Have you ever hooked your fishing lure on the guide before, or reeled your lure to the tip of your fishing rod? This is one of the most common mistakes I see anglers make at all levels, and one that can be costly in more ways than one. Today, there is a wide range of quality and cost when buying a fishing rod. Sometimes the guides of a fishing rod can be the most expensive component and cost just as much as the fishing rod itself. Most fishing guides are either a solid stainless steel or made with inserts that are designed to reduce friction, improve casting distance and, of course, withstand the stress of casting or landing fish. When I see anglers take their lures and hooks and secure them by sliding a hook into the guide, it makes me cringe.
Think about this for a minute: When you place a hook inside a guide, that barb of the hook moves around scratching, cutting and, in some cases, fracturing the insert of the guide. This is also the same exact place your line travels through when casting or fighting a catch, so don’t be surprised when your line gets cut and you lose that next fish. The same thing happens when you’re not paying close attention or have the awareness as to where your lure is when reeling it in. If you reel your lure or hook all the way up to the tip, you will scratch, cut, fracture or even pop out the guide insert of your favorite rod. Replacing rod guides can be very expensive and sometimes it’s more cost effective to just purchase another rod if you damage more than 1 guide on your fishing rod due to the time and labor to replace with new guides.
The recommended way to secure your lure or hook is to always use the built-in lure keeper which most rod manufactures now include on a fishing rod or use the bottom (larger) guide frame closest to the reel. Never use the frames of the other guides up the rod towards the tip as this creates too much stress on the rod blank and you’re more likely to break your fishing pole if you pull the line too tight when trying to secure your lure in other guides.
Every so often before your fishing trip take a standard Q-Tip and spin it around each of your guides. If the applicator snags onto a crack, you will find out immediately that it needs replacement as opposed to finding out on the water when your line breaks.
Below are examples of the correct and incorrect ways to secure your lure to the rod when not in use.