Dealing With Snags
Updated: Oct 29
While still frustrating getting snagged is part of the game of fishing. In our mind getting snagged occasionally is a sign that you aren't afraid to get your bait right into the opportune areas and that there is something around that can hold fish. But enough looking on the bright side; snags can also be a pain to deal with, steal your expensive lures, and force you to spend time re-tying when you could be fishing. Over the years we have put in on the water we have gotten snagged our fair share (maybe even a little more than we should be). Fortunately, we also found a few ways to help get unsnagged should you find yourself in this position.
Typically snags occur when your bait or sinkers gets caught under a hard edge or the hooks penetrate into something soft like weeds or wood. In most cases you have already established boat position and moving the boat may cause you to lose the school of fish you had been marking or waste time.
Since we don't want to move the boat the first method we always try is the "line flick" or "bow & arrow". This method works best with suspending or floating lures like crankbaits and jerkbaits and for snags on hard cover when moving back an inch is enough to get over the snag. While these are the scenarios when the method works best it can also work for other techniques on hard cover. To do the line flick method tighten up the line on the snag and ensure the rod is bent. Next grab the line between the reel and first eyelet. Pull it out to add more tension and then release it to create a shockwave through the line. The shockwave will knock the bait backwards a small amount (hopefully) releasing the snag.
If the line flick method fails the next method we try to avoid having to move the boat is the "straight pull". This works best for baits stuck in weeds or other soft cover than can be ripped out or when just a little more strength is needed to pull your bait out of a crevice. To do the straight pull method point your rod tip directly at the snag and reel in to the line it tight. You don't want the rod tip to be bending at all. Next pull straight back on the line while ensuring the rod remains unbent. If the rod beds it will reduce the force you are putting on the bait and it won't come out; just like once you set the hook on the fish and keep the line tight your bait won't come out!
Finally, if neither of these methods work we will move the boat to the opposite side of the snag where the cast was made to pull it away from the snag area and then reposition the boat.
Having these tricks in your back pocket to get unsnagged while on the water can save you time and money. But there are ways to to prevent snags in the first place or at least reduce the chances of snagging. Our tips for reducing snags:
Use as light of weight / jighead as possible. Heavier weights will fall into crevices more easily and become snagged
Keep the bait moving - For moving baits like swimbaits and crankbaits keeping the bait moving will help it to deflect off of the snag
Avoid treble lure baits in weedy areas
Line Tension - always have tension on the line and slightly move the bait to avoid it falling into snags. When you let complete slack in the line your bait can be controlled by currents and be pushed into snags that otherwise would have been avoided
Fewer time spent dealing with snags leads to more chances at getting bit and in turn puts more fish in the boat!
If you or someone you know is looking to get into fishing or you just want to become a more successful angler be sure to check out our "Zero To Hero Fishing Masterclass" for courses on everything fishing! The masterclass is built to help you learn how to find and catch fish like the pro's by providing all the information you need and a clear development path! Don't miss out check it out now at www.newwavefishingacademy.com/zero-to-hero
Have you ever wondered why lures don't come with instructions and wanted to know how to fish them? Look no further than our "How To Fish" series where you will learn what each bait is, how to use it, when and where it excels over other baits, our preferred setup to use it on, and the common mistakes anglers make when using it. www.newwavefishingacademy.com/how-to-fish