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Scuba Steve

Seriously, whats the secret?

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My local river has basically a 100% rock bottom (aside from the occasional tree, tires, and shopping carts). The rocks that make up the bottom are on average about the size of my fist. Of course there are the occasional bowling ball sized ones and bigger. The stretch I fish is no deeper than 3 feet deep at normal levels, decent current. 

 

How. On God's green earth. Do I not get snagged on every third cast? Be it Texas rigs with a bullet weight, bitsy bugs, other jigs... Anything I can put on the bottom basically. If it's not rigged up the meat of the bait, I get stuck. I know the various methods for freeing a snag, and I do catch fish with bottom baits, but Jesus H is it exhausting. 

 

I know some say lightest weight for the current, others say heavier weight in current. I know some say flippin weights move through cover better, others recommend worm and football weights. Either way, I'm getting to the point where I don't care to fish anything that makes bottom contact in this body of water. 

 

Or, should I just expect to lose that much tackle when I'm out there? Sorry for the half rant. Thanks.

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I fish a boulder-filled river here in PA. I use crankbaits that have to be moved at just the right speed to make sure they make contact with the bottom but not too fast that they would get snagged on rocks. Its about feeling what the lure is doing and moving faster or slower by what you feel. Also never continue to pull or wind you reel once your lure stops. Stop winding your reel and move your rod toward the bait to let the crankbait float up.  If you are using a soft rod (slow action) it may be tough to feel what the bait is doing. I suggest using med/heavy power with a moderate action.  

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7 minutes ago, Gundog said:

I fish a boulder-filled river here in PA. I use crankbaits that have to be moved at just the right speed to make sure they make contact with the bottom but not too fast that they would get snagged on rocks. Its about feeling what the lure is doing and moving faster or slower by what you feel. Also never continue to pull or wind you reel once your lure stops. Stop winding your reel and move your rod toward the bait to let the crankbait float up.  If you are using a soft rod (slow action) it may be tough to feel what the bait is doing. I suggest using med/heavy power with a moderate action.  

You're right on the money with how I fish my local river.  I rarely fish anything but small square bill cranks and X Raps.  I do Texas rig a fluke once in awhile but rarely.  I feel squarebills are a little aggressive for this time of year in Iowa but the small jerks like x raps and husky jerks work better right now.

 

Addendum: I'm aware that I am probably missing out on fish I'd catch with more subtle tactics, but it's what I have the most confidence in and I also want to score the occasional walleye, which slam cranks most of the time here.

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Football heads are designed to not get snagged in rocks. Ever tried one?

 

blindside.thumb.jpg.4fa25cf43db76fcf1b7b86234435085e.jpg

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Fish can be finicky, but the rocks are always biting. Lures get snagged behind rocks and are easily

dislodged by getting behind the rock in a boat. From the bank that's a horse of a different color. Just

face it, you are going to loose a few fishing from shore.

 

:fishing-026:

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A long time ago, Charlie Brewer in his book. "On Slider Fishing" wrote about the correct way to fish his baits (slider jig heads).   He referred to it as polishing the rocks and basically it means fish as close to the bottom as you can, as slow as you can, without touching the bottom very often, if at all.  This requires practice, and while practicing, you 'll lose a few.  The correct tool helps.  In this case, Brewer Slider heads or small football heads are the way to go.  Charlie Brewer did this with 6 lb mono, pretty much regardless of the cover, maybe occasionally going to 8 or 10.

These days we've got fluorocarbon or a braid/leader combination.

 

Rather than just sticking with reaction baits, upping your "feel bait" game using the right tools is an option.

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I'm usually wading, fishing 10 lb braid to 8 lb leader. When I can get behind the snag I do, but if I cast into deeper water I'm not risking it. So you think a slow retrieve just ticking the bottom instead of letting it sit dead on the bottom would be the better approach? I always felt that took away from the finesse aspect of it. 

 

But anyway thanks for all the replies. 

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12 hours ago, flyfisher said:

Get a dragging head from confidence baits.  They don't get snagged often at all and have become one of my go to rigs for rivers and bottom baits.  

 

http://confidencebaits.3dcartstores.com/Draggin-Head_c_11.html

 

I was gonna post this up as well. 

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This has helped me .In rocks I peg   the weight with a bobber stop and make sure the bait is  wider than the weight . This helps from   keeping the weight from wedging in the gaps and the soft plastic compresses so a lot of times it can just be pulled out . 

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13 hours ago, Scuba Steve said:

My local river has basically a 100% rock bottom (aside from the occasional tree, tires, and shopping carts). The rocks that make up the bottom are on average about the size of my fist. Of course there are the occasional bowling ball sized ones and bigger. The stretch I fish is no deeper than 3 feet deep at normal levels, decent current. 

 

How. On God's green earth. Do I not get snagged on every third cast? Be it Texas rigs with a bullet weight, bitsy bugs, other jigs... Anything I can put on the bottom basically. If it's not rigged up the meat of the bait, I get stuck. I know the various methods for freeing a snag, and I do catch fish with bottom baits, but Jesus H is it exhausting. 

 

I know some say lightest weight for the current, others say heavier weight in current. I know some say flippin weights move through cover better, others recommend worm and football weights. Either way, I'm getting to the point where I don't care to fish anything that makes bottom contact in this body of water. 

 

Or, should I just expect to lose that much tackle when I'm out there? Sorry for the half rant. Thanks.

The simplest suggestion would be to stop trying to fish the bottom where you are getting snagged. In such shallow water, anything that dives is going to snag. I fish similar waters as you and my most effective bait that almost never snags is an unweighted senko. Cast it up stream and let it drift naturally with the current through fish holding areas. Bass are always looking for food drifting downstream. Keep most but not all of the slack out of your floating, braided line. You’ll see when a fish picks up your bait because the line will twitch. I T rig them texposed so even if I bump a rock or weed, the bait will come right through. Without snagging every 5 minutes, you’ll have a much better outing and you’ll catch more Smallmouth too. 

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20 minutes ago, Scuba Steve said:

I'm usually wading, fishing 10 lb braid to 8 lb leader. When I can get behind the snag I do, but if I cast into deeper water I'm not risking it. So you think a slow retrieve just ticking the bottom instead of letting it sit dead on the bottom would be the better approach? I always felt that took away from the finesse aspect of it. 

 

But anyway thanks for all the replies. 

The Draggin’ heads work very well, but are expensive.  Rock River sells them as well. 

 

I also like the tiny Keitech football shakeyheads for rocky rivers.  

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Those Keitechs aren't cheap either. You think the smaller tungsten heads help?

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In similar situations, I will always fish topwater when viable, as topwater won't get snagged. Also you can usually fish a moving bait if you pay close attention to reeling so it only hits the rocks but does not sink down to the rocks where it can get stuck. Football head jigs are designed to not get stuck in rocks, but it does depend on the rocks of course too. Finally, finesse baits like a ned rig or a drop shot with the long cylinder shaped weights also don't tend to get stuck, but might not be the best option if you have current to contend with.

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Owner Ultrahead Finesse Jig Head is another that comes through rock extremely well 

 

ultrahead-3.16-2.0b.jpg

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21 minutes ago, J Francho said:

Those Keitechs aren't cheap either. You think the smaller tungsten heads help?

They really seem too. I rig them with either Shad Impacts or Burbbling Shakers and fish them just faster then the current, just ticking the bottom to gauge depth.  I think the shape of the jighead, the angle/location of the line tie, and the overall light weight of the package all help keep it from snagging. 

 

I have fished this rig a fair bit wading the upper Potomac and I focus on steering the jig back to me safety, I only really seem to loose them when they wrap around the plentiful wood debris. 

3 minutes ago, Choporoz said:

Owner Ultrahead Finesse Jig Head is another that comes through rock extremely well 

 

ultrahead-3.16-2.0b.jpg

These are also great as are the very similar Decoy Nail Bomb heads.  

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At the Poplar Creek ramp on Lake Gaston in Virginia if you fish the bridge you will lose your tackle.

 

Now, the fishing can be great in this area, as long as you understand that you will lose your tackle.

 

At American Legion Post 354 on the Historic James River in Midlothian, Virginia, there are rocks of all sizes under the water and you will get hung up and lose your tackle. But this is a great place to catch catfish and you have to put up with the aggravation of replacing setups.

 

You fish where the fish are, which means in rocks, trees, shrubs, and in Chicago, dead bodies.

 

As how to not get hung up. That is the $64,000 question.

 

You can go weightless or Texas rigged, but you can still get hung up.

 

When you find the solution please let us all know.

 

In the meantime, just realize getting hung up is part of fishing where the fish are.

 

 

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I wade fished for many years and I feel your pain.  It was in the same type of water you are describing.  Good points have been made to this point but I'll add what I did.  First, NEVER fish upstream against the current.  Guaranteed snag 99% of the time unless you are an expert at bouncing baits while retrieving line.  My casts were almost always straight across the current and making my retrieve so that I had minimal contact with the rocks as the current/lure swung to straight downstream.  Once there I used a slow retrieve to bounce the lure back towards me.  If I snagged, it was easy to just let out a little line and the current would free the lure most of the time.  When fishing I would always wade upstream and work my way downstream throughout the stretch I wanted to fish.  Resign yourself that you will lose some lures but when wading, you always have the option to go to them to get them freed without breaking off.  Here's a little guide tip that will also help.  Every once in a while turn over some rocks and send bait flowing downstream, hellgrammites, small craws and other bait that you will be pulling your bait through.

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8 hours ago, fishwizzard said:

The Draggin’ heads work very well, but are expensive.  Rock River sells them as well. 

 

I also like the tiny Keitech football shakeyheads for rocky rivers.  

Maybe but i'd bet they re cheaper than losing lots of baits.  I honestly can't remember the last time I lost one in the river

 

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Try light weight and a large craw like a pit boss which will glide just above them. Or try a C-Rig, but use two larger size round split shots, with a curly tail worm. These glide just above the snags better than anything I know that is a bottom contact bait.

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