What is a Quick Drag Reel for Carp Fishing?


There are many different types of carp fishing reels out there, and it can be pretty confusing for someone new to the sport to pick the best style. I grew up targeting mainly bass and pike, so all I ever used was a simple spinning reel. Little did I know how many different types of carp reels were out there. Baitrunners, bait feeders, quick drag, instant drag, quick torque, bite and run, etc. With all the names and brands, it can become overwhelming.

Sonik Vader X FRS Pro Carp Fishing Reels

Some of these terms refer to the brand of the reel and are pretty similar, others though refer to the type of reel and can make a big difference. We will break things down and simplify the world of carp fishing reels by explaining precisely what a “Quick Drag Reel” is.


What is a Quick Drag Reel for Carp Fishing?

A Quick Drag Reel can have many different names depending on the brand. Quick Drag, Quick Torque, Instant Drag, etc. It means that the drag that adjusts the tension of the spool can be adjusted quickly with a short quarter or half turn of the drag knob, allowing for greater control of fish and more success on the bank.

Quick Drag Reels Explained

So you may be thinking, what are the benefits of a quick drag reel over others such as baitrunners or regular spinning reels?

What are the Benefits of Using a Quick Drag Reel for Carp Fishing?

Quick Drag Reel Setup

When Setting Your Rod and Reel on a Rod Pod or Bank Stick

After you cast your line out, quick drag reels make it very easy to set your reel to free spool on a rod pod or bank stick set up. Set your rod down and turn your drag 1/4 to 1/2 counterclockwise. This will allow the reel to free spool in the event of a take. A few clicks back and forth can quickly adjust the reel to the perfect tension. Not too soft or not too tight as those factors can cause the loss of fish in certain situations.

The Initial Surge of Energy

Carp are powerful fish; when first hooked, they tend to pull a lot of line off the reel in a short period. Having the ability to loosen or tighten the drag mid-fight quickly is an added bonus. This is where quick drag reels really shine. An angler can pinpoint the perfect drag/tension setting in seconds with just a few clicks of the spool.

Fighting Fish At the Net

Carp are notorious for getting multiple bursts of energy throughout the fight. Most anglers lose fish at the net since they panic and bolt as soon as they see the net or angler close up. It is essential to have solid drag control in this situation and is another reason the quick drag feature comes in handy.

Simpler Construction and Lower Cost

The parts and labour involved in making a quick drag reel are less than those of their baitrunner counterparts. The fewer parts in construction and fewer parts to break with the need to be repaired, the better. This will bring the price of your carp fishing reel down quite considerably. Even with the lower quality models of quick drag reels, the difference in performance is minimal. Whereas high-quality baitrunners compared to the lower end, the difference is quite considerable.


Other Names for a Quick Drag Style of Reel

Brands may have different names for the Quick Drag Type of Reel. Listed below are some of the more common terms:

  • Quick Torque Reel
  • Instant Drag Reel
  • Fast Drag Reel

They’re the same type of reel, the same function, just a different company makes them.


Are Quick Drag Reels Better than Bait Runners?

In the end, when comparing the two different types of reels, it really comes down to angler preference. Whether you opt for more control during the fight (Quick Drag) or ease of use for the initial setup (Bait Runner), it’s mainly up to the individual.

We go over Bait Runners in more detail in this article: Do You Need a Baitrunner Reel for Carp Fishing?

I enjoy using both styles of reels. When I first started carp angling, I opted to use bait runners. Now that I’ve tried both kinds, I do prefer the Quick Drag Style for the added control mid-fight.


Are there Any Reels that are Both Free Spool and Quick Drag?

Yes, and I recently purchased them. I was able to use them a few times this season, and it is a nice bonus to have both features on a single reel. The reels I purchased are the Sonik Vader X FRS Pro 10,000’s. They are quite a large reel, but they balance out my set of Sonik Vader X 12′ 3.5 Test Curve Rods nicely.

Sonik FRS PRO 10,000 Carp Fishing Reels

The free spool function on the reel seems to be cheaply made and requires the handles to be in a specific position to function correctly, but the quick torque function works quite smoothly.

If you’re new to the sport or looking to test out either a free spool or quick drag reel, these are the reels for you. You can fish either way or even use both if you’d like. They are decent reels and are within Sonik’s goal of providing quality products at an entry-level price.


If you’re still searching for more information to help compare and decide which type of carp fishing reel to buy, check out this other article covering What to Look for in a Carp Fishing Reel.

N.Cutler

Author and Admin of Improved Carp Angling. Passionate Carp Angler and Online Content Creator. Find out more information in my Author Biography at Author Bio.

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