January 8, 2014 by Philip Jarabeck
When you're practicing for a tournament, catching a fish isn't nearly as important as finding places where you can catch fish. Because you check different places and put lures into all sorts of cover, you're going to get snagged up once in a while. However, I have a couple of ways to avoid losing snagged lures in practice. Instead of using the heavier hooks that a typical lure is packaged with, I'll put on hooks made of lighter wire. If they snag I'll have a lot better chance of pulling them free. Just remember to put the regular hooks back on the lure when it counts. If you're practicing with umbrella rigs, or fishing in a tournament where they're allowed, you're going to get snagged sooner or later. That's especially bad, because a fully rigged umbrella rig is expensive to replace. Because of that, I came up with cheap lure retriever that works for me most of the time. I use a 4-ounce trolling sinker that's attached to an extra-strong treble hook with a strong 0-ring. At the other end I'll use a snap swivel to attach it to my fishing line. The retriever is tied to heavy line; say, 200-pound-test braid. It goes down fast, so once it gets to the snagged umbrella rig, I work it around until I feel it catch on the arm that's snagged. I might have to wrap the line to a boat cleat and then pull away with the trolling motor - whatever it takes. The snagged swimbait might break off, or the arm it's on could get messed up, but it beats losing the whole rig. The retriever costs all of about $3, by the way. ---- Castrol pro Philip Jarabeck, Lynchburg, Va.