It would depend on the type of subsurface and ,to a certain extent,upon the type of fish one is after.
If it is a sandy bottom throughout, I would agree that one should set a light drag . Upon hookup, one may then adjust the drag to be tighter and play the fish until landed.
However, there are many places where the beaches have a mixture of sand and reef/rocks under the water. Here, some fish(GTs,coral trout,grouper) are quite adept at immediately seeking cover after being hooked.
If one does not set a tight drag initially, it is curtains for the angler - it is next to impossible to get the fish out without the line being cut on the reef/rocks.