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Snagging, also known as snag fishing, snatching, snatch fishing, jagging (Australia), or foul hooking, is a fishing technique for catching fish that uses large hooks tethered to a fishing line to pierce or snag the flesh of the fish, without the fish taking bait with its mouth. This is achieved by vigorously pulling on the line when movement is felt. Weighted multi-hook rigs can be used to increase chances of success,[1] and modern technologies such as underwater video camera can also be used to visually aid and time the snagging.

Some herbivorous/algaevorous fish species, such as paddlefish, are not attracted to bait or lures as they eat plankton. While these fish can be taken using nets or spears, snagging is also used.[2] However, for fish species that can be enticed with baits or lures, the use of snagging techniques is often discouraged or prohibited as it is viewed as violating the principle of fair chase[3] and has been associated with social problems and overfishing.[4]


After first casting a hook into the water, a snagger will wait until a fish is sighted, at which time they will reel in the hook until it is positioned above the fish. Once the fish is in line with the hook, the snagger then yanks on the line to "snag" the fish before attempting to reel it in. When fishing in a clear river, most snaggers will be able to observe their target's shadow or wake in the water to determine where their hooks need to be and when. To keep view of the hook, some snaggers use a brightly colored ribbon or cloth near the hook.


United States[edit]

Snagging, like other methods of fishing, is controlled by the wildlife regulating agency of each state. A list of the legality for each state follows.

State Status
Alabama Prohibited, with exceptions[5]
Alaska Prohibited, with exceptions[6]
Arizona Prohibited, with exceptions[7]
Arkansas Prohibited, with exceptions[8]
California Prohibited, with exceptions[9]
Colorado Prohibited, with exceptions[10]
Connecticut Prohibited, with exceptions[11]
Delaware Prohibited, with exceptions[12]
District of Columbia Illegal[13]
Florida Unknown[14]
Georgia Illegal[15]
Hawaii Legal, but prohibited in certain areas[16]
Idaho Illegal[17]
Illinois Legal for some species during certain seasons[18]
Indiana Illegal[19]
Iowa Prohibited, with exceptions[20]
Kansas Legal for paddlefish[21]
Kentucky Legal for some species[22]
Louisiana Prohibited, with exceptions[23]
Maine Prohibited, with exceptions[24]
Maryland Illegal[25]
Massachusetts Illegal[26]
Michigan Illegal[27]
Minnesota Illegal[28]
Mississippi Unknown[29]
Missouri Prohibited, with exceptions[30]
Montana Prohibited, with exceptions[31]
Nebraska Prohibited, with exceptions[32]
Nevada Prohibited, with exceptions[33]
New Hampshire Prohibited in freshwater[34]
New Jersey Prohibited, with exceptions[35]
New Mexico Prohibited, with exceptions[36]
New York Prohibited, with exceptions[37]
North Carolina Illegal[38]
North Dakota Prohibited, with exceptions[39]
Ohio Prohibited, with exceptions[40]
Oklahoma Prohibited, with exceptions[41]
Oregon Prohibited, with exceptions[42]
Pennsylvania Illegal[43]
Rhode Island Illegal[44]
South Carolina Legal, but prohibited in certain areas[45]
South Dakota Prohibited, with exceptions[46]
Tennessee Prohibited, with exceptions[47]
Texas Illegal[48]
Utah Illegal[49]
Vermont Illegal[50]
Virginia Illegal[51]
Washington Illegal[52]
West Virginia Permitted for certain species[53]
Wisconsin Illegal[54]
Wyoming Illegal[55]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the use of a stroke-haul or snatch, which includes any device designed to foul hook salmon, trout or other freshwater fish, in prohibited by section 1 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.[56] However, this legislation rationalised a number of previous Acts of Parliament, and the use of such devices was originally banned in 1851, although at the time it only applied to the taking of salmon and trout, but was subsequently extended to include all freshwater fish. The logic behind this was that foul-hooking was not a method that was legitimate either for commercial or sporting purposes, but was used by poachers, and this was reiterated by the Blediscoe Report published in 1961.[57]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Snagged". Fishbio. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  2. ^ "Paddlefish - Questions and Answers". North Dakota Game and Fish Department. 2012. Archived from the original on June 24, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  3. ^ Merwin, John (June 1994), "The Sportsman's Dollar, Part 3", Field & Stream, New York, NY, vol. 99, no. 2, pp. 64–65, retrieved July 27, 2015
  4. ^ Waldman, John (2004). "Snagging or Snatching: Subtle It's Not". 100 Weird Ways to Catch Fish. Stackpole Books. p. 152. ISBN 9780811731799. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  5. ^ "Alabama Fishing Limits and General Regulations". Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 30 August 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  6. ^ "Sport Fish Regulations". Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  7. ^ "Fishing Glossary". Arizona Game and Fish Department. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  8. ^ "Alternative Fishing Methods". Arkansas Game & Fish Commission. 2018. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  9. ^ "Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations". California Department of Fish and Game. Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  10. ^ "Colorado Wildlife Regulations Ch 01" (PDF). Colorado Division of Wildlife. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  11. ^ "DEP: Inland Sport Fishing Definitions". Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  12. ^ "Gamefish and General Freshwater Fishing Restrictions". Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  13. ^ "Regulated Fishing Activities". District Department of the Environment. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  14. ^ "Fish and Wildlife Research Institute". Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Freshwater and Trout Fishing Methods". Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  16. ^ "Fishing - Common Questions". Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  17. ^ "General Fishing Season Information" (PDF). Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 May 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  18. ^ "2010 Illinois Fishing Information". p. 5. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011.
  19. ^ "General Fishing Regulations". Archived from the original on September 1, 2010.
  20. ^ "2010 Iowa Fishing Regulations" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 27, 2010.
  21. ^ "Paddlefish Snagging / Fishing Regulations / Fishing / KDWPT - KDWPT". Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  22. ^ [1] Archived November 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
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  24. ^ "Laws & Rules: Maine IF&W" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  25. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2010-09-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  29. ^ [4] Archived June 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ "General Fishing Methods | Missouri Department of Conservation". Archived from the original on 2012-06-24. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  31. ^ "FWP Administrative Regions with Fishing Districts in Color". Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  32. ^ "2015 : Information for Regulations" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-13. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  33. ^ [5] Archived July 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ [6] Archived December 6, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
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  36. ^ [7] Archived July 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
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  38. ^ [8] Archived August 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ [9] Archived May 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ "ODNR Division of Wildlife - Hunting, Fishing, Trapping, Birding, Wildlife Viewing & Research in Ohio". Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  41. ^ [10] Archived January 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
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  43. ^ [12] Archived March 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^ [13] Archived July 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  45. ^ "Unlawful Actions & Penalties Associated with Title 50 Chapter 13 Protection of Fish". South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  46. ^ "South Dakota 2011 Fishing Handbook" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  47. ^ "Tennessee Fishing guide 2015-2016" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  48. ^ [14] Archived July 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  49. ^ [15] Archived August 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
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  51. ^ "Virginia Marine Resources Commission : Recreational Fishing Regulations for Virginia's Marine Waters" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  52. ^ "Washington State 2010-2011 Sportfishing Rules Pamphlet" (PDF). Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  53. ^ "Regulations - Other Methods of Fishing" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  54. ^ [16] Archived April 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  55. ^ "Wyoming Game & Fish Department" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-01-05. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  56. ^ "Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975" (PDF). UK Government. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  57. ^ Howarth, William (1987). Freshwater Fishery Law. Financial Training Publications. ISBN 978-1-85185-030-3.