It’s a problem every angler is bound to face at one time or another. Hooks are designed to…well, hook stuff. The kicker is that they don’t always hook what you want them to. Weeds, trees, brush, and a world of submerged junk pose a very real threat to any hook cast in the direction of a body of water. So, what’s an angler to do? Well, don’t despair quite yet. Here’s a quick list of the best stuff to try if you’re reeling in more discarded tires than fish.

1. Find the Channel

If you’re more cleaning the lake than fishing in it with every cast, try finding the main channel of the body of water. Every lake, pond, and reservoir should have a small area where the water flows quicker and is considerably filled with fewer weeds or debris.

2. Come Back Later

The dog days of summer feature a lot of weed growth in any slow-moving body of water. In some cases, you can’t even get the boat to move around in August. Your best bet is to either show up earlier in the season or come back later in the year.

3. Try Dry Flies

If your bait is continually getting snagged when it ventures near the bottom, stay away from the bottom. Something like a dry fly that stays on top of the water might be your best bet to defeat a crowded lake bottom. Sometimes bass will even go for it when the weeds are so thick you think it’s salad instead of a lake.

4. Try a Bobber

a kid fishing

Image credits: Ray Shrewsberry via Pixabay

Yeah, the humble bobber may not be the go-to in the tackle box these days, but they’re a fantastic fishing accessory by any measure. Find a relatively weed-free spot and toss the bobber and bait in there to sit for a while. It’s a tried and tested method among experienced anglers who know a thing or two about getting snagged.

5. Use Baits with Hook Guards

The surprisingly newfangled and incredibly simple hook guard can save you a lot of frustration. These little spring-loaded gizmos are pretty useful for guaranteeing your hook will only get stuck on a fish. Countless baits feature them these days, or you can buy some for the hooks you’ve already got.

6. Change the Venue

Hey, if every river in your area is chock-full of weedy, nasty growth, then try something different. If the ocean is within striking distance, try salt water for a day. If there’s a creek in the neighborhood, go after brook trout for a while. Keep changing it up, and you can beat the weeds.

7. Get a Boat

Occasionally, you just can’t make it happen from shore. If the weeds are too thick or have finally piled up too high for casting, it may be time to consider heading out to deeper water.

8. Get a Float Tube

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Okay, so a boat might be a bit much. Consider the humble float tube as your path to clearer waters. They’re actually quite comfy these days, and most of them even have cup holders. You can also congratulate yourself for only spending about a tenth of what a boat goes for these days.

9. Try a Bigger Hunk

Obviously, if the pokey part of the hook isn’t sticking out, your bait probably won’t snag. Jam a hunk of something big enough on there to cover the hook and hope it doesn’t get dislodged. Hey, chicken parts are cheap. Why not give it a try?

10. Just Go with It

Why get worked up? If you reel in one boot, try to catch a matching one. If you reel in one old tire, try to catch the other three for a matching set. Anybody can go to the lake and come home with fish. How many people do you know who can come home with a new pair of shoes?

The Final Word

While you’re struggling to come up with methods to keep your line from snagging, it’s important to remember that some spots just aren’t that easy to fish and maybe a lot of them aren’t worth the trouble. If you’ve lost five baits to snags and other assorted difficulties, it might just be best to pull in the line and search for a better option. If the water is that crowded, it may very well be that the fish don’t like it any better than you do. At least the big fish don’t. Keep trying, keep cool, and it will all work out eventually. Just remember when it comes to fishing, it’s a game of patience.