Whether you’re a tournament pro or simply somebody who loves to fish a few times a year, losing a favorite lure that becomes snagged is such a dreaded and frustrating experience. So let me tell you about a tool I never go fishing without that will help you get back just about every lure you ever snag.
It’s called the Hound Dog Lure Retriever. Essentially it’s a large hunk of lead, with a wire ring molded into it, that slides down your fishing line underwater to "sniff out" and dislodge your snagged lure by utilizing the weight of the lead Hound Dog.
You can buy them online, and at Bass Pro Shops – but my granddad “Paws” and I make some modifications to make our Hound Dogs even more user friendly. We use the rope from a floating buoy marker, and spool it on a large-spooled baitcasting reel, on about a 3-foot long fishing rod blank.
The biggest advantage of using an old rod and reel to tie your Hound Dog to is you’re able to manage the heavy cord on your Hound Dog better, instead of the line being all over the ground, or deck of your boat. Plus, you can use the Hound Dog when fishing alone a whole lot easier.
To use it, hold the rod with your snagged lure in one hand, with the rod tip pointed upward, so the line of your snagged lure stays tight. Then, by use of the old level-wind reel held in your other hand, you can neatly send the Hound Dog down your fishing line to the point of the snagged lure. By jiggling the Hound Dog just a bit, the snagged lure will pop free.
A lot of people see the Hound Dog as only a tool for retrieving deep-diving crankbaits, but I use it to free just about every lure in my tackle box, including jigs and shallow running squarebill crankbaits.
In fact, it really helped me avoid losing some of my favorite squarebill crankbaits that got hung-up on the shallow flooded Cypress trees at the Bassmaster Northern Open on the James River back in August. It’s also especially helpful when your lure gets snagged on somebody else’s old fishing line.
Plus, this time of year, when I’m throwing a Red Eye Shad lipless lure on super-shallow gravel bars and wind-blown points, they’ll get snagged so shallow that sometimes I can’t get to them with a trolling motor – but I can send the Hound Dog down the line at ‘em to get them free.
I can’t tell you how many lures the Hound Dog has saved me over the years, but I know for certain I never go fishing without it strapped down behind the seat of my boat. A few of the guys on my Bethel University college fishing team are now using one too.
Give it a try, you’ll be amazed how many of your favorite lures you’ll be able to get back from a snag.