You can maximize your chances for avoiding snags from shore by reeling in your bait quickly, keeping your rod high, fishing with the current, and using the proper weight style and size.
Use the Correct Weight
Using the correct weight size, and style can be often overlooked. Different fishing conditions call for different weight styles. This being said you must know what kind of bottom you are fishing. Whether it’s mud, sand, heavy timber, rocky, etc…. all of these conditions call for different kinds of weights.
It is also important that you use the correct size of weight! If you fish in heavy current, you probably should not be using a 2 oz weight. Match your weight to the current and conditions that you are fishing.
If you have not been using the correct weight this whole time, just by adding this step you will see reduced snags.
Muddy or Sandy Bottom
A muddy bottom usually calls for pyramid, no roll, or Disc sinkers. The style of the pyramid weight digs into the mud, and helps hold baits in place during heavy current.
Disc sinkers are usually used in slower moving current. They work very well in mud, and help to prevent drifting.
No roll sinkers are flat shaped, and are designed to not drift. This however depends on the current speed, as I have had them drift on me in heavier current.
The best weight for fishing on a rocky bottom would be the pencil weight, and torpedo sinkers. The shape of these sinkers fit well in and out of rock cracks and crevasses. When you get snagged in a rock, it is usually because the sinker goes into a crack, and cannot come out.
It helps to have a shape that is straight. Straight sinkers are way easier to free up rather than pyramid, which usually get locked into rocks.
The goal is to minimize anything getting caught on or in a rock.
Keep your Rod Up & Reel Fast
I see this one neglected quite often. Mostly in beginner fisherman, but also inexperienced anglers. It does you no good to reel in your bait slowly. You are exposing your hook and weight to so many potential snags on the way in.
You need to be sure to keep your rod high. Keeping your rod high will help to keep your hook and weight off of the bottom. Even that small tweak will keep you out of more snags.
Now if you do this in tandem with reeling fast, you can almost completely eliminate snags. Keeping your rod high doesn’t do you any good if you are still reeling slow. If anything, you are hopping and placing your bait in more snags.
Reeling fast and keeping your rod high will help keep your bait above the river or lake bottom, thus preventing you from getting hung up. This tip is so easy, I almost forget to do it. You will be surprised at how good this is in helping prevent snags.
Fish with the Current
Fishing toward the direction of the current is often overlooked. By casting straight out into the current, your bait can be dragged through so much debris that can get you hung up. The faster the water, the worse it can be.
By casting with the current, you can severely minimize the chance of your rig drifting through snags. The goal of this is to land your bait in a spot where it stays rested. You do not want your bait drifting constantly and pulling through everything on the bottom.
If you can, try to locate a spot where you can fish in-line with the current. This will help even more to eliminate snags. Your bait will stay in one spot, and when checking your bait, you simply reel straight back.
Fishing in-line with the current can be tricky from shore, but with practice you can figure it out. You will eventually get used to what to do for your body of water.
Try the 3 Way Rig
The 3 way rig is a great way to avoid snags in rocky areas. The weight is on the bottom while your bait is slightly suspended off the bottom, depending on your leader length.
This rig works so well because your hook won’t be exposed to everything on the bottom, thus keeping your bait out of all the snags.
Your weight can also be kept out of snags if you use the correct weight style for where your fishing. Also, if you do happened to get snagged, you will (more than likely) only loose your weight.
The light line that was tied for the weight on your setup will break, and you will be able to retrieve your hook.
Avoid Snaggy Spots
This sounds simple, but you can get complacent and forget it. If you discover a specific spot is snaggy, avoid casting there. Simply move over a bit, or find a new spot.
It is not worth waiting for fish if you continually break off your setups. You have to weigh out the risk vs. reward. If you get snagged every single cast, or at least 50% of the time, it is probably not worth it. Fish smart and save yourself some gear!
Pull from Different Angles
Let’s say you do everything perfectly, and you still find yourself stuck. Right when you feel the snag, stop pulling. You do not want to pull the snag deeper into the rock or tree that you’re stuck on.
After you feel the initial snag, move to the right and pull from there. If you cannot get free, move to the left and pull from there.
Sometimes it is all about angles in trying to free up a snag. Often times right after I get stuck, I pull a small amount to the right and it comes straight out.
Small movements and adjustments can be a sinker saver, so don’t get freaked out and start pulling like crazy when you get hung up. Sometimes the more you pull, the more stuck you make yourself. That is obviously the last thing we all want.
Breaking Off a Snag
Okay you have done everything possible to prevent the snag, you’ve pulled from all different angles and nothing is happening. It is time to lose your rig.
Now let us make sure you don’t also lose your rod. I have seen SO MANY TIMES, and I am actually guilty of this myself in my early day, loading up the rod to break off a snag.
If you rod does not have to flex, then don’t flex it! It does not make any sense to have your rod loaded up or bent when going to break off a snag.
You can very easily break your rod, and also fall backward potentially hurting yourself.
To break off a snag, simply point your rod at the water, reel up as close to the sna
g as possibly, hold the spool, and walk backwards. That is it! Try to save as much of that line as you can, and do not for any reason flex that rod.
Also be sure to hold on tight to that rod! You don’t want to let go of it and watch it get pulled into the water