How Not To Get Snagged
Have you ever been fishing with someone and every other cast they’re dealing with a snagged lure? You are fishing the exact same area, with the exact same setup, and dealing with snags much less often.
Trust us when we say that it’s not luck that keeps you from getting snagged, and it’s not a skill that cannot be learned. We’ve all been there before; We’re fishing around some structure, waiting for that giant bass, and we get hung up on something. It’s heartbreaking when it’s your favorite lure and you have to say your goodbyes before you break the line and try to move on.
Occasional snags are inevitable, but you really can reduce the number of snags with proper techniques. We decided to give some tips and tricks to help you keep from hanging up so often. If you’re that guy or girl that seems to always get snagged, don’t give up. We were all there at some point. Follow these strategies and see if it doesn’t improve things.
The first things to realize (which I’m sure is obvious), is that catching that lure on a branch and bending it in half is not natural. Fish will be spooked and confused. Plus, if you ease up on the snag to try and free it, you’re going to disturb everything in the area and you may as well move 20 yards down. I love fishing, but dealing with hung lures is no fun. Learning how to fish in heavy structure without getting hung is the key to landing those larger fish.
Keep Your Rod Tip Up
When you’re working heavy cover, one of the best things you can do is keep you rod tip pointed up. Keeping it up will help the bait cruse over top of structure without hanging on it. I’ve had great success pulling worms and jigs sideways out in open water, but once I feel a little bit of resistance, I live the rod tip to let the lure climb up and over the top. You’d be amazed at how many times fish strike while lifting your rod or dropping it over the other side.
Not Everything You Feel Is A Strike
Just because you feel a bump, doesn’t mean that you have a bite. The longer you fish, the more you will start to recognize a bite from structure. Practice casting your bait in shallow water with structure (weeds, rocks, brush, etc). While retrieving, make note of how things feel when you hit certain types of structure. Over time you’ll really start to get a feel structure vs a strike, and even be able to figure out what type of structure you’re hitting. Mistakenly thinking that every bump you feel is a strike is what leads many people to continually get snagged. You feel something, so you set the hook… you set it right into a branch, rock, lily pad, or any number of other things. Learn a strike from a snag and you’re be 80% there,
Don’t Use Too Much Weight
Unless you’re fishing thick cover where you have to punch through, you’re fishing deep water, or water with a strong current, you don’t need to use a heavy weight. Bass fishing is all about finesse. Heavier weight just tends to find pockets more easily and lead to more snags.
Speed Up The Retrieve
If you’re fishing and the lure keeps hanging and ticking the bottom, you may want to speed up your retrieve. A faster retrieve will keep the bait up off the bottom and lead to less snags. You may even want to pause your retrieve from time to time which can prevent some snags, and often trigger a bite.
I often see new anglers fishing soft plastics in grass and lily pads constantly dealing with hangups. Usually, they get hung, so they tighten up their line and start pulling. This usually has the exact opposite intended outcome. When you get your line tight, then pull, you force the hidden hook out of the plastic, and right into whatever structure you are trying to avoid.
The key is to 1) Always watch where your line is so you can anticipate potential problems, then 2) when you do feel your line getting tight because you’re hung, let out a little slack, then shake your rod tip. You’re be surprised how often this will free your bait from whatever is holding it back.
Once you’re free, let the lure drop to trigger that reaction bite. You’d be surprised how often a bass will strike as your bait comes up and over some structure.
Change Your Plastic
I know, plastic baits seem to get more and more expensive every year. But fishing a worm that has caught half a dozen fish and been hung two dozen times is contributing to your snags. The key to fishing plastics is being able to bury the barb, making it highly weedless and an effective assassin. Trying to get the most life out of it can aggravate the snag problem since the hook has a tendency to expose itself as the plast falls apart with use.
Don’t Give Up
Just don’t give up! This is the biggest thing to keep in mind. I know that snags and hangups can be frustrating, especially when you lose expensive lures, but don’t give up. We were all beginners at some point, and we all had to learn how deal with snags. Hang in there, and try these tips. Things will improve and you’ll start to enjoy bass fishing more and more.
If you haven’t already done so, go download the Fishin’ Wizard App. It is a free download and provides “Real Data for Real Anglers”. Keep track of your caught fish, or your private waypoints. Find major and minor feeding times, tides and pinpoint forecasts and more.