You’re out fishing on a beautiful day and testing out your new $10 Strike King jerkbait. You throw a few casts with no luck and then on the next cast you feel tension. “I’ve got one,” you think! The excitement quickly turns to disappointment as you realize it’s not a fish but a log that you are caught on. Everyone knows the feeling and it is easy to give up and cut the line, but I’m going to cover a few ways that you can recover your lure and avoid having to leave it in the water.
One of the easiest ways to work a stuck lure free is to use the fishing rod itself. The first thing to note is that you should never pull hard on the rod unless you have the tip pointing in the same direction that the line is going. With the rod inline you can give a couple of good tugs and often the lure will break free. Of course, with this method, you do run the risk of further embedding the hook into whatever it is stuck on. A better way is to perform a series of quick rapid tugs releasing the tension in between. Keeping the rod in line with the fishing line, tug on it. Then release the tension. Use the reverse on your reel or let out some more line. Wait a few seconds with the tension off, then try pulling again. If you are in a stream or river with a current a lot of times the release of tension can allow the current to drag the line and the lure the other direction, pulling it out of the obstruction.
If you still can’t get the lure free there are some other options.
Portable Snag Device
Many different companies sell these, but they all function pretty much the same. They feature a very strong line (200lb test) that is long enough to reach the stuck lure. At the end of the line is a circular weight which can be opened and slid down the fishing line connected to the stuck lure. Some also feature treble hooks with no point to help snag the stuck lure. The idea is that you slide the weight down your fishing line and as it descends it will hit the lure and knock it free. Then you can use the rope attached to the weight to pull it and the lure up.
I have tried a couple of these with varying success. To work well you must get a fairly vertical angle with your rod and fishing line so the weight can slide down. If your lure is stuck at a more shallow angle there is not enough force to slide the weight down fast enough to free the lure.
Telescopic Lure Retriever
This device is arguably the easiest and most reliable way to free a stuck lure. It is a telescoping pole that features coils or a hook on the end. You extend it down to where the lure is and knock it free or snag it on the pole and pull it up. They work so well because the device gives you a ton of control over the amount of force you can apply to the lure. The downside to these is that they are bulky and only work well if you are fishing out of a boat. If you are wading or bank fishing it can be one more thing to have to carry with you.
Just because a lure is stuck doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to losing it. Many people get frustrated while lure fishing because they lose them. It is a natural part of lure fishing that some will inevitably be lost. However, if you employ some of my strategies and consider adding a telescoping lure retrieval device to your boat, you can ensure that you spend more time fishing and less time fretting over lost lures.