Gimme the Rock

When Forrest Wood Cup champion Kevin Hawk traveled to Mexico with us in May of 2013, he brought the tools of a dedicated cranker – not just rod, reel, line and baits, but also a system for extracting his lures from the inevitable snags. At any water level, El Salto has more hidden trees, bushes and rocky outcroppings than you can swing a dead cat, along with the vestiges of the commercial tilapia harvesters’ nets. Kevin might’ve had a lot of crankbaits, but he wanted to preserve them, so he brought a flipping stick sawed off just past the first guide, an old baitcasting reel filled with 100-pound braid, and a plug knocker that looked like something out of the Terminator movies.

As expected, he got hung up pretty quickly, but his lure saver couldn’t do its job among the dense subsurface tangles. He was ready to sacrifice his plug to the fish gods, when his guide Lacho asked to take a try.

Lacho pulled out a garden-variety golf ball sized rock and a short piece of monofilament, tied it to Kevin’s line, dropped it down and with a single “plink” the lure came floating back up. After decades of freeing lures for hapless and semi-hapless gringos, all of the Anglers Inn guides have developed this skill to some extent, but Lacho – whose brother Carlos also guides there – may be the Babe Ruth of anti-snag devices.

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Hanna and I fished with him this week, and while Lacho didn’t utilize a Master Lock, each day he saved us quite a bit of cash when he got lures unhung that we thought were forever lost. He’d put a bunch of rocks on the floor of his boat at the beginning of each session, but we must be more tree-prone than the average googan, because he’d occasionally run out. In that case, I was quick to empty a 7 ounce Pacifico bottle so that he could use it in the same manner.