Perfecting the Fine Art of Snagging

Discussion in 'Outdoor Articles' started by vlparrish, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. vlparrish

    vlparrish New Member

    Bedford, Kentucky
    Snagging for rough fish has gained in popularity over the last few years. Many states don’t have a snagging season. Fortunately here in Kentucky we have a snagging season that starts on February first and runs till the tenth day of May. Each state has it’s own regulations regarding snagging, so be sure to read up on it before going out. Here in Kentucky snagging is only allowed from the bank and we have a two paddlefish limit. There are many opinions about the gear required to snag, but any rod that won’t break when jerking a treble hook and decent sized weight will work. Personally, since limited by the state’s regulations to bank fishing , I like a long surf rod between ten and fifteen feet and a large capacity spinning reel. I use thirty to fifty pound mono, a 5/0 to 10/0 treble hook and a 3 to 8 ounce sinker.

    Fish can be snagged in just about any spot that has water, but I prefer to target the paddlefish and they like deep water, usually eddy holes. The mouths of creeks and dams are excellent spots to locate paddlefish. When snagging I like to start out keeping the rig down deep with a shorter jerk and allowing the rig to hit bottom again between each jerk. Then work my way up the water column. At times the fish can be hit up high in the water column and you need to jerk two or three times straight in a row without allowing the rig to sink between jerks to hit fish. It is best to keep a fairly tight drag, so when you do hit a fish you get a good hookset, but you still need enough slip to keep you from line failure when the fish makes a good run. When the fish is hooked it is best to bring them up as soon as possible. The paddlefish are smart fighters and will dive under a ledge or up against structure when given a chance. It is good to pump the rod up and reel down to put the minimum amount of stress on the line as possible when fighting a snagged fish. Paddlefish have a natural handle at their tail section that makes it nice when landing them, but gaffs and nets are often used as well.

    Vernon Parrish with a nice two fish limit

    Paddlefish make for excellent table fair when prepared right. I clean my paddlefish much like I clean catfish. I start by cutting the throat where the gills come together, this lets the fish bleed out and makes the meat really white. Then after I give the fish five to ten minutes to bleed out I start fileting them. I begin the fileting process by cutting the entire filet (skin and all) off the fish first. Then I lay the filet on a flat surface, in my case a patio table used just for a cleaning station. Laying the knife parallel to the table, I start at the tail section and cut the meat off the filet leaving about a quarter of an inch of meat on the hide. This method removes all but just a little of the red meat from the filet, leaving only the bit that runs along the lateral line. Then I flip the filet over and lay it on the remaining hide while I trim off any red meat I missed. The red running along the lateral line can be removed by making a V like incision along each side of the lateral line.
    The fish can then be washed thoroughly and cooked, soaked in salt water or frozen for later use.

    I fix my paddlefish two ways, fried and grilled, I have also tried baked, but it is my least favorite. If I plan on frying the fish I will also split the filet once or twice to thin the meat a little. When grilling the fish I like to leave it as whole as possible. I like to drain as much water off my fish as possible before cooking. Then I sprinkle it with McCormick’s Lemon and Herb seasoning. I get my indoor electric grill (similar to George Foreman) preheated and spray it with a nonstick cooking spray. I like the lemon flavored kind, but any kind will do. Then I place the seasoned filets on and set the grill on high. I cook the filets ten to twelve minutes depending on the thickness of the filet.

  2. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Little Rock, AR
    Did you ever hear of a method of bleeding a paddlefish by cutting a circle around its tail, then twisting and pulling so that the cord comes out of the 'backbone'? I've never caught a paddlefish, much less cleaned, cooked, or eaten one, so I personally don't know, but I was told that removal of this cord improves the taste of the meat. :0a28::0a28:

  3. trapperP

    trapperP New Member

    Haven't dressed a spoonbill in many years but let me offer up a suggestion that I use and it works - at least on anything I have ever tried it on, from catfish to salmon.
    I use an electric fillet knife, cut in behind the gill opening down to the backbone, then turn and head for the tail, allowing the knife to ride against the backbone. Go all the way to the tail but don't cut it off, instead flip the fillet over and starting at the tail end, let the knife slide between the skin and the fillet. I wish I could show you as that would be much better than trying to tell you but this method really works well for me. I think my son could fillet the minners out of the bait pail but he has had a lot of practice.
    Be sure and post back how it works for you if you get a chance to try it.
    Best regards,