What Are Snag Ears? (Carp Fishing Tackle Explained)


what are snag ears

Fishing for carp near snags or alongside 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.

What are snag ears? Snag ears, or snag bars, are strong metal bars that can be mounted on your bite alarms in order to prevent your rod from being dragged in by a carp when fishing locked up and at an angle. Some bite alarms have built-in retractable snag ears. For other bite alarms, you can buy separate, one-size-fits-all snag ears.

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


If you simply want to grab a couple of snag ears for your bite alarms, you can head over to Amazon and take a look at the NGT Snag Ears. They are high-quality, strong, and reliable snag ears that will secure your rod 100%. Check them out on Amazon(UK): 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 an easy and effective insurance that will save you many lost fish and, perhaps, a few dragged in rods as well.

Here is a short video that shows how well snag ears can protect your rod during a take:

Do All Bite Alarms Come with Snag Ears?

built-in snag ears
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 R3 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 voilà; you now have a bite alarm with mounted snag ears that will keep your rod safely in place.

Best Snag Ears for Bite Alarms

When it comes to the best snag ears for bite alarms, I can highly recommend the NGT Snag Ears. Here is why I recommend this model:

  • 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 have recommended snag ears that cost £15 or even £20 pounds apiece, but the truth is that they would function the same 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 a good quality and the base holds the ears in place, it’s perfectly fine tackle! That’s all you have to worry about when it comes to snag bars.

You can check out NGT’s reliable and cost-effective 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)


All images courtesy of Nathan Cutler from improvedcarpangling.com

Max Lösche

Hi, I'm Max, the founder and CEO of Strike&Catch. I have been a passionate fisherman since 1997 and spend as much time as possible near a river, a lake, or the sea.

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