Ive used hand lines many times, when fishing for catfish in California growing up, All rules pertaining to amount of hooks applies, and you have to be tending the line at all times and not leave it unattended, or it would be classed as a set line. You dont have a rod/pole to play the fish,
Reply by: El Jefe Posted: 10/6/2012 7:35:05 PM Points: 101
Interesting question regulatedhobbyist.
Last year I met an individual out ice fishing that had baits down five different ice holes at once. When I questioned what he was doing, he pointed out that this practice was perfectly legal. When I checked the regulations, I saw that he was, in fact, absolutely correct. (He DID have a second rod stamp and could have legally been fishing six holes at once).
My guess would be that he had one common line with three separate leaders going to three different holes, and a second common line with two separate leaders going into another two holes.
Every time he caught a fish he would be pulling in the common line which would remove all three (or two) hooks from the water at the same time.
It would be similar to having a second rod stamp and fishing from shore with three separate hooks per line. You would have six baits in the water at any given time but every time you reeled in a line you would be bringing in three of those baits.
I don't know how a ranger would interpret that in an ice fishing situation, but it would be interesting to find out.
Reply by: El Jefe Posted: 10/7/2012 9:28:57 AM Points: 101
You're absolutely correct. The law states that a fisherman may have no more than three hooks (with common shank) on each line. He had two lines that ran across the ice. At each hole, he would run a dropper line to the single hook at the end. Thus, he WAS completely legal as he had a second rod stamp. (In fact, he could have been fishing out of three holes simultaneously). Within the letter of the law, but perhaps not the spirit. It would allow someone "dead-sticking" sucker baits for lakers to cover a lot of area at once. (God help the snowmobiler that might come by and hook the line with his skid :-)
My experience is that with a hand line you have a better change at feeling light strikes and depending on conditiions you can be more productive with a hand line than with a rod and reel. I can tell you that they are way more productive when fishing rough waters due to the sensetivity. You'll feel strikes on a hand line that you'll miss with a rod and reel when the boat is pitching up and down. If nothing else, it's worth trying just for the experience as long as it's legal on the water you're fishing.