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 This year has been my first time fishig large tidal rivers and I'm getting quite annoyed with the results. I've tried pretty much everything I know how but nothing seems to fix my problem. I'll use my latest attempt at a session as an example:

I had found a nice swim on the Delaware river, and prebaited the spot for a week in advance. When I showed up to fish, the water looked fine. I casted out and it wasn't more than 15 minutes until all 3 of my rods were snagged. Now I don't know if it's because of the current or the spot itself...

I'm using a Cygnet Grand Sniper rod Pod, angled as high as it will go. 3 Sonik s3 3.5 pound test curve 12' rods, with 3 Wychwood Exorcist big Pit reels spoiled with 30lb power pro braid along with  5oz Korda grippa leads. This should eliminate any current problems, yet my mainline keeps being dragged either by current or by floating debris.

can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong?

thanks!

Edited by Lizardman529

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When fishing in tidal rivers I have always (in my experience without exception) found the waters to be filled with snags and debris.  That doesn't mean 100% in the USA are, but I have never found a portion of the Delaware River that was clean of them.  Full trees, tires, boulders, etc.  When bait fishing striper in the Delaware I used very light leader to the sinker and just hope I can break off the lead when I get snagged.  (and I always get snagged.).

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So basically there's nothing I can do? I've heard about backleads, but I didn't know if they'd be effective here.. maybe 5oz isn't heavy enough of a lead?

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A back lead is typically used to keep baits on the bottom. Have you tried a pyramid sinker attached to the swivel on its own 4lb test line?  In snaggy areas often getting the lead to the bottom quickly can reduce snagging.  Also when you reel it in, get it up off the bottom quick.

Also consider shorter casts. The less line in the current the less weight u need to fight the currwnt and debris washing by.

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Well I use a lead clip system which makes the lead pop off in a snag, and I think it's the hook getting stuck. I am trying shorter casts, and now that you bring it up the rod with the most issues was the far out one.. thanks for the advice!

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many things you can try:

  • fish the mouth of a sizable tributary stream -- "small water" to which big-water fish have access 
  • fish back-current, or the seam where there's circular/no current (will keep your feed mostly where you put it;  also, a good tactic for fishing post-rain chocolate milk)
  • keep more of your line above the surface, by keeping your rod tips as high & far out as possible -- VERY long front sticks w/ long(ish) back sticks would work better than a pod...  set up your rods at 40-80* angle, as far out from the bank, as shallow water permits
  • try floating or neutrally buyant bait
  • experiment w/ different lead styles -- breakaway, surf/river disk, slinky, etc...  I've even attached rocks to swivels w/ soft copper rigging wire & masking tape, LOL
  • fish under a float
  • EXPLORE!!!  some locations may only be suitable for 1-2 hrs., to 1 of 4 tidal scenarios (high/low/in/out) -- it's nice to be mobile & have close-by spots better suited to the other tidal extremes ...  and don't forget that your NJ license let's you fish the PA side of the river (albeit, not up PA tributaries)

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Thanks for the suggestions, Phil. I did a short 4 hour session today and only got snagged once. I'm pretty sure having my Pod angled high was causing floating debris to push my mainline into snags, and lowering it fixed the problem. Despite this, over the whole 4 hours I didn't have so much as a beep. Do carp feed less in the summer months? In the spring and fall I'm getting fish every 30 minutes..

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well, yes, if floating debris is dragging my lines -- I want line to enter the water close to the bank, out of the main current;  if it's the strong current, itself, dragging my lines -- I want to minimize the amount of line below the surface...  personally, I try to use as little lead as possible -- If I need more than 2-3 oz., I go somewhere else (a half pound of crap between me & the fish detracts from my enjoyment of the battle)

in the Summer, I do best between dusk & 8AM (by 9AM, I want AC on my face -- not, hot wind )...  in the daytime, I only do OK in those rare spots that naturally concentrate fish, regardless of feed (spillways, etc.) by giving them smaller, softer, tastier treats on smaller hooks & lighter clear leaders (yes, you get more nuisance species that way, but no action at all is a much bigger nuisance, IMHO)

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