Q: “My reel drag used to be really smooth, but now, when a fish pulls off line, it’s jerky, and I’ve lost several nice fish because of it. How can I make the drag smooth again?”
A: Sending higher priced reels to the manufacturer for repair is almost always best. They know the product inside and out and will normally fix it for a nominal fee. If you’re going to disassemble the reel yourself, get a muffin baking pan and put the parts you disassemble in order in the muffin containers. Scrub the drag surface with soap or detergent and allow it to dry well. You will need to add a very thin film of grease (I stress very thin) on the drag surface. There are a number of greases on the market, but the one I prefer is Cal’s 2-Speed. Apply a thin film with a fingertip and reassemble. Carbon fiber drags benefit from this treatment too. It reduces starting drag and the slight dust accumulation that will occur over time on carbon fiber.