I've got three Shimano spinning reels that I tested for max drag. My method was simple: turn the drag cap until it bottoms, no tighter, pull with a scale. Specs: Shimano Stradic 5000 FA 25 lbs. Max Shimano Stella 20000 FA 58 lbs. Max Measured at full spool: Stradic: 13 lbs. Stella #1: 26 lbs. Stella #2: 29 lbs Since the numbers are much lower than the spec, I took into account the reduction in diameter of the spool and calculated what the drag would be at the bottomo of the spool. Calculated Bottom of Spool Drag: Stradic: 24.5 lbs. Stella #1: 73.5 lbs. Stella #2: 81.5 lbs. These results say that Shimano's spinning reel drag specs are closer to the empty spool calculation than a full spool measurement. Assuming that the bottom of spool drag is equal to the spec, you can make a calculation of what the maximum starting drag implied by Shimano's spec should be. If you buy the reel, this is what you can count on even though you might be able to coax 20% or so more from them. (I guess if I overtightened the 20Ks I could get to about 30 lbs. at full spool.) Maximum Starting Drag: Stradic 5000 FA: 13 lbs. Stella 20000 FA: 21 lbs. (The SW spec is 55 lbs. which would translate to 20 lbs.) As a side note, the force of the bail at max drag is below: Bail arm force at Drag spec: Stradic 5000 FA: 35 lbs. Stella 20000 FA: 82 lbs.