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Subject: Letter regarding snagging sent to F&G Commission —
Name: Ken Jones
Date: Jan-9-07 12:08pm

Letter from UPSAC sent to California Fish and Game Commission —

California Fish and Game Commission
1416 Ninth Street
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Dear Members of the California Fish and Game Commission,

As the leading representative for pier and shore anglers in California, United Pier and Shore Anglers of California (UPSAC) strongly supports a regulation revision in regards to the practice of intentionally snagging sport fish. 

Intentional snagging of California corbina, and several additional surf inhabiting species, is a practice engaged in by both pier and shore-based anglers in southern California. As it entails a method to hook a fish without attempting to have the fish voluntarily take or eat the bait it should already be illegal but this type of “snagging” has been largely overlooked. 

This practice is currently regulated in freshwater through various regulations including the definition of angling, various hook size limits, spacing of weights, as well as in species-specific regulations regarding striped bass, sturgeon and salmon. For the most part though this practice is legal in saltwater and raises more than just conservation question; it can be a public hazard as well as a negative public perception issue for sport fishing as a whole.

Intentional snagging is generally practiced on piers while sight fishing with a ganion of multiple unbaited treble hooks and a weight. The method is such that as a fish swims by the ganion, the person positions the line close to the fish and then jerks up on the rod as hard as possible gaffing the fish generally in the belly or side. 

The most common species of fish that are hooked are California corbina, yellowfin croaker, spotfin croaker and striped mullet. However, due to the random nature of snagging it is common for California halibut, kelp bass, barred sand bass, white seabass, and various other sport species that have size limits to be snagged. Typically these fish cannot be safely released after sustaining the injuries associated with snagging.

The most common location for snagging is on public piers. Piers are frequented not only by anglers, but also by the general public as well. When a snagger sharply jerks up on the rod and misses a fish, this often causes the rig loaded with treble hooks to be launched out of the water and up onto the pier. This creates a safety hazard for the angler as well as those around him. 

The same situation occurs at our local beaches with the same type of rig that can very easily injure someone who does not see the snagger’s line. This unsporting practice endangers not only tourists and local member of the community, it injures the image of anglers as a whole. Since piers and shores are the most common area of interaction between anglers and the general public, it is important that this interaction be positive in nature whenever possible.

UPSAC would like to propose that the regulations be changed to stop the practice of intentionally snagging California corbina, yellowfin croaker, spotfin croaker, white seabass and other associated “sport species” that are already give recognition by various size and limit regulations. 

The regulation would mimic the regulations already established in regards to striped bass, sturgeon and salmon. UPSAC would also like to propose that a regulation regarding limiting the number of treble hooks allowed to be attached directly to the line of an angler be reduced to two (2). The size of the hooks attached directly to the line should also be limited in gap size as to inhibit snagging of the fish. 

The difficulty in snagging regulations is the recognition that snagging may have its place in regards to the capture of baitfish through the use of so called bait rigs such as Sabiki, Lucky Lura and other brands. However, the hooks on these rigs are small, are single hooks, and are designed to attract the baitfish as do other lures. In addition, they do minimal damage to the fish in order to keep them alive for use as live bait (as opposed to the mortal injuries inflicted by the rigs commonly used for snagging).

It is the goal of UPSAC to ensure that current and future generations of anglers are able to enjoy fishing from California’s piers, shores and jetties. 

The practice of snagging puts pressure not only on the natural resources, but the public’s perception and sentiment towards anglers. It is the responsibility of the fishing community to do what we can to ensure that the natural resources remain viable and that the public image of anglers is respected. The public’s safety also must be addressed and protected. 

If you would like more information regarding our organization please feel free to visit our website or contact us directly via mail at the return address listed above.


Kenneth Jones
President, United Pier and Shore Anglers of California


Subject: The response — rejection
Name: Ken Jones
Date: Jan-9-07 12:15pm

Recommends banning the practice of snagging fish; particularly surf fish.

Reject There is no clear way to determine whether an angler is intentionally “snagging” his or her fish, nor is it always clear when or if the fish intended to take a bait its mouth if the fish is not hooked in the mouth. 

To draft a regulation that would prohibit snagging, the angler would have to be fishing in a manner that constitutes snagging activity, AND the fish would have to be snagged without it ever intending to take a bait or jig that is nearby. 

While snagging is generally prohibited in fresh water, foul hooking of fish occasionally occurs when fishing with bait or jigs for game fish in ocean waters. For example, California barracuda will often strike at a lure but the hook will lodge someplace other than in its mouth. If the proposed change were accepted, and if the barracuda in this scenario were retained, it would constitute a violation unless rules were drafted to specifically exempt such a situation where an angler did not intend to “snag” a fish. 

Consequently, from an enforcement and regulatory drafting standpoint, it is difficult to differentiate whether a fish taken on a hook actually ‘intended’ to take a bait or jig in its mouth, or was snagged without ntending to take a bait or jig. Furthermore, bait fish are often attracted by a shiny jig but may not actually bite at it. They are deliberately snagged and used as live bait. 

The proposal to ban snagging in ocean waters has been made many times in years past, but for marine waters the Department believes that it would be extremely difficult to draft regulations that would adequately cover all possible scenarios without adding confusion and complexity to the regulations. Rather than proceed down this slippery slope, the Department recommends using bag limits, closed seasons, or other management tools to limit overall harvest as needed.

Additionally, current regulations do prohibit snagging of species in ocean waters that are of particular concern (striped bass, sturgeon, trout and salmon). 

Where other species of ocean fish are alleged to be at particularized risk from snagging, the Department recommends that the alleged problem be substantiated and that regulations be narrowly tailored to the species and fishing areas involved, and drafted in a manner that will allow adequate enforcement.


Subject: The last statement of the response begs the ?
Name: dompfa ben
Date: Jan-9-07 12:26pm

...begs the question:


When will the Dept. create species-specific and area-specific regulations to ban snagging?

Less Drama...More DOMPFA.


Subject: ever been to the wharf
Name: Sin_Coast
Date: Jan-9-07 1:55pm

Ever been to the wharf 2 in Monterey when those "lost" cohos come in? Snag city. Losers standing on top of the rail, sight-casting+snagging salmon with baitless trebles. Not to mention coho are C+R only! Makes me want to accidentally push them off the rail.


Turns ARE what you eat!


Subject: It seems our suggestion was rejected
Name: dompfa ben
Date: Jan-9-07 12:21pm

...and I'm not sure why. While the first one regarding the banning of snagging had a few salient counterarguments, I can't quite figure out how it would be difficult to enforce someone with 4 treble hooks tied together at the end of a line with a big piece of yellow yarn attached up the line.

Less Drama...More DOMPFA.


Subject: I wonder if the Commission even read the letter.
Name: ken Jones
Date: Jan-9-07 12:27pm

I think they ask for opinions from the Departments and that response sounds like it came from the Department. Illogical, lazy, and stupid—one or all.


Subject: Perhaps we do like Coastside and flood the ...
Name: ken Jones
Date: Jan-9-07 12:33pm

Director's inbox with email demanding that the snagging be stopped. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the only thing that gets attention is $$, the right friends (politically powerful), or direct and massive mail directed at specific targets such as this.


Subject: Re: Letter regarding snagging sent to F&G Commissi
Name: raider73
Date: Jan-9-07 1:55pm


Subject: oops, is this mainly a SoCal problem???
Name: raider73
Date: Jan-9-07 1:58pm

I have never seen people do this at NorCal piers. Closest thing to this method is the sabiki, but that is different b/c most of the time the fish is hooked in the mouth.


Subject: Mainly So Cal and mainly corbina but...
Name: ken Jones
Date: Jan-9-07 2:58pm

as dompfa ben and I walked off the Goleta Pier a few months ago lo and behold there was a snagger with a seatrout (young, illegal white seabass) in his bucket. So it's not just one species.