May 25, 2018
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Feathers ‘n Fins

By Tom Hennessey

During “vespers” at a fishing camp in Canada, four high-spirited Sports were casting opinions about whether a reel’s drag should be increased while playing a salmon. Owing to his contentious nature, Jack Daniels minced no words in asserting that the drag should never be tightened after a salmon is hooked. To which Jim Beam replied with a barbed, Why not? Allowing no slack, Jack answered, Because adding drag can cause the hook to move and work loose. Besides, drag can be increased by raising the rod tip, and when a fish takes line, drag increases as the diameter of the spool decreases.

If you say so, George Dickels grunted from a corner of the couch, but I’m for increasing the drag. Especially when a salmon is headed for a stretch of white water. If you don’t put on the brakes, chances are you’ll lose the fish, not to mention your guide’s patience … right, Hiram? Slouched in a stuffed chair, Hiram Walker smiled and told about the trophy salmon that spooled him on the Grand Cascapedia: After a diatribe describing the salmon as a brute, my guide asked me if I knew why my reel’s drag had different settings. After that came a tirade about the fish playing me instead of me playing the fish. Let’s just say I got the message: drag makes a difference in controlling a fish and, better yet, ensures a quicker catch and release. Staring into the sleepy-eyed embers of the fireplace, the incorrigible Jack Daniels muttered, Yeah, right – one way or another.

Tom Hennessey’s columns and artwork can be accessed at Tom’s e-mail address is: His Web Site is :

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