Snag ‘em, Tag ‘em and Bag ‘em

March is a month that’s full of fun events– St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, Easter– but the one event that I can never get enough of is paddlefish snagging season.

Before I was introduced to paddlefish snagging, the only type of snags I was familiar with were the kind that took place on my pantyhose.

It was spring break of my junior year in college and my friends and I were heading to the river. During our drive, my friends tried to explain the snagging process.

“What do you mean you don’t use bait? You just drag your hook across the water and catch a fish?” I said. Per usual, my naivety brought about hearty laughs throughout the car, but I was so curious, I didn’t mind.

At the time, I was living on a Top-Ramen-soup-every-night kind of budget, so I borrowed a pole from my boyfriend­. As our group set up along the river, I must have looked like an adolescent boy at his first school dance, awkwardly trying to mimic everyone else’s movements while trying not to bring too much attention to myself. After a few deep breaths, I whipped the pole back and cast my line. “Where did it go?” I said. By the look of bewilderment on my boyfriend’s face, I knew it could have only gone one place– in a tree. Luckily, the angler next to me was in a charitable mood and helped free my hook loose of the limbs. Now, I was more determined than ever.

My first paddlefish.
What seemed like a million casts later, I had finally snagged one! My boyfriend quickly yelled “FISH ON!” Inexperienced, I let the fish take line, and I began running with it. As fellow anglers alongside the shore tried to hurriedly reel in their lines, I was busting through the crowd like a groupie at a rock concert who just got sight of the lead guitarist. I was not about to let that fish go, not after all of my hard work. Once hooked, this fish put up a good fight, but obviously it didn’t know I was a Taurus and stubborn was my middle name, too. A few huffs and puffs later, I finally held my prized fish and just as it was hooked, so was I.

If there is one motto I live by in the outdoors, it’s “never harvest anything you don’t plan on eating.” Since my freezer was now packed full with 10 pounds of this fish, I knew I needed a recipe for cooking it that I wouldn’t grow tired of after a few meals. Grilled fish was tasty, and baked with lemon  is even better, but I wanted something with a little more pizzazz. Tapping back to my California roots, one thing came to mind: fish tacos.

Just as snagging became one of our yearly traditions, so did my feasts of paddlefish tacos. Time-consuming, but tasty, my recipe for Paddlefish Tacos is sure to make even the pickiest of eaters ask for seconds. For a copy of the recipe, visit the “recipes” tab at the top of the page.

For information on the Kansas paddlefish snagging season, including snagging locations, and how to obtain a permit, click here.

Till next time­– peace, love and paddlefish.

-Accidental Huntress


  1. Sean Self3/11/2013

    Good Article! If you think paddlefish are fun, you need to put a tarpon trip on your bucket list!