Making Sure Your Drag Works Probably the most important tool of Musky fishing is your reel and the most important function of your reel is the drag system. When you are in the heat of a confrontation with a Musky, you must be able to “play” the fish. That means that you must be able to give it line to prevent straightening a hook and keep pressure on the Musky to prevent it from throwing a hook. Your reel’s drag system is an indispensable element to successfully boating a Musky. Musky anglers all have their own approach to using their reel to help them “play” a Musky. After a hook set, some anglers will back off the drag to allow the fish to take line while using the drag to keep pressure on the fish. Of course, using the reel in this manner requires that the reel drag system is “predictable”. The other approach to playing a Musky is to depress the free spool bar or button and thumb the reel to give the Musky line and keep the pressure on the fish. Each approach has its benefits and draw backs. It should be noted that many Musky anglers use both approaches while fighting a Musky. A simple trick to assuring that your line does not slip on the reel arbor during a battle is to wrap the arbor with a backing material. I have seen folks use first aid adhesive tape and electrical tape. Either seems to do the job. For those of you who are “old hands” at Musky fishing, you probably already know this. For those of you who are new to Musky angling, this is something that you may wish to incorporate when next you spool your reel with new line. Of course, if the drag on your reel is inconsistent or unreliable, no amount tape backing with help. Make sure that your reel is in good working order before you head out on the water.