Upgrade Your Drag Washers

June 05, 2018 2 Comments

Upgrade Your Drag Washers

So recently I was very fortunate to chase tuna and mackerel on the NSW north coast. All went well:

A nice Tuna landed on boat deck matting

Some mighty battles occurred because I was using our light 702 combo to maximise casting distance with 40 gram metals. The 4000 size Ryobi reel was warm to the touch when these speedsters hit the after burners:

So before heading off I asked Tim to service all the reels I was taking. In particular, upgrading felt and synthetic fibre washers to carbontex where needed. That was probably the best call of the whole trip. Reminded of that on Monday morning when a client who bought carbontex washers to upgrade his Stradic sent me this pic and feedback: 

"Thanks Andrew. Check out the cheap drag washers they put in the Stradic Ci4+."

Cheap preinstalled drag washers don't last

Facebook reader David M observed:

"Wow, that’s very ordinary for that price bracket. Reminds me of the oiled leather in daiwa Millionaires 30 years ago, smooth but only lasted a week on the striped tuna."

Especially since carbontex drag washers are not expensive! From us, anyway. $22.50 for a sheet - delivered. That will do up to 7 reels so, maybe $3 per reel:

Here’s how to swap your drag washers, on a typical spinning reel. Firstly, remove the spool:

A reel with the spool removed to get to the drag washers

Carefully pop out the circlip which holds the drag stack in place:

Removing the clip to access the drag washers

Lay out the drag stack. There will be fibre washers and steel washers in the mix:

Arranging the reels drag washers in preperation for cutting carbontex drags

Take one of the fibre washers, and clip it to a sheet of our carbontex using a bulldog clip:

Lining up the old drag washer with new carbontex for cutting

First drill the centre hole using a correct size drill bit. Then cut the outside of the washers using an old pair of braid scissors:

New Carbontex vs. old drag washers

Apply a little grease on both sides of the synthetic washers. From what we have observed and despite what some tackle fanatics say, pretty much any kind of quality grease is okay. Brake caliper grease works well. Reinstall the drag stack in the same order.

Reel profile shot

Steve phoned last week and said he’d been quoted $65 on precut drag washers for his Tyrnos 30. I told him that if he wanted to cut them out of our sheet using a drill and an old pair of braid scissors it would cost $23 including delivery – AND, there would be enough material left over for another four or five reels. He liked that idea:

"Hi Andrew, thank you for posting the sheet of your carbontex. It was very easy to work with and to cut out the required drag washers for my overhead reel. They work amazingly good at a fraction of the cost of original parts. Cheers, Steve"

Youtube fishing identity Luigi P writes:

"I bought a sheet off you and have now converted all my reels. Along with quality drag grease and a good service the reels are now as good if not better than new. Silky smooth drags are bliss on those quality fish battles."


Depending on the size of your reels up to seven can be done from one of our business envelope size sheets. In general – but not always – 1.0mm washers suit spinning reels and 0.5mm washers are used for bait casting reels. But if you’re not sure, it’s easy to remove one washer and measure it on edge against a plastic ruler. One thing to mention:

A comparison between good quality Downriggershop Carbontex and a cheap poorer quality

Avoid sandwich material. See the white line in the middle of the top sheet? That manufacturer has glued carbon fibre on both sides of a thin fiberglass sheet. Always go for ours, shown on the bottom. Black 100% carbontex, all the way through.
Give it a try. The best investment you’ve ever made. Now’s a good time to get it done, while most of the country is suffering bad weather. Have your reels ready to go for when the weather clears.


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2 Responses

Adriaan Haasbroek
Adriaan Haasbroek

April 03, 2019

Hi Andrew,

I’m considering replacing my felt washers in my Shimano Stardic CI4+ reels 1000FB 2500 FB and 4000XGB.

Wanted to know if this is possible, what thickness carbon fiber sheet to get and which felt washers to replace.

As I’ve been given conflicting information. Told the 1000Fb should not be replaced with carbon washers, the 2500 and 4000 reels should only have the top and bottom felt washer replaced, with the middle one to remain felt.

Would you be so kind as to shed some light on this, before I purchase a carbon sheet from you.




February 10, 2019

What’s the right thickness for the carbonatex to upgrade my Shimano Trinidad 16n. Thanks again

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