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Tales from the dump: Swimming for snagged lures

Walt_Humphries Tales from the Dump
Tales from the Dump

Recently, Jeremy MacDonald did a SCUBA dive under the Yellowknife bridge, to see what was there and to do a cleanup, if needed. It is just a reality of life, that litter ends up in the water, just as it does on land. So, this was a great thing for him to do.

What he found were a number of fishing lures that looked mighty new. Probably because they had been lost in the last couple of weeks. Lost lures is, after all, what keeps the lure manufactures in business. If you are going to go fishing, you are going to lose a lure or two occasionally and that is just something, you should be prepared to accept both philosophically and emotionally. I know I have lost a few over the years. Although, they weren't really lost. I pretty much knew where they were, it was getting them back that was the problem.

For people who don't fish, I'll explain what happens. You are standing on shore, you cast out into the water and then reel your fishing line and lure back in, hoping to catch a fish along the way. If you reel in too fast, you scare the fish, but if you lure sinks too low, the hooks on it can get stuck on a rock, a piece of submerged wood, even an old tire someone threw into the water. So, you never know what you might catch.

Tales from the Dump

If you get snagged, you are now faced with several alternatives and none of them are pleasant or guaranteed to work. The one that has the best chance is seldom used. It involves following your line out into the water and then wading or swimming to where the hook is stuck and physically unsticking it. You will be wet but happening assuming of course you don't drown.

I have done this a few times. Once, because I was in the bush and truly short of lures. Also, a few times because "What the heck, it's a good day for a swim." It works.

However If you don't feel like getting wet another option is you can try walking up and down the shore and you hope the angle will allow the lure to slip off of whatever it is snagged on. This works occasionally. If it doesn't work, then fisher folks can start to get a little frustrated and desperate. "Give her lots of pressure, then suddenly release it and maybe it will spring back off of the snag." OK that's a desperation move and one mighty big maybe. It may work once or twice in a lifetime of snags. The fisher person then gets more frustrated and agitated and begins thrashing his or her rod all over the place.

From a distance you might think they have caught a really big fish but no, they are in the final stage of snag madness and about to snap their line or pole. I saw it happen once, from a good safe distance. The fellow broke his pole in two trying to un-snag a snag. Now he has lost his 20-buck lure and busted his 200-buck pole. He was not a happy camper. He threw the whole rig on the ground and stomped off in a fog of rage, disgust, self-pity and with a broken heart. He had just lost his favorite lure and his favorite pole.

Before this happens to you, remind yourself that you fish because it is a relaxing pastime. A time to get out in nature and enjoy yourself. A time of no stress or strain. Which is a great philosophy, until your favorite lure gets stuck on the bottom. Then all bets are off.

If you lose all your lures, just remember you can always make your own out of anything that is shiny, whether it be plastic of metal. I have seen spoons made from spoons with the handles cut off. I have seen them made from aluminum cans or bright plastic containers. You just have to be able to cut or shape it and put a hole at either end, one for a leader and one for your hook. You can even use bright cloth, aluminum foil or flag tape as lures. For a pole you just need a straight branch from a tree and a bit of fishing line or strong string, and you are in business.

Here is an idea, there should be a fishing contest, where people only use homemade or bush made fishing gear. Remember time spent fishing is never wasted, if it creates peace of mind.