Anglers in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia will find themselves inadvertently foul hooking a fish at some point when casting a line. While the intentional snagging of fish without bait is legal in some states, conversely, the fishing practice is banned in other states. It is essential to understand what foul hooking a fish means. Know how to handle the catch, and if it is legal to harvest. What exactly is a foul hooked fish?

What Does Foul Hooked Mean In Fishing

The term foul hooked means hooking into a fish without the fish eating the bait or a lure. Whether intentional or unintentional, a fish becomes hooked in a place other than the mouth is deemed foul hooked.

In some locations, foul hooking is standard practice, particularly during the trout and salmon spawning season when they enter streams and rivers. The hook style is called a snagging hook.

Can You Keep A Foul Hooked Fish

The regulations are highly dependent on the state. While some states entirely ban the harvesting of foul hooked fish, others allow anglers to keep fish intentionally snagged. 

There are modifications to where, how, and when a fish can legally be snagged or foul hooked to confuse the matter further. We will get into more details on Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. 

Why Do I Keep Foul Hooking Fish

There is no rhyme or reason to accidentally snagging fish. It is essential to understand that when a hook is in the vicinity of a school of fish moving erratically, they simply swim into the hook and become caught.

A second reason for inadvertently snagging fish is by reeling in the line or trolling lures. Hooks moved rapidly, find unsuspecting fish and hook them as it rushes through the water. 

What Do You Do If You Foul Hook A Fish

When handling a foul hooked fish, the goal is to minimize the damage already inflicted so it can be released and survive. 

Fish that become hooked in the gills are unlikely to survive due to the trauma from pulling the hook free. Unfortunately, some fish will not live to see another day.

When a fish is hooked in the side, the face, or the tail, gently pull the hook free to avoid creating large open wounds. The majority of fish will survive, becoming foul hooked. 

Do Foul Hooked Fish Count In A Match

The answer to this question varies considerably based on the state and the type of tournament the angler is competing in. 

When entering a fishing match, understand all the rules before heading out on the boat or to the shoreline to know what is and what is not allowable to weigh in fish for a prize. 

Is It Legal To Intentionally Foul Hook A Fish In Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina

Intentionally snagging fish in the states of Georgia and North Carolina is against the law. All fish that are deliberately or unintentionally foul hooked must be released back into the water. Fines will be administered if the department of natural resources witnesses the snagging and keeping of fish. 

However, the South Carolina laws differ. In South Carolina, intentionally foul hooking fish is legal except within 1,000 feet below a hydroelectric facility. In addition to the hydroelectric facility exemption, it is unlawful to snag trout species. 

Remember to keep the regulations in your mind to avoid receiving hefty fines during a fun day of fishing. 

Now You Know The In’s And Out’s Of Foul Hooked Fish

Following the regulations of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia is simple. The best way to catch fish is by hooking them in the mouth; however, even the most experienced anglers accidentally foul hook fish from time to time. When a fish is accidentally snagged in Georgia, and North Carolina, do your best to release it in the best condition possible.