FOR CATFISH AND CATFISH TROTLINES
(Please note, this is the
correct term and spelling
of trotline, it is not a trot line or trout line).
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Trotlines are basically a
means of getting a lot
of hooks in the water with a few people. I love fishing trotlines
you can really pull in large numbers of good sized fish, They are great
fun to run. The only drawbacks of trotlines are that if you are not
they can be somewhat cumbersome to get setup and in the right location.
They can also be dangerous if you are not careful.
The key to trotlines like
any other method is location.
First you have to locate a good spot to set the trotline out, BUT with
trotline you have to consider that you are going to have 150 Feet of
and 25 hooks dangling across the water. One of the keys to successful
is putting the line in a location that it will not get caught up in a
motor, or anything else. A prop will rip a line to shreds instantly,
whats left of it a pissed off boatowner will likely destroy AFTER he
done pulling all your torn up hooks and line out of his prop.
Again make sure you are
familiar with local
Running an illegal trotline can get you a date with a Game Warden
You have two options as far
as equipment. You can
buy the trotlines at a store, (which typically involves tieing the
on only) or build it from the ground up. If you have never used
before just go buy one and use it and make sure it is right for you
going to the trouble to build your own. You can purchase several
brands and grades of trotlines. You can get a decent ready made trotline with
and all for about $8 like the
Bass Pro Shops Deluxe Trotline or these trotlines on ebay.
You can also purchase some heavier trotlines that are good
quality on ebay but other than that they are hard to find.
Look at the bottom of this page and I have added some links to
trotlines and trotline supplies so you can build your own trotlines.
The biggest advantage of
building your own trotlines
is that you get a heavier grade trotline if you are primarily targeting smaller catfish then lines like the Bass Pro Shops Deluxe Trotline are sufficient. If you are
after monster flatheads or blues, you will want to build your own lines. I will try and include more information on
your own trotlines at a later time. The disadvantages of building your
are that it is very time consuming, you have to be very careful to make
sure you are within legal
lengths and spacing.
If you are fishing the
"bassin hot spots"
like Lake Fork and Ray Roberts and these die hard bass fisherman find
trotline, some of them will take a knife to it because they are against
them. I only say this because it has happened to me on more than one
I usually stick to the commercially manufactured trotlines one these
spot" lakes for this reason.
If decide to go ahead and
build your own trotlines,
the best advice I can offer is to make sure all of your spacing and
and use good quality brads and heavy brass barrel
A cat will twist and turn a line on a trotline without barrel swivels
he breaks the line. Either way the decision is yours. If you are
wanting a really HEAVY DUTY trotline for catfishing then you will have
to build your own or look at my links below. I try to update them as
frequent as possible and any reference will say heavy duty.
In addition to the trotline
you will need some
good weights. You can use cinder blocks if you wish but they can get a
pricy. I build my weights from empty 1 gallon cans, cement, and
and can build six or eight of them for the price of one cinder block. I
get the cans from a restaurant at no charge, the hangars are all over
house, and cement runs around $2 for sand mix that is ready to use. It
not take long to build these weights. You can get away with one or two
per 150 foot trotline.
Just remember, the bigger
the fish, the bigger
the weight will need to be. If you are going to attempt to target the
uns, you will need a big weight. I know one guy who weights his down
two manhole covers, let me tell ya, you have to be a pretty big guy to
a trotline up to a boat being weighted down with fish and two manhole
(And don't everybody go out and start stealing manhole covers).
Place your trotline in the
selected area and tie
off both ends. Leave enough slack in the line to get it down to the
and make sure you have both ends tied well. You have to remember that
could potentially have 25 fish on 25 hooks and you do NOT want that
to break free, there is no straightening out that mess. Not only will
lose your trotline and all the fish but the fish will likely die.
I like to weight my lines in
the middle and if
I need two weights I will place a weight on either side around 15 feet
20 feet from each end. You will need some good braided nylon twine or
to hold the weight onto the trotline. If you use cinder blocks,
that the sharp edge of the block is going to rub against the twine and
will often cut it, which can quickly become a mess.
Once you are all rigged you
can begin baiting.
It helps to have two people in the boat, one person helps manage the
and pull you along it while the other baits. You have to communicate
each other and watch what is going on because you can quickly catch a
in your forearm or elsewhere if you are not careful.
Baiting the trotline can be
done with a number
of different baits. You need to target the bait to the species you are
but remember that you are baiting at least 25 hooks. (if you are like
and running several trotlines buying expensive bait would break you
quick). Trotlining for channel cats you can use minnows, shad, night
or any other bait than channel cats like. Some people use punch baits
livers on their lines but they are not likely to stay on the hooks. You
have to keep in mind that if you hook onto several cats at once, they
gonna be thrashing around and shaking that line, thus you need to have
good bait that is gonna stay on the hook.
Once the lines are baited
carefully work them into
the water so you don't throw all your bait off and your off to use your
rod and reel or juglines or whatever else you wish to do. You can check
your trotline in a few hours if you wish. It works really well to set
lines an hour or two before dusk, and then run them once in the middle
the night, and rebait, and then run them again the next morning. If you
cannot do the night run, definately check the next morning because you
likely to find fish.
If you set a line out and
decide to leave it in
the water, and do not plan on checking it within twelve hours, pull
bait off the hooks. Once you get a good system going it is pretty easy
get your trotlines in and out of the water.
Good luck and enjoy. This is
one of the funnest
ways to catch kitties!
Still looking for more information on catching catfish with trotlines? Go to Learn To Catch Catfish and read our trotline articles there.
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- Guided Fishing In North Texas
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