How To Catch Paddlefish

Paddlefish is a large archaic freshwater fish with a rostrum that makes it distinct in appearance, smooth skin, no bones, and teeth, popular among the anglers in North America. Unlike many other specimens, this fish requires a specific method to angle. We all know it as snagging. Here we will step-by-step explain how to catch Paddlefish, along with the gear and tackle you need to snag it.

Paddlefish Fishing Gear and Tackle

  • Stiff, extremely sturdy, long heavy action fishing rod, about 8-10 feet
  • Braided fishing line, 80- 100-pound test line
  • A massive spinning reel with high-level line capacity and a precise drag system
  • Multiple treble hooks, #8 or #10
  • Weight ranging from 2 to 10 ounces

How To Catch Paddlefish With 9 Simple Steps

How To Catch Paddlefish
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Step #1 – It’s All About the Perfect Location

More than angling the Paddlefish or arranging the equipment to hook this large fish, it’s hard to find the right place where they are residing or migrating. And you cannot get these fishes in random locations. Thorough research is required to know which particular freshwater water bodies have Paddlefish in them.

To know that, try to contact experienced paddlefish anglers. You can also talk to the people related to fish and tackle shops as they have a way more better understanding of such locations than anyone else. Or simply join an online forum where different anglers, both beginners and the most skilled, share all their experiences and answer things they are asked and they know. Cracking the location with ample Paddlefish will for sure get you yours, multiple in an hour or two.

Step #2 – Not Just the Location, Be Selective of The Season

Be specific about the season as well when it comes to snagging Paddlefish. And what can be better than the spawning season? It’s always the best. In most cases, you will have permission to catch the Paddlefish when they are spawning in specific locations. We emphasized perfect location, right?

So, if it’s the right location, there will be nothing illegal or nothing about doing it without permission. The site that permits you to snag the Paddlefish, take a tour well-prepared, somewhere between the beginning of March. The spawning season will continue till the end of April. So, you have two entire months to enjoy snagging the Paddlefish.

Step #3 – Set the Tackle Up To Catch Paddlefish

After arranging all the equipment, you specifically require to catch the Paddlefish, you will need to set them up one by one. It’s a simple process. The only somewhat tricky thing you need to do is tying the treble hook to the mainline. There is a specific way to do that. Otherwise, it’s a simple setup.

  • Get the rod
  • Install the reel and spool it up with the fishing line
  • Take the line through the line guides
  • Tie the weight with your preferred knot at the dangling tip
  • Knot the treble hook

Step #4 – Tying the Treble Hook

We have already mentioned the specific tying of the treble hook. So, make a loop on the mainline, right about 8-12 inches above the weight, depending on how shallow or deep you are going to snag the Paddlefish. Take your hook in one hand and get that loop through its eye. It should be easy as you are using a big hook.

Now pull the loop, the double line, and take it down towards one of the three hooks of the treble hook. At this point, the loop should be at the center/joint of the three points. Now, take the dangling string with weight, wrap it up a few times around the shank of the treble hook, from bottom to up, and pull the string down. And your treble hook is up to snag the Paddlefish the right way, always from the right angle.

Step #5 – Change the Weight According to Where the Fish Is

Just like the treble hooks, you will require keeping different weights with you. Thus, the range 2-ounce to 8-10 ounces. Paddlefish are bottom feeders, so the more you are sure about them being right at the bottom of the water body, tie the 7-10 ounces weight to the dangling tip. If it’s in the middle, keep the weight somewhere between 3-6 ounces.

The 2-ounce weight is for the Paddlefish swimming right on the water surface, peeping through the water.

Step #6 – Gather A Lot of Arm Strength

Paddlefish snagging is all about the immense arm strength. You are casting in a certain way with full force, then continuing jerking the rod every 10 seconds. You will need a tight fishing line with absolutely no slack when you throw the hook in the water. Otherwise, the hook will not hit the Paddlefish and pierce it with proper velocity but just collide and miss.

It’s better if the fish is smacked right in the mouth because your struggle and fight with it will be way less intense than if the hook stabs its tail. That way, the Paddlefish moves way too freely for you to get hold of it easily. Rather, the pulling continues longer, testing your gear, strength, patience, and skill.

Step #7 – Cast In

Let us keep it simple, hold your rod tight, sweep it towards your back from left to right, and then with all you might, bring it with the same sweeping motion from right to left and cast in. Keep the tackle about 5-6 inches and let it slack as little as possible when you cast in. Let your throwing force release the line, and after you have cast in, immediately control the line slack by reeling it in. Keeping the line taut is the key to successfully snagging the Paddlefish.

Step #8 – Maintain A Certain Angle After Casting and Jerk

Your treble hook is right in the water, deep or shallow, depending on the weight. Now comes the most tiring point. You have to jerk the rod with full force continuously. You are not holding the fish rod straight but slightly angled; keep that in mind. Now, jerk the slightly angled rod from left to right. Your body language will be as if you are half-heartedly squatting.

Squat, jerk the rod and continue reeling in the line. And that is what you call snagging the Paddlefish the right way. When you continue executing the same motion, the hook will maintain a particular movement into the water and finally pierce the Paddlefish roaming close to it.

Step #9 – The Moment the Motion Stops

You are jerking the rod at an angle at a certain motion, pace, and rhythm, and the moment the Paddlefish is hooked, the rhythm lapses. The fish is trapped, and you can feel the drag. Now it is all up to your strength and the fish’s ability, whether it will be yours or it will successfully escape.

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A paddlefish is not a fish lured by bait but hooked through a certain method and lots of strength. It’s a testament to an angler’s patience and passion. And the output is supreme in the form of a fun experience and a hooked giant Paddlefish after much hard work.

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