," lean back, enjoy the ride. It stops, you pump. If it makes another run, go to "full" and lean back hard against the drag pressure. Use this method and you'll find that you can break virtually any fish.
-Gary Caputi, Brick, New Jersey