Tackle & Techniques – rod recovery

Tackle & Techniques – rod recovery

Dec 18, 2012

‘Spare the rod, spoil the angler’ – Recovering overboard fishing rods

By Mike Pehanich

I lost my first rod over the gunwale this past season.

It was one of the most useful rod/reel combinations in my arsenal, one that I used for flipping jigs and frog fishing. Its two-for-one functionality made it a particular favorite when I visited small waters in my small electrically powered boat with the shallow rod troughs positioned at the gunwale.

Janet Parker has had success in the Bassmaster Opens. She has also had success recovering overboard rods and reels using a weighted metal clip stringer.

No audible splash. No trail or tracks. I can only guess at the probable places where it may have performed its disappearing act!

But most anglers are well aware when a favorite rod and reel combo dives to the lake floor! And, try as they may, they are likely to never forget it!

Bassmaster Open star Janet Parker won’t forget the rod and reel that hopped the gunwale on Minnesota’s Lake Mille Lacs this fall. Not only did it happen immediately after she had landed the largest smallmouth bass of her life, but her story has a surprise ending as well.

Save that old metal stringer!

Parker saved that favorite Dobyns rod – reel and all – with a mix of faith and ingenuity.

First, she was alert enough to mark the “rod overboard!” location with GPS coordinate and a marker buoy.

That evening, she hunted down an old metal clip stringer and attached a 1.5-ounce sinker to the bottom hook and a 50-foot cord to the other end. She opened the remaining metal clips.

The next morning, she returned to the area near the marker buoy and commenced to hand-cast the weighted stringer in the marked area, systematically spacing casts to ensure that she was covering the area thoroughly.

Amazingly, she snagged her target and hauled up the entire rig – rod, reel, line and lure!

Later she confessed that she had had to use this contraption before. The good news was that it had worked on both occasions!

Janet Parker and George Liddle have teamed to catch smallmouth -- and to recover fishing rods as well!

“One time, a stringer hook caught a rod guide. The other time, it snagged the bail of the spinning reel,” she said. “But it worked!”

Parker adds this advice: Use a sinker no lighter than 1.5 ounces. You may want to go heavier, particularly if you have lost the rig in deep water. Secondly, use a lightweight, small diameter cord or heavy twine.

I know that I’ll be carrying this odd piece of equipment the next time I fill the rod trough of my small waters craft!


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