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For other uses, see Snag (disambiguation).

Snagging, also known as snag fishing, snatching, snatch fishing, or foul hooking, is a method of fishing that entails catching a fish using hooks without the fish having to take the bait with their mouth. This is achieved by pulling the fishing line out of the water very quickly as soon as any movement is felt on the line, with the intention of piercing the fish in the flesh with the hook. Weighted lures with multiple hooks are often used to increase chances of success.[1]

Some 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 to strike natural or artificial lures, the use of snagging techniques is often discouraged or prohibited as it is viewed as violating the doctrine 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 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 Legal only rough fish I.e carp.[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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Snagged". Fishbio. Retrieved July 27, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Paddlefish - Questions and Answers". North Dakota Game and Fish Department. 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ Merwin, John (June 1994), "The Sportsman's Dollar, Part 3", Field & Stream (New York, NY) 99 (2): 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. Retrieved July 27, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Alabama Fishing Limits and General Regulations". Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. 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. ^ "Technique-Specific Fishing Regulations". Arkansas Game & Fish Commission. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations". California Department of Fish and Game. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  10. ^ "Colorado Wildlife Regulations Ch 01" (PDF). Colorado Division of Wildlife. 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 if 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. 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. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  18. ^ [1][dead link]
  19. ^ [2][dead link]
  20. ^ [3][dead link]
  21. ^ "Paddlefish Snagging / Fishing Regulations / Fishing / KDWPT - KDWPT". Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  22. ^ "2010 Fishing Guide:Fishing Regulations" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-11-20. 
  23. ^ "Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries". Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  24. ^ "Laws & Rules: Maine IF&W" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  25. ^ [4][dead link]
  26. ^ [5][dead link]
  27. ^ [6][dead link]
  28. ^ "Minnesota Fishing Regulations 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  29. ^ [7][dead link]
  30. ^ "General Fishing Methods | Missouri Department of Conservation". Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  31. ^ "FWP Administrative Regions with Fishing Districts in Color" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  32. ^ "2015 : Information for Regulations" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  33. ^ [8][dead link]
  34. ^ [9][dead link]
  35. ^ "License Information" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  36. ^ [10][dead link]
  37. ^ "2015-2016 New York Freshwater Fishing Regulations – The Official New York Department of Environmental Conservation Freshwater Fishing Guide | New York Freshwater Fishing Guide |". Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  38. ^ [11][dead link]
  39. ^ [12][dead link]
  40. ^ "ODNR Division of Wildlife - Hunting, Fishing, Trapping, Birding, Wildlife Viewing & Research in Ohio". Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  41. ^ [13][dead link]
  42. ^ [14][dead link]
  43. ^ [15][dead link]
  44. ^ [16][dead link]
  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. ^ [17][dead link]
  49. ^ [18][dead link]
  50. ^ "2015 Vermont Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Guide – The Official Vermont Fish and Wildlife Regulations Guide | Vermont Fish and Wildlife Regulations |". Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  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. ^ [19][dead link]
  55. ^ "Wyoming Game & Fish Department" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-27.