Naturally, if you cast a bait out into the water, you expect to get it back at some point. It would be preferable to find the bait concealed in a fish, but you’ll settle for just getting the bait returned to you. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works out every time. If you’re being plagued by the curse of snagging, here’s a list of things to work on, change, or blame the next time you’re out fishing. Some snagging is inevitable, but it shouldn’t ruin your day.
1. The Hook’s Hanging Out
The days of simple hooks with pokey tips are long gone. These days, the best option to avoid snagging is to purchase hooks or baits that have guards of some sort built into them. Most guards are just little spring-loaded gizmos that collapse when the fish bites, but they make a huge difference in terms of frustration. Plenty of newfangled gadgets aren’t that useful, but hook guards sure are.
2. Too Many Weeds
The dog days of summer bring a lot of underwater plant growth with them. Heavy floating foliage is bound to foul things up. What is crucial to remember is that if the stuff is too thick, there probably aren’t any fish flopping around in it anyway. Avoid thick foliage, and remember, you can always come back at another time of year.
3. The Trees Hang Low
Yes, fish love to hide under overhanging trees, but they steal the bait. Try casting horizontally and pitching the bait under the trees. When you make it work, the fish go nuts for it. Just don’t give up too soon. Pitching a bait into just the right place takes practice and more than a few blunders.
4. The Trees are Hiding Beneath
Countless reservoirs have whole forests of sunken trees underneath the water. This makes for great fish habitat but can pose a snagging problem. Use a hook guard and reap the bounty hiding in the forest below. Don’t miss the forest for the trees.
5. Your Bait’s Too Big
If it feels like your bait is snagging on weeds, that might not be the case. Sometimes smaller fish nibbling at the bait mimics the feel of snagging. Try a smaller bait and see what’s really going on. Maybe you’ll get lucky in a different weight class. Make up the difference in volume.
6. Your Bait’s Too Small
If your bait is too diminutive, a big fish will gulp it down and the hook will pull free when you try to set it. This feels suspiciously like a snag. If it keeps happening, try a bigger bait and see if monsters are lurking out of sight. A real lunker may be trying to be yours.
7. Too Many Sinkers
There are times when you want your bait to sink to the bottom, but you don’t want it to constantly happen. If you’re hooking the bottom instead of fish, pull the sinkers off and try a lighter bait. Keep the reel chugging and keep the bait moving. Every so often, you have to earn it.
8. Wrong Tackle
Some water is just too shallow or too funky for casting tackle. Consider trying out flies and floating fly-fishing line. Go with stuff that can’t sink when the going is really tough. Even a puddle can hold fish if you’re willing to look for them. Go your own way and reap the benefits.
9. Try a Bobber
Go old school to overcome the weeds and other obstacles. Place the bobber about four inches above the bait and reel it back in quickly to keep the bait moving. Alternative, allowing it to sink when you hit spots that are weed free. Only unsuccessful anglers are too good for bobbers.
10. Find a Better Spot
Hey, sometimes there’s just nothing to do but lift anchor and move on. Yeah, fish like weeds, but it doesn’t matter how many fish are down there if you can’t get them. Try some other spot and try the weedy spot another day. If nothing else, it’s a good excuse to fish more, and more, and more.
The Final Snag
Some folks encounter a general problem like snagging baits and let the issue ruin their whole day. That’s certainly not the way to gain enjoyment from a new hobby. If your line keeps snagging try, try again until you work the issue out, and don’t let it frustrate you. Keep in mind that fishing is supposed to be fun, if it’s not fun, you’re doing it wrong.