The thicker the vegetation, the better the fishing. Unfortunately, it also means your lure is more likely to get stuck. “If you’re not getting stuck, you’re not fishing hard enough,” anglers tend to say, and not without reason. Spend enough time fishing the thick stuff and you are bound to lose some lures into the brush. When you do get snagged, use these tips to free your fishing lure and get it back into the water easier than ever.
5 Tips To Free A Snagged Fishing Lure
1 Relax, Don’t Overreact
It’s already too late if your first reaction is to get angry and try to retrieve a lost lure with brute force. Use a soft touch and you can likely reel up slowly and retrieve your lure. Try to whip the lure back out with too much force and your line will wrap around a branch or stick, getting it tangled even worse than before.
So you remained calm, but your lure is still stuck after trying to slowly reel it in. What next? Get a closer look. You can likely remove your lure by lifting it out from behind the branch it’s wrapped around. If you can reverse the fall, you can free the lure by retracing the path it took when it fell into the brush. Unless you really hummed it in there, ace.
Another common way to get your lure unstuck is to let out more line. Yes, more line. With a lure that weighs enough, you can sometimes let out more line and lower the lure from the tree to eye level. Then, just cut the lure off, reel up your extra line and simply retie it. If slowly reeling in your lure isn’t successful, this is the next best option.
2 Fire a Warning Shot (Optional)
For some anglers, the hardest and scariest part of getting lures out of vegetation is dealing with the creepy crawlers that could be hiding inside. If you’re shaking in your PFD at the thought of reaching into the foliage, here is a trick that can help. Flick a little water up into the bush and any spiderwebs will start shining from the water droplets. Just go easy, you don’t want to injure the beneficial insects. Have a heart.
3 Stay Focused, Stay Centered, Stay Dry
What’s the most common reason people fall in while kayaking? They get distracted. This can happen anytime—reaching behind your seat into the tankwell, or looking straight up and losing balance—but especially while trying to free a snagged lure.
What to do if your lure is snagged in a high branch? Try pulling the branch lower so you can work at eye level without compromising your balance. If you have to work while looking up, make sure to stay focused and keep your head centered in your boat. As long as your head doesn’t go over the sides of your boat, neither will your body. Keeping hold of the branch will allow more slack in your line, making it easier to remove your lure, but it will also help you stay stable.
4 Use a Little Force
If all else fails then it’s time to bring in the big guns—your guns. Instead of tugging at the line with your rod tip and likely breaking the line or rod, instead just break the branch. Unless you’re fishing in a sanctuary or near poisonous or endangered trees it is perfectly fine to do a little pruning and break the branch that is snagging your lure.
Your paddle is also a good backup option for when things get tricky. The hook retrieval notch on most kayak paddles is a great way to either pull out your lure with precision or break a small branch that you can’t quite reach. For such a simple system, this method is surprisingly effective.
5 If Possible, Disembark
If you sent your lure flying into trees that are next to shallow water, just get out and put your feet on some solid ground before you start flailing away. Not only will this make your life much easier, it is the best protection against taking an unplanned swim. It also gives you an excuse in case your buddies are watching. “No, I didn’t get my lure stuck, I swear!” you can insist, “Just taking a bathroom break.”
“If you’re not getting stuck, you’re not fishing hard enough,” anglers say when it’s time to free a lure. | Feature photo: Ben Duchesney