One behaviour that is seemingly almost universal to lure anglers is the despair that accompanies a lure becoming snagged and in danger of being lost. What is worrying though is the lengths that some individuals can go to in an attempt to retrieve a lure, even one of little value.
I have witnessed utter madness as a friend inched out along a branch, no thicker than a rod butt and that is overhanging a section of 15’ deep winter river. This was in an attempt to get back a lure worth less than £1 – that’s including the jig head! The look of accomplishment when the task was completed successfully was one that you would usually see displayed on the face of an angler cradling a specimen fish and not on an individual that has just saved themselves a quid!
Have I ever been tempted into this seemingly mad behaviour? Damn right I have! I have stood on tip toes, with wavelets overlapping the top of my waders as I race against the incoming tide to get a lure off a barnacle encrusted rock. Whilst I was focusing on the task in hand my fishing companions where enjoying the spectacle and “helping” by throwing stones to land as close as possible to me and get me more wet than I was managing to get myself. The lure was safely recovered and my wetness immediately forgotten.
Lure recovery does not always end in success though. A cast on the canal last winter ended a little too close to the sunken tree I was fishing towards. Snagged tight on a thick branch that was sat just above water level, I had no option but to pull for a break. Although I was no longer connected to the lure I could still see it and the temptation was overwhelming. I walked half a mile to the bridge, crossed the bridge, climbed the fence, walked half a mile to the spot, climbed an even bigger fence, slid down the steep bank, balanced on the sunken tree, reached for the lure and knocked it off the branch and down to the canal bed!
However, my current favourite lure retrieval experience occurred one morning whilst I was perched high on a rock photographing a beautiful dawn. In order to capture the early morning sky I had briefly stopped fishing, grabbed my camera but left my Xorus Frosty at my feet in an inch or two of water and on a fair bit of now slack line. Why I didn’t clip the lure up as normal is one of life’s great mysteries. As I was clicking away, and completely unknown to me at the time, a few small waves washed my plug a few feet behind me and under a very large rock. Once done with the camera, I picked up the slack in the line and discovered my lure was wedged. Not a tricky situation to remedy one would think. Wrong!!! It was a significant distance under the rock, completely out of sight and reach. I tried and tried to get it out but simply couldn’t budge it. All sorts of angles and positions failed to as much as move it an inch and the incoming tide and waves were making it an ever more annoying experience. Frustration got the better of me, I pulled harder and the leader snapped, undoubtedly weakened by the continuing rubbing against the rock.
A little dejected, I moved up the beach, poured a coffee and stared at the lump of rock that had engulfed my lure. As I was sipping away I noticed a little gap at the back of the rock where the water was now surging through as the tide continued to push in. “I wonder….” I thought to myself. I finished my coffee and had a scout around for a stick of some sort that I could poke into said hole. It didn’t take long and I was soon bent down wiggling my little stick in the increasingly wet hole. The feeling that swept over me when that little lure popped out of the front of the rock and washed right into my hand was better than, well, uhmmm, it was bloody great!
BASS Blogger: Rob “Arkwright” Pope