How to Prevent Fishing Hooks from Snagging on the Bottom

How to Prevent Fishing Hooks from Snagging on the Bottom
Because fish are often found around stumps, weed beds, undercut banks and other underwater structures, anglers will always find themselves casting into cover. Fish hooks are designed to snag fish, but if you fish long enough it is inevitable you will snag the bottom of your favorite lake or river from time to time. Making weed guards for hooks, lures and flies is easy and can make your time on the water more enjoyable. All it takes is a few materials and a little time to help make your hooks more snag-resistant, letting you confidently cast into that heavy cover where the big ones lurk.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fly-tying vise Bobbin Fly-tying thread Fish hooks (Size 4 and larger) Heavy monofilament (about 1 foot of at least 40-pound test) Scissors Whip finishing tool (optional) Fly cement/lacquer (optional)
  • Fly-tying vise
  • Bobbin
  • Fly-tying thread
  • Fish hooks (Size 4 and larger)
  • Heavy monofilament (about 1 foot of at least 40-pound test)
  • Scissors
  • Whip finishing tool (optional)
  • Fly cement/lacquer (optional)
Step 1
Clamp the hook in the vise at its bend. Just behind the eye, make about 20 turns with the bobbin so the thread is anchored to the hook. Place the length of monofilament on top of the thread with the end behind the eye. Wrap the thread around the shank and monofilament.
Step 2
Continue wrapping the thread until you are slightly past the bend. Generally, in fly tying, thread is not wrapped over the bend, but in this case it is preferable. Wind the thread back to the eye of the hook to prepare for the next step.
Step 3
Feed the loose end of the monofilament through the jaws of the vise and stick it up through the eye. With your thumb and index finger, crimp the monofilament so that it is horizontal with the shank of the hook. Don't worry if it does not stay down, as it will all be tied down later.
Step 4
Pinching together the monofilament from the two sides of the shank (under and over), wrap them down just behind the eye. Make sure not to wrap the thread back too far as this will compress the loop, defeating its weed-shedding function.
Step 5
Knot-off or whip finish the thread. Clip off the excess monofilament and apply fly cement or lacquer for added strength.

Tips & Warnings

 
A single weed guard like the one illustrated is usually sufficient for most fishing habitats. However, in bodies of water with extreme vegetation, you might need a double weed guard. Also, if you are fishing with a nightcrawler or plastic worm, you can make your hook weedless with a simple technique. Stick the hook into the head end of the worm. Pull the hook all the way through the worm so that the eye is the only part inside the worm. Re-insert the hook into the worm, making sure the hook section and barb are completely buried in the worm. This is known as a Texas Rig.
 
A single weed guard like the one illustrated is usually sufficient for most fishing habitats. However, in bodies of water with extreme vegetation, you might need a double weed guard.
 
Also, if you are fishing with a nightcrawler or plastic worm, you can make your hook weedless with a simple technique. Stick the hook into the head end of the worm. Pull the hook all the way through the worm so that the eye is the only part inside the worm. Re-insert the hook into the worm, making sure the hook section and barb are completely buried in the worm. This is known as a Texas Rig.

Resources

Article Written By Paul Weidknecht

Paul Weidknecht’s non-fiction has appeared in "Outdoor Life," "Yale Anglers' Journal," "Fur-Fish-Game," "Snowy Egret," and elsewhere. His fiction has appeared in "Clapboard House," "Potomac Review" online, "Stone's Throw" magazine, "The Oklahoma Review," and "Freight Train" magazine. He lives in northwest New Jersey. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Muhlenberg College.

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