Fishing is a popular sport around the world, both as a hobby or pastime and profession. There are numerous ways and methods of fishing. One of the lesser-used methods of fishing is snag fishing.
It can be a good alternative to regular fishing if you are looking for something different. But how to snag a fish? Or, how to snag fish?
The concept of snag fishing is very simple. All you have to do is cast the line as far from you as you can, let it sink for some time, And then yank the line. After that, reel the line and then snatch the rod, and again. Reel the line.
Repeat the snatching and reeling until the line is back. If you are lucky, on one of the snatches, you will snag a fish. If you do, pull it in as you’d do in regular fishing.
Snag fishing is a controversial fishing method. Many prefer not to snag fish for reasons.
More on it later. But there are times when you’d rather want to snag fish than the ordinary casting method, especially if you are going after prize fish, such as paddlefish. Some fish species cannot be enticed with lures. Thus, snagging is one of the few viable methods of catching them.
How To Snag Fish?
As the name implies, you are trying to snag the fish with your hook and pull it in. The idea is simple, but if you don’t have a clear idea, you might find yourself in a pickle. So, here’s how to snag fish –
Step 1 – Locate The Target
Unlike other fishing methods, when snag fishing, you will need to have a clear idea of where your target is because you are not relying on the fish to find the bait and bite. Since you are taking matters into your hand, you are one to locate the target.
If you are fishing in clear water with great visibility, you can locate the fish with your eyes. Otherwise, you might need to use fish finders or other methods to pinpoint a fish.
You don’t necessarily have to pinpoint a fish. As long as you have a clear idea of the whereabouts of the fish, you can manage to snag it. However, it might take several casts.
Step 2 – Cast The Line
Once you have either located a fish or have a good idea where fishes are, cast the line aiming for the spot. If you are fishing from the shore, you are obviously casting the line away from you, and the line will not be straight down from you, rather be at an angle.
In this case, you will want to aim slightly further than the spot where you think the fish is so that when you yank, your hook actually snags the fish. However, if you are casting from a kayak or boat, or casting from bridges or other structures, then you have the freedom to cast the hook straight beneath you.
Here, you can decide on a spot where fishes pass by frequently and cast the line beforehand and wait for a fish to come by. Snag fishing in rivers, canals, or other streamy water bodies is viable, but it is like a wild card. You will actively need to see the fish and cast fast.
Step 3 – Snag The Fish
Once you have the fish and the hook in a straight line, yank the line super-fast. Snatching the line fast is important because you are trying to impale the hook in the fish’s body, and it is going to need a good amount of strength.
In ordinary baitcasting fishing, the fish bites the lure or the bait, and when you pull, the hook is in its mouth. The mouth is thinner and weaker compared to body flesh. So, piercing is easy. But in snag fishing, raw power is required.
Additionally, if you are not fast enough, as soon as the fish realizes the danger, it will flee fast as it can. The smooth scales and the slimy mucus will help to keep the hook from impaling. All these combined, you got to yank like there’s no tomorrow.
Step 4 – Reel In The Line
Regardless of if you successfully snagged the fish or not, you got to reel the line in. More often than not, you’ll scare the fish off, and it’s not coming back anytime soon. So, you are better off casting anew.
When you are snag fishing in muddy or unclear water, where you are not certain exactly where the fish is, you should do the following –
- Yank the line hard
- Reel in the line
- Yank again
- Reel again
Rinse and repeat until the lines are all reeled in. And then you recast the line hoping for better luck.
Problems You Might Find Yourself In
When snag fishing, there are a few problems you will occasionally find yourself in. So, when going for it, you better be ready for them. Here are some common ones-
- Snagging On Objects
It is not uncommon to yank the line and discover it snagged onto some random object underwater. It could be a tree branch, could be rock, could be simply vegetation. If you do-
If you are fishing in a small-ish pond or from a kayak, change your position and try to go to the opposite side from where you cast. When you yank from a different angle, your hook will come free.
If you are fishing in rivers or such, bring a water bottle with you. Half fill it with water and attach a hook with it. Suspend it with the fishing line and let it go. Release 50-ish yards of line and let the stream carry the bottle away. Then yank the fishing rod super hard, and nine out of ten times, your hook will come free.
Or you can use a lure retriever. They are great at releasing the hook from snag but keep in mind; it’s not guaranteed.
- The Line Breaks Often
If your line is often breaking and you are losing hooks as well as line, the most obvious reason is, your line isn’t strong enough for the job. You should replace the line with a stronger one.
Alternatively, you can use a stronger leader, at least a couple of feet long. Remember, if you are aiming for big fishes, just the leader won’t keep the line from breaking.
Snag fishing is controversial, as I mentioned. The reason is, it is kind of inhumane in a way. Think of it this way; you are not giving the fish a fair chase, a fair fight, or a fair chance. You are not catching a fish that bite into your lure. Rather, you are invading their habitat and yanking them, with barely any chance to escape or survive.
Yes, you cannot just catch and release a fish when snag fishing. The majority of the fishes you catch will die. So, only snag fish when you are determined to eat whatever you catch or use them as bait.
Even then, snag fishing is harshly limited, if not strictly restricted, in most of the states. There are exceptions, though. Some fish species like the paddlefish will never be interested in biting a lure. So, you can legally snag fish them if your state law allows it. Be sure to check it out. Have a good one.