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What Are Snag Ears? (Carp Fishing Tackle Explained)

What Are Snag Ears? (Carp Fishing Tackle Explained)

Fishing for carp near snags or in the margins at an angle can be very effective, but very often, it can be a dangerous tactic as well. There is always the risk of your rod being pulled in by a fish. In order to prevent that, many carp anglers use snag ears on their bite alarms.

Snag ears, or snag bars, are strong metal bars that can be mounted on your bite alarms in order to keep your rod in place and prevent it from being dragged in by a carp when fishing locked up and at an angle.

Continue reading this article if you want to learn everything about snag ears and how to use them for your carp fishing.

Pro Tip: Simply want to grab a couple of snag ears for your bite alarms? Check out these high-quality, strong and reliable snag ears that will secure your rod 100% on Amazon here.

What Are Snag Ears And How Do You Use Them?

Snag ears, or snag bars, as they are also called, are two thin metal bars that are used on bite alarms for extra rod protection when fishing locked up and at an angle.

As the name suggests, they are most commonly used when fishing down the margins in or close to snags.

In order to prevent your rod from being pulled off your rod pod to the left or right and then, in the worst case, into the water, anglers can use snag ears that will act as a type of goal post for your rod.

With the ears mounted, your rod simply has no way to go on either side and thus remains in place until you pick it up and start fighting the fish.

Some fishing swims can be extremely tight and narrow, making it impossible for the angler to point his rod towards the snag he wants to fish. As swims like that do not allow for any line to be taken by a carp, you will have to fish completely locked up.

This, in combination with fishing the margins at a rather steep angle to the left or right, often results in rods being pulled in when a carp has taken the bait and is bolting off.

It’s fairly easy to underestimate a carp’s strength. They can certainly pull in your rod, if not your entire rod pod if you do not take the necessary precautions.

Using snag ears in the above-mentioned situations is easy and effective insurance that will save you many lost fish and, perhaps, a few dragged-in rods as well.

Pro Tip: If the ground allows for it, use bank sticks instead of a rod pod, as they are the more stable and secure rod holder. Check out these extremely durable and high-quality bank sticks on Amazon here.

Do All Bite Alarms Come with Snag Ears?

a bite alarm with snag ears mounted on a rod pod
Prologic SMX bite alarm with built-in snag ears

Not all bite alarm models come with snag ears, but more and more companies choose to include them, as fishing with snag ears has become more popular.

Two examples of bite alarms that do come with built-in snag ears are:

  • Nash Siren Bite Alarm
  • Prologic SMX Bite Alarm (rectractable)
  • Wychwood AVX-S Bite Alarm (adjustable)

There are also separate snag ear models that you can buy for your bite alarms.

Do Snag Ears Fit All Types of Bite Alarms?

The vast majority of snag ears that are being sold today are of a one-size-fits-all type and are compatible with most bite alarms on the market.

The reason for that is simple; manufacturers have built them in a way that makes it extremely easy to attach them to your bite alarm.

In order to mount them, you simply put the snag ears’ base onto your bite alarm’s screw, much like you would with a bobbin or swinger.

You then screw the alarm tight onto your rod pod and voilá; you now have a bite alarm with mounted snag ears that will keep your rod safely in place. If you’re in need of reliable and decently priced bite alarms, check out my favorite alarms on Amazon here.

Best Snag Ears for Bite Alarms

When it comes to the best snag ears that will fit most bite alarms, I can highly recommend the NGT Snag Ears. Here is why:

  • very strong and durable metal bars
  • longer than other models (4 inches)
  • very easy to mount and dismount
  • lightweight
  • much cheaper than other models (less than £15 for a pack of 3)

I could recommend snag ears that cost £15 or even £20 pounds apiece, but the truth is that they would function the same as the NGT snag ears do. Basically, snag ears are two long, thin metal bars that keep your rod in place, no more and no less than that!

If the metal is of good quality and the base holds the ears in place, it’s a perfectly fine tackle! That’s all you have to worry about when it comes to snag ears. You can find the NGT Snag Ears on Amazon here.

When Shouldn’t You Use Snag Ears?

If you are fishing in open water, with no or only little risk for the fish to reach a snaggy area, you do not need to use snag ears at all. The reason is that you most likely will not be fishing locked up. Hence, as the carp is able to take line off your spool, it is highly unlikely that your rod will end up being pulled in by the fish.

Similarly, when fishing locked up straight out and not at an angle, with your rod tip pointing directly towards your bait, snag ears are unnecessary to use.

Snag ears primarily prevent your rod from ejecting either to the left or the right.

Fishing straight out implies that your rod will stay pretty much centered during a take, as the fish has little or no room at all to move, due to the absence of the angle and the fact that you are fishing locked up. In such a situation, the snag ears simply cannot fulfill their purpose.

Of course, your rod could still end up being pulled in, as you are not allowing the fish to take any line. In order to prevent that from happening, you should use strong butt grips to keep your rod in place.

If you want to learn how to fish locked up the right way, make sure to also read this article I wrote: How to Fish Locked Up (Near Reeds, Weeds, And Snags)

Essential Tackle Tips

If you’re looking for solid and reliable carp fishing equipment, these tips might be useful for you.

The following tackle is of top quality and sells at a very decent price on Amazon.

I have been using this setup myself for many years and have caught plenty of big carp with it.

Rod: Daiwa Black Widow

A very strong and beautifully made 12ft 3lb carp rod with a ton of backbone and a great bend. Casts anything up to 5 oz extremely well and lets you navigate and control your fish smoothly and effectively. Fits both open and snaggy waters.

Reel: Shimano Baitrunner DL 6000

A reliable standard-sized baitrunner reel that works great for short to medium-distance carp fishing. Loads around 200 yards of 15-18lb monofilament mainline. Handles any wild run very smoothly! Fits the Black Widow rod perfectly.

Mainline: Daiwa Sensor 15lb

One of the strongest and most durable monofilament lines out there! Sells at a very good price and will last you for many fishing trips. Has just the right amount of stretch to perfectly hook and fight every fish.

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All images courtesy of Nathan Cutler from