According to Dave Magner, a well-designed lure retriever is worth its weight in lures.
If you are a lure fisherman then you should own at least one lure retriever. What’s a lure retriever I hear you ask? Well, as the name implies it’s a tool for getting your snagged lures back and a good one can save you hundreds of dollars in lost lures during its lifetime.
Just like lures, there’s more than one type of lure retriever to choose from but you can pretty much split them into two basic groups. There’s the heavy weight on a length of cord type and then there’s a prodder type. To see which one’s right for you, read on to check out the pros and cons of each design.
While clearly the most basic in design, a simple lead weight with a couple of line guides attached and tied on the end of a length of cord can be a very effective lure retriever. To use this style, you simply attach the weight to your main line, then lower it down until it’s sitting on top of your snagged lure. Then you just jiggle it up and down a couple of times and hopefully, it knocks your lure off whatever it’s caught on.
While this simple design works fine, the better models usually feature a loop of wire or short lengths of chain on their lower end. These are designed to catch the trebles on your lure so that if the weight of the lure retriever bouncing up and down doesn’t free it, the chains will hopefully catch the snagged lure’s trebles so you can use the cord to pull the lure free. While this might seem a bit drastic and it often results in straightened hooks, at least you still get your lure back.
• Cheap to purchase
• Can be used in almost any depth of water provided the cord is long enough
• Easy to store in a small boat
• You have to position the boat directly above the snagged lure for optimum use
• Can be affected by strong currents which prevent them from sliding down the line to the lure
• Not suitable for ultra-light lines
GIVE IT A PROD
Pole type retrievers or prodders as they are sometimes called are perhaps the most versatile design. A pole style retriever is exactly that, a pole with a fitting on the end that you can use to push your snagged lure free with. If you imagine a tent pole with a pigtail of wire on the end you’ve got the general idea.
When I was younger and had to work on a very limited budget, I used to build my own prodders from scrap materials. It’s an easy enough task to do and you can make a very serviceable prodder from a length of discarded conduit and some fencing wire.
While they were cheap to make and quite effective in shallow water, their one downside was that the conduit had to be at a bit longer than my lures dived to. This meant I generally had to make them at least four metres in length. As you can imagine, trying to store a four-metre plus pole in a sub-four-metre boat is no easy task.
Commercially made poles solve this problem by being collapsible or by having multiple shafts which can be screwed together to increase your reach. From a practical point of view however, any more than about six metres of prodder becomes too heavy and awkward on most small boats.
Commercially made prodders are generally not cheap to buy either and you can be looking at between $50 and $100 for a good one. Having said that, they soon pay for themselves, so the initial purchase price usually works out to be a good investment.
In my experience, the Aussie company Strikeback makes one of, if not the best commercially made push poles. Their standard Strikeback Top Ender is well made and my old one saved a lot of lures for me over the years.
My current prodder is their Strikeblack model, which has lightweight graphite poles. It’s easy to put together and being graphite, offers a significant weight advantage over the fibreglass model. Even when fishing solo the Strikeblack will grab lures out of six metres of water without too much trouble. I rarely go fishing without it.
• Easier to use, especially in strong currents
• Can even be used to recover lures snagged up in trees (not that that ever happens to me of course)
• More expensive to buy
• Takes up more room in the boat
• If you drop them overboard, they sink
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