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Retrieving Snagged Lures a Snap

by: Brad Wiegmann


Itís your first cast with the new lure.  You start retrieving it back and bang!  Itís stuck, snagged, hung up, and caught on an immovable obstruction.  Getting your lure back sometimes is more of a challenge than, catching bass after a cold front. 

  Resourceful anglers have developed many methods for retrieving snagged lures.  The first thing you should not to do is pull on it.  This only gets the lure imbedded deeper into the obstruction.  One of the easiest and effective ways is to pull on the fishing line between the first rod guide and reel, then snap it like a guitar string.  This action causes the lure to back up and free itself.  If this does not work, try moving over the snagged lure and push your rod tip underwater past the snag. 


  OK, still hung up?  Try using a telescoping lure retriever to unhook your lure from the obstruction.  Frabill ( manufactures one which extends up to 15 feet.  It has a unique cam-lock handle system.  This makes changing the length to reach your lure very simple.  This is how it works.  First, you rotate the fishing line around its spiral head.  Second, guide the spiral part of the retriever down to the snagged lure.  Finally, push the snagged lure away from the obstruction.  Telescoping lure retrievers can also be used successfully for getting back lures from tree tops, the back end of log jams, boat docks, and bluff banks. 

  If your lure is snagged in over 15 feet of water a different approach may be necessary.  Try attaching an old spark plug or bell sinker to your line and let it follow the line down, knocking your lure free from the obstruction. 

  Still Stuck?  Break out the Bill Dance Lure retriever (  It was designed to retrieve a snagged lure from underwater obstructions up to 25 feet deep.  Although primarily used for crankbaits and jerkbaits, it can also be used for other lures that become snagged.  The lure retriever has an enclosed reel with a cord that has a push button release to drop and retrieve the weighted retriever.  The weighted retriever is shaped like a crankbait and has chains attached to it, along with guides that the line to your snagged lure attaches to.  To free the snagged lure, an angler needs to position themselves directly over top the lure and drop the weighted retriever down.  Once the retriever reaches the lure, bounce the retriever up and down; either the weight from the retriever will dislodge the lure or the chains will entangle themselves in the lureís hooks. If the chains become entangled, then pull on the retrieverís cord to un-snag the lure and reel in retriever and lure. After retrieving the lure, the compact reel and retriever can be stored in a rod locker until needed again.

     Anglers are always saying, ďIf you are not getting hung up every once and while, than youíre probably not fishing where the fish are.Ē  Next time you get snagged, try using one or all of these methods to get free.  It will make getting your lure back, well, a snap.


Brad Wiegmann is a professional fishing guide on Beaver Lake and outdoor writer.  Contact him at (479) 756-5279 or by e-mail at