For snags within a rod length of the surface, Texas bass pro Russell Cecil simply reels down to the ensnared bait, reaches below the surface and uses the rod to push the bait free. When he knows the snag sits deeper, he’ll grab his line between the reel and the first guide and steadily pull backward to essentially walk the rod into the water and down to the ensnared bait. Instead of reeling the bait to the rod, the inverse operation takes the rod to the bait.

“You can run your rod right over there and use it like a lure retriever,” Cecil said. “You want to be careful that you don’t get your tip down there in the roots – that would probably create a warranty issue with the rod manufacturer.”

At times, Cecil notes, the benefit of retrieving a snagged bait must be weighed against the potential loss of opportunity. Bass can tolerate a certain amount of boat noise, but once rods and arms start reaching into their living room, most fish shut down or simply depart.

“If it’s an area that you really believe in and you think you’re going to catch one, I’d probably just break it off,” Cecil said.