Kil and the other great anglers who went to NC recently NC Bluefin Trip (more on Noreast) have given those of us who fish with light tackle a huge head start on the East Coast Bluefin tuna season. Thank you. Since Kil first posted his comments about Cape Cod Bay fishermen sometimes using lines and drags that are too light for the fish (yes, I was guilty), I've been interested in analyzing how well the light tackle drags are likely to stand up to 200 pound fish. Kil's summary provides me with a lot of good information. It notes that one of his drags on an Accurate needed maintenance but there are also comments about high drag temperatures possibly affecting bearings, about reels that are hot to the touch and about how well Star-type drags in general work on large fish. It turns out, that calculating the internal temperatures is not impossibly difficult. I've had to make some estimates but I can get in the ballpark--a very hot ballpark! The keys to estimating the temperature are: 1. Length of run and average drag: This is the easy part, all you do is multiply the run x drag and the use a scaling factor (778) to get the Btus of heat that the fish creates inside the reel. If the fish goes on one 200 yard run, starting with 22 pounds of drag (which goes up as line comes off), the fish creates about 22 Btus of heat. 2. a) The weight of the pieces in the reel that initially absorb the heat. That's not too hard to get, just take the reel apart and weigh them. Higher weight means more heat absorption capacity. 2. b) Know the type of metal. My reels have stainless steel washers and an aluminum spool. Aluminum can absorb twice as much heat per pound as stainless. The spools weigh a little under a half pound (7 oz.). The stainless washers weigh almost nothing, about 0.04 ounces each. 3. Learn the thermal conductivity of the parts. Harder but do-able. 4. Estimate how much of the heat goes to each part. Harder still but if the spools won't sizzle water, you know they're below 212 degrees so you can get in the ball park. 5. Estimate how fast things cool. How long before you can touch a hot frying pan? Answer, it takes a while, same for the internal parts. So I'm assuming that things get hot fast and cool slowly. So here are the numbers, roughly: Spinning Reel Spool: Temperature rises 120 degrees Fahrenheit (so if it's 70 degrees out, the temperature could get to 190) Washers: Depending how many, what weight, cooling assumption, about 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. (Steel melts at about 3000 degrees.) Errors: If the spool doesn't get as hot as I've predicted, one thing is for sure, the washers will get much hotter. Ideally, you want the heat to come out of the drag washer stack slowly at the fastest rate that won't overheat the line on the spool or burn you. This will limit the number of consecutive runs before the drag starts to fade--maybe to just one run. For other types of reels, the numbers vary. But most Star drag reels have a different problem. The heat has to be absorbed first by a reduction gear and 4 steel washers--they are going to get to the 1000-1500 degree Fahrenheit range for a 200 yard run at 22 lbs. initial drag. The connection to the cooler outside world is through a shaft, then to a plate, then to the case. Some other conventional reels like the Accurate B2 (which I don't own but looked at the schematic) have the drag washers against the spool. My opinion is that this is a lot better than Star types. The numbers should be about like the spinning reel, except for weight differences. If anyone cares to send me the weight of the parts, I can run the numbers. If the above drags have more, heavier steel washers the numbers come down. But just how heavy do we want our jigging reels. We measure a difference of ounces, right! For my spinning reels this year, I will have ice nearby. It may prove to be the most effective way to cool the spools during/after a long run. Yes, I'm being serious. After hooking any big fish, I will be checking bearing lubrication and drag washer surfaces. Nobody who makes a reel says how long they can take the heat the drag systems produce, all they give us is "MAX DRAG" which is what we use to make our purchase decision. That's fine for small fish but not for the big ones--somehow, we need to learn how quickly they dissipate heat. We will learn one way or the other. Unfortunately for light tackle fishermen, if they don't spec it and we don't analyze it, we may just learn the hard way.