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From a beginning fisher:

Can I, say, float a raft out into the middle of a lake, with several fishing lines/hooks/bait hanging into the lake, with the whole thing tethered to the shore by a long rope, and hope to catch some fish?

In other words, can I put some baited hooks in the middle of the lake and walk away for a few hours and then pull the raft back with some caught fish, or will they have gotten away during that time?

Or is it necessary to cast line out from a pole with reel and start reeling in as soon as a fish starts tugging the line?

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You have a zero-percent acceptance rate. I think you will find that you will get more answers to your questions if you accept start checking answers as correct. –  theJollySin Jan 3 '13 at 23:13

2 Answers 2

There are a few techniques that amount to just this. Trotline are essentially long lines with multiple baited hooks on them. YoYos are spring-activated contraptions that you set out and do the job of setting the hook. Finally, jug fishing involves tying line to a jug or large float. In general, these techniques are used mainly for catfish, though crappie, stripped bass, and other species can be had on them as well.

It is worth noting that these may be frowned upon by some sport fishermen since trotlines especially can foul casting gear. Generally these are not something you would do if you "fish for fun", since part of the fun is the technique of presenting bait to the fish and battling it in. If fishing for food, they can be productive techniques. Note these may not be legal or may have certain seasons and restrictions in some states or areas. Check local regulations, which often mention these techniques by name.

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This isn't something a real fisherman would do, so if you really want to learn to fish don't do it. If you are fishing to survive it might be worth a shot.

A fish is much less likely to get away if you are there tending the poles because you can set the hook and then keep tension on the line while you reel it in. Obviously if the fish has several hours to try and get off of a slack line, it has a better chance of getting away.

There are many states where this is not even legal so check your local laws before you do it. Also, if this is a recreational lake you might return to a lynch mob if a water skier gets snagged by your unattended nest of hooks that is floating in the middle of the lake.

In summary, unless you are near death this seems like a pretty hair brained idea. Just throw a couple lines in, take a seat, crack a few beers and enjoy the scenery.

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