7 TIPS FOR STOPPING BITE-OFFS AND LINE SNAPS
Snags and bite-offs are one of the most frustrating aspects of fishing. On several occasions, I have nearly thrown my whole rod setup overboard in pure frustration at a snagged line. Not only is it a nuisance but it can become costly if you keep losing expensive rigs. Here are my top tips for avoiding snags and bite-offs, so you can spend more time fishing.
BUMP UP THE LEADER IN CLOUDY CONDITIONS
I was recently chasing Longfin Pike in conditions of poor visibility. Even though I was using an 8-10lb fluoro leader, the fish were using the current and fighting so aggressively; I ended up losing several jigs. Luckily, in my tackle box, I had a 20lb leader and I bumped the leader up and was soon taking plenty of fish.
DON’T STRAP YOUR LURES TOO TIGHT
Too many anglers attach the lure to the rod before storing, then crank the reel so it’s really tight. When it’s too tight, the eyelet will be putting a lot of pressure on a groove in the line and over a long period of time in storage, this will create a weak spot in the line, leaving it vulnerable to snapping. You can add a hook hanger to the rod, or a rod glove, so you don’t have to crank it so tight.
LET YOUR FISH FIGHT THE ROD NOT THE LINE
When fighting powerful, aggressive fish, don’t point your rod towards the fish. This will mean all the tension is on the line. Keeping your rod pointed away from the fish, means the fish is fighting the rod, not the line, reducing the chance of the line breaking.
USE A FAST RETRIEVAL REEL WHEN FISHING NEAR ROCKS
Specific rock fishing rods and reels are expensive but very much worth the extra outlay. The reels will have a longer line capacity and a faster retrieval rate. This pulls the line in quickly to lift the rig off the seabed and get it into the midwater, away from the rocks.
KEEP RIGS SIMPLE IN GRASS AND WEEDS
The more tackle on the rig, the more items there are to get snagged in weed beds. Keep things simple with single-hook setups where possible to avoid snags.
Particularly when fishing bigger species, re-tie your setup often. When a fish smashes a lure and takes it deep in its mouth, the line rubs on the fish’s teeth, causing abrasion and creating weak spots in the line. After every bite, run your fingers along the line and leader to see if there are any nicks. If you find any, retie your line to avoid a break-off or bite off.
CHANGE YOUR LINE REGULARLY
Monofilament line, in particular, needs to be changed regularly. The sun and summer heat damages the line over time and will leave the line brittle and fragile. Change it regularly to keep it in perfect condition and avoid break offs.
It is impossible to stop bite-offs, break-offs and line snags, but staying on top of your line care and adopting these tips will help minimise them. Don’t keep hemorrhaging money in lost gear, make some subtle changes to save yourself a bunch of cash.
Do you have any tips for reducing snags, break-offs and bite-offs? Share your thoughts and experience below.