How To Get A Hooked Fish Out Of Structure Without Breaking Off [VIDEO]

By: Luke Simonds on April 7, 2016
Found In:

snook fishing structure

We’ve all been there…

That make or break, do or die moment when your hooked fish makes a run for structure…

And if you’ve been there, then you know that when the drag is screaming and your big fish is heading for structure, you only have microseconds to make an important decision…

What I’ve found (and what I want to share with you below) is how to handle the fish once your line starts rubbing on structure.

Doing it correctly can make all the difference between you losing the fish and landing the fish.

Most importantly, the result if done properly typically ends up being the top catch of the day since it often involves a big fish and the added challenge of line-breaking structure coming into play always makes for a feat.

So what can possibly be done to decrease the odds of getting broken off?

Preparation Tips

saltwater fishing tips


Before explaining the one thing that I’ve been finding has significantly helped be get a big fish out of cover, we first must cover 2 preparation tips that play a significant role:

1. Use Braided Line

If you know that you’ll be fishing near heavy structure, it is smart to use braided line because it can hold up to rough edges that contact the line much better than monofilament line.

And an added bonus is that it allows for better casting performance and better feel since it is thin and doesn’t have any stretch.

Note: Click here for tips on spooling braid in a way that saves money.

2. Use Top Quality Knots

Although this one seems obvious, many anglers don’t make time to ensure that they are using the strongest knot for their line(s) of choice (I know this is true because I was guilty of it until a couple years ago).

And this doesn’t mean to use the amazing knot that “has never failed before” because all knots fail once enough tension is applied…

So the task at hand is to find the knot that has the highest breaking strength because just the simple act of learning a better knot can increase overall line strength by 30% or more.

Here are some tests I did last year on important connections:

  1. Braid main line to Fluorocarbon Leader
  2. Braid main line to Swivel
  3. Fluorocarbon leader to Lure/Hook (Loop knot = maximizes action in the water for more strikes)
  4. Fluorocarbon leader to Lure/Hook (Snug knot = maximizes overall knot strength for fewer break offs)

Note: I’ll be doing many more knot tests this year, so leave any recommendations in the Comments section if you’d like me to test any particular knot for you.

How To Lead A Hooked Fish Out Of Structure

Now that we have the two important preparations tips covered, now it’s time to explain what I’ve been doing lately that has significantly decreased my break-off percentages once a fish I’m fighting gets me into structure.

Best of all, it consists of doing just three things…

1. Don’t Pull Back With Sharp Force

Although this is completely opposite of the natural impulse one gets when a fish on the line gets into structure, it is very important to not pull back with a lot of force when you start feeling the line rubbing up on structure.

The reason for this is because this only digs the line further into whatever structure is down there, and it also further agitates the fish which makes it pull harder the other direction… both of which are not good, and the combo of the two almost always results in a “one that got away” story.

2. Lighten Up On Tension/Drag

Now that the fish is in structure, it is fighting against both the pull from you as well as the drag of the line against whatever structure is down there.

So I’ve found that using lightening up on the tension on the line when in a fish gets into serious structure has increased my catch percentage.

Note: This can be done by simply not pulling back on the rod as hard… just keep steady and constant pressure on it so the fish comes towards you when facing the right direction.

3. Slowly Retrieve Line Whenever Able

The slow and steady approach has been working best for me once a fish gets into structure.

This less aggressive approach puts less stress on the line that is rubbing on the structure and it also seems to keep the fish from fighting quite as hard as it otherwise would if trying to force it out with brute strength…

VIDEO – Mangrove Snook Save

Sign up for FREE to receive the latest saltwater fishing videos, tutorials, product reviews, and fishing product discounts!


Fishing around structure is something that almost all inshore anglers do, so it’s important to be ready for when the next fish takes you back into the structure during the fight.

There is of course no way to get a 100% success rate, but the three tips discussed above along with using braided line and top quality knots have all combined to significantly increase my success rate.

Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any other tips/tactics to add or if you have any questions.

I’d love to hear your opinion on pulling out lunkers from structure.

Let me know in the comments below.

Related Post: 3 Shortcuts To Catching Snook In Florida.

inshore fishing for snook

Related Article: How To Tie The Perfect Leader For Inshore Fishing

fishing leader guide

P.S. – If you think your angler friends would like this, please Tag them or Share this with them… Fish On!


Related categories:

Having trouble CONSISTENTLY catching quality Redfish, snook, and/or Trout?

If you’re not happy with the amount of quality redfish, snook, and trout that you’re catching per trip, then you should join our “Inshore Slammer” family because you’ll quickly learn how to consistently catch slams throughout the entire year… even without using any live bait.

It’s one of the only inshore fishing courses guaranteed to help you catch more fish… if not, you never pay a dime.

CLICK HERE to learn about our “Inshore Slammer” online course.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kat Armstrong
3 years ago

I can not believe how calm you are when you hook up! Great information and thanks for teaching me.

pierson monetti
4 years ago

Great video! Just curious, what type of paddleboard do you own? I notice it has soft padding across the length of the board, mine doesnt and i spook too many fish to count just by setting down the paddle….

Ray Pagán
4 years ago

As always, valuable info. Thanks! I like using a swivel clip from braid to leader, simply because it allows for a quick change of lures. Would that create a greater chance of losing a fish in structure?

2 years ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

I have found that a swivel from line to leader causes a broken guide too often as when reeling in you forget to stop before the swivel. What do you think?