How to

Avoiding Hang-Ups

​GETTING caught up in timber, weeds, rocks or crevices is part and parcel of fishing. Casting and retrieving baits and lures around structure invariably results in becoming frustratingly snagged. Whilst unavoidable at times, you can minimise the chance of losing your lure or rig by employing a few techniques to snag proof your offering. Shielding hook points is the basic premise behind a snag free offering with a number of variants possible depending on the hook and lure combination being used. Once the inevitable occurs you will need to figure out how to best approach freeing your lure or whether you just pull as hard as you can and hope for the best! Read on for a few tips and rigs on how to fish around snags.

Weedless presentations

The main way to rig your soft plastic in a weedless fashion is to use a wide gape worm hook and embed the hook point flush with the lure body so that the hook does not protrude an catch on an obstruction. An alternate presentation is to employ the use of a weed guard which is a thin filament of nylon, steel wire or even an elastic band which extends from the eye of the jig head to the point of the hook. With the hook point hidden or shielded to avoid the snags, you might find yourself missing a few fish or having to strike harder to ensure the hook point is driven in when a fish bites. Treble hooks on hardbody lures can be made more snag free by tying bristles or feathers to the shank; the stiffer the material used, the more effective it will shield the hook point!

Trailing and sacrificial weights

Sinkers naturally sink quickly and are prone to getting fouled and stuck beyond rescue. In rocky and snag laden territory, minimising the amount of weight you use is the first step in reducing the chances of your sinker getting caught up. A trailing sinker rather than a leading sinker will also help minimise snags; what I mean by this is that the weight trailing behind the hook will lessen the chances of your hook and leader getting caught up than if it was in front of the hook and dragging your leader down into the obstruction. Trailing rigs include the paternoster rig and lend themselves to the use f elongated and streamlined weights, like snapper sinkers which, are less prone to getting caught up. When using any weight in a trailing rig, you should always tie the sinker sacrificially using a lighter leader which will break well before the mainline does.

Use less hook points!

Treble hooks are notorious for catching on tree branches and weeds. As indicated by their name, each treble has three points that are likely to catch on an obstruction with minnow lures having two or more sets of trebles the likelihood of the lure becoming fouled or stuck is elevated. Removing the body set of trebles and leaving only a set on the tail can help decrease the likelihood of snags. Adding feathers and weed guards with further enhance their ability to dodge a stray branch or piece of foliage. Continuing with this theme, replacing trebles with single hooks can further improve your lures snag resistance; ultimately the less hook points you use, the lower the chance of becoming snagged.

Light touch and snag retrieval

That dreaded moment when you come tight and realise your stuck solid is an all to familiar feeling for many anglers. Fishing around snags, especially softer snags from trees and shrubs, requires a light touch and almost finesse like approach the moment you feel contact. Pull too hard or try to brute force your lure out of the snag risks driving barb of the hook into the structure making in almost impossible to retrieve. The alternate and recommended approach is to lightly tension the line and release with a flick to slingshot your lure backwards. Alternatively, another successful method is to alter the direction you pull by positioning yourself vertically above your lure or reversing back past it then applying gentle pressure. If a treasured lure is stuck firmly you can send down a lure retriever. These devices are designed to catch onto the swivel or hooks of your lure and allow you to apply extreme pressure to release the lure by either ripping it off the snag or sacrificing the hooks by straightening them. There are many variants of the lure retrieves them with some on poles that allow you to poke and prod at the snagged lure to jolt it free. If all else fails and you are stuck tight, the last-ditch approach is to exert maximum force and break away your sacrificial weight, straighten your hooks or otherwise rip the lure away from its captor. A pair of gloves and a few wraps on the line is one way to pull your rig free, alternatively you should point your rod at the snag, hold the spool and then pull the rod away from the snag until something gives!

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