Fish rap (Nov. 4): Don’t let your fishing trip hit a snag

Jordan Rodriguez
Jordan Rodriguez

I grew up with the Peanuts cartoons, and on my fishing trips I’m often reminded of one of Charlie Brown’s greatest nemesis — the Kite-Eating Tree.

No matter where or how Chuck flew his kite, that dastardly tree always found a way to gobble it up. And if you’re the owner of one of the many hooks and lures hanging from one of Idaho’s infamous Lure-Eating Trees, I’m sure you can relate.

Snags are a bummer for fishermen. They can be annoying, expensive and time-consuming. If you walk along dry lake beds this time of year, you’ll notice there are plenty of lure-eating rocks and stumps lurking, too. And Sadly, most of the tackle they’ve consumed is too rusty to rescue and reuse.

Good grief!

If you are going to fish, snags are part of the deal. But there a few ways to rescue your favorite lures from an untimely demise.

Go sidearm: When fishing rivers and streams where trees and bushes line the bank, using a sidearm casting motion can save you a lot of trouble. It helps keep your cast trajectory low and avoids big overhanging branches. Sidearm casting also is effective in avoiding snags that sneak up behind you. Nothing’s worse than losing your lure before it ever has a chance to swim.

Line up: Using the right line is crucial. If you’re fishing in heavy vegetation (the Lake Lowell weed lines, for example), using 10-15 pound braided line will pull most snags free. Heavier line also helps if you are fishing in fast water with lots of big rocks. The downside, as salmon and steelhead anglers can attest, is that when you snag up using super-heavy line it’s nearly impossible to break. Don’t hurt your hands trying — just retrieve as much line as you can and cut the rest. You can also attach your weights using lighter line, which will lose more sinkers, but save more lures.

Protect your assets: It’s easy to see the rocks, trees and shoreline structure that could gobble up your lures. The problem is many of those same areas are great fishing holes. I try to split the difference by using tackle I won’t be heartbroken over losing. Live bait setups, soft plastics and cheaper spinners or spoons hurt a lot less to break off than expensive Rapalas and crankbaits. And if you’re fishing from a boat, don’t give up on your lure. A lot of times if you troll over the top of the snag, you can find a way to wiggle it loose.

Tight (and snag-free) lines!

Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks with him at

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