Does the cable seem to be hooked something? When you pull on the release does it seem like it's "doing something" and not just loose?
If it seems like it's doing something, have someone pull on it and get out there WHILE it's being pulled and pull up on the hood while pushing it sideways, wiggling it back and forth up down back and forth, sometimes you can get a tight latch loose that way.
The "Rod" would likely only be for the safety latch, not the main latch. Does the hood come up at all? Maybe it's the safety latch that is caught?
You may be able to reach it from below, there is an air deflector under the radiator as I remember and you can remove it gaining access possibly?