Here’s Aron Stone of Pawhuska, Oklahoma with a new state record paddlefish from the Arkansas River that weighed 125 pounds, 7 ounces. An impressive beast to be sure, but I’m not totally sure how I feel about the way folks go about catching paddlefish in the areas where they live.
As plankton feeders, paddlefish won’t bite anything when they run upstream to spawn, so snagging with treble hooks is allowed. While perfectly legal, for some reason, this just sounds kinda crude and barbaric to me but then again, it’s really the same thing that happens when sockeye (red) salmon run. They’re also plankton feeders and really don’t bite well in freshwater, so legalized snagging is acceptable and widely-practiced. You just snag reds in the mouth with beads, yarn or Coho Flies instead of gut hooking them with trebles (I’ve done it).
I guess I really shouldn’t knock something I don’t know all that much about, but paddlefish snagging just doesn’t seem all that cool. But maybe I’ll have to give it a shot someday…just so I can comment more intelligently about it in the future. Maybe there are plenty of ’em and the populations can handle the snagging. Perhaps I’m way off base here (wouldn’t be the first time!) and these are just the ignorant thoughts of one West Coaster…
What do y’all think?