Does Anyone Else Use Trot Lines?

Discussion in 'Fishing' started by DonScott, May 24, 2017.

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  1. DonScott

    DonScott New Member
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    I've used trotlines in the past on camping trips and find them VERY affective on catfish. But I'm a bit of a novice at it. Honestly I found an old one on the ground at the ranch, shot and chopped a lizard for bait, and tossed it in. I've used it many times since but I want to know the best ways to set them up.
     
    Keith H. likes this.
    1. Keith H.
      Unfortunately they are illegal in Australia!:(
      Keith.
       
      Keith H., Jul 14, 2017
  2. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    A trotline is the best way to feed a bunch of people catfish. I usually make my own and then stretch them between a couple of stumps either across or parallel to the channel. During the day I make sure that they are run deep so they don't get messed up with bass fishermen or boat motors. At night I will pull them up shallower then run them before dawn and lower them. I bait with almost anything. Perch, cut bait, road kill, wieners or even certain brands of soap(Zote or Ivory) will work. Hook size varies from area to area based on what size fish you are planning to catch. That said, the biggest catfish that I have caught on a trotline was 50 lbs and it was caught on a smaller 6/0 hook.

    Making a trotline is easy. I buy a bunch of big brass swivels then tie a pair of overhand granny knots every 3 or 4 feet on fairly heavy line with a swivel between the two knots. I then make a bunch of loops by cutting 12 to 18 inch pieces and tying the lose ends together to make a loop. With the look you can double it, stick the loop through the big eye of the trotline hook and then pull the hook through the loop. You do the same to the swivel and you have it done. I make weights by pouring cement in various sized styrophome cups with coat hanger twisted and stuck in the cement to tie to.

    There are a lot of ways to rig. Over the years I've tried most of them. If you got questions ask away.
     
  3. Bishop

    Bishop Master Survivalist
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    I have used them also jug lines
     
  4. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    i have never used them before but post SHTF i'll be using them as sitting there with a rod and line(angling) is too time consuming.
     
    Keith H. and DonScott like this.
  5. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    Jug lines have almost replaced trotlines for a lot of people as a way to catch a lot of fish. I nearly always carry a dozen or so jugs in my boat and will throw them out while I'm other wise occupied fishing. I personally don't have much trouble catching enough fish on rods and reels for most purposes. I probably average 7 to 10 pounds of pure boneless filets for an afternoon fishing. If I work the jugs that can be boosted to about 20 to 25 lbs. WAY to much unless I'm having a fish fry. Most of the time, unless I have an need for them I am a catch and release fisherman.
     
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  6. jeager

    jeager Master Survivalist
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    I mostly catch and release but if I want to feed a few people I'd use jug or trot lines.
    My cousins and I set trot lines in a lake here in Ohio where it's legal and took a 50
    pound shovel head catfish.
    We didn't kill that one but kept it alive and released it in another, smaller, lake.
    We took a number of nice 5 to 7 pound channel and shovel head cats to eat.
     
    DonScott likes this.
  7. koolhandlinc

    koolhandlinc Expert Member
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    I have fished for cat fish a lot. Trot lines, jug lines and limb lines. I have caught a lot of cat fish. Around here, flatheads, and channel cats, occasionally blue cats. I can honestly say I have caught hundreds these ways.

    Here's what I am teaching my kids.

    We dig for worms. I have tossed the left overs from worms purchased into many beds around my house. We are able to get some easy.

    We use a smaller long shanked hook to catch perch. Locally people call the smaller sunfish here perch. Back east they are not really the same. Blue gill, punpkin seed, etc. I like to catch them smaller 1 inch to 2 inches long. I go looking for rocky areas ussually and tight line around rocks. But I also will use a tiny bobber and fish about. Kinda depends where I am fishing. These little sunfish will hit fast and often so if I am not catching them. I move around. Last trip out. I was with 2 girls and about 6 kids. I found an underwater drop off that was in about 2 feet to 4 feet depth change and I caught all we needed for fishing from that spot. This is the bait. (The girls are both Filipina and cooked a bunch of these tiny fish. )

    trot lines: Here they can legally have 50 hooks. I usually purchase a made up system that has a wax substance on the line that make the main line float. I tie off the ends securely to something. A stump, a tree, a log stuck into some rocks. Only one end must be really secure but I prefer both ends. I don't use the leader system that comes with them. I tie my own leaders. Nothing fancy. I have found the leaders supplied tend to not be robust and fail for various reason. I have not used them for 20 years.

    When I start with a new trot line. I use the hooks that come with them. If you plan on using/reusing the system for months or longer. You will need stainless hooks.

    Placement: When I was a kid. Grandpa and I would place them sometimes from a boat. Sometimes wading in the water. This always scared me as a kid. It was in western Oklahoma and snakes in the water were common. I prefer a boat.

    If in a river. I would recommend across the river if possible. Small rivers this is possible. The North Canadian river in western Oklahoma during the summer would be 25 feet across in some places. I do not have experience with large rivers. Large being 100 meters or 100 yards across during minimal flows.

    I also placed them across Keystone Lake where the Cimmaron river flows in and where the Arkansas River flows in. The was during the dry season. This lake requires heavy gear as I have had really big fish break leaders.

    Anytime I can find a tree that has recently fell into the water of washed into a lake. I will run a line by it.

    In Skiatook Lake, I run in an upper area. This lake had a winding stream bed. So the contours of the lake bed reflect this. The fish will cut across the shallow area from on deep area to the next. I have 3 different places I set lines.

    If you place a line and catch nothing after 2 days and all the bait is dead. move the line.

    Catfish here in Oklahoma during the summer bite shallow at night and deep during the day.

    Also I place mine at a mid level. Not on the bottom and not near the surface. 25 foot deep water. I will set the about 12 feet. I do this by using the floating line and then small weights tied with 12 feet long lines.

    Last summer we tied one end to a tree. Used about 75 feet of line. Then tied the trot line to it. At the other end of the trot line I used an 8 pound sash weight. Its my last one left now.

    We caught many channel cats. This was Skiatook Lake. We had fish 3 times a week for months from that one trip.

    I have been to busy so far this summer. No camping or fishing so far. Wanting to transition to Birch Lake as it has hybrid bass. Last summer we caught a couple of nice ones using bobbers. Yes, With 2 younger kids I am doing things differently with the goal of getting the kids involved.
     
  8. jeager

    jeager Master Survivalist
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    Good post.
    I'm in Ohio and long lines, (trot lines) are
    illegal except in certain waters.
    We use then in a large lake where legal and
    that lake water is quite clean and clear.
    Fish from there don't contain nasty pollutants.
    Cat fish are fine eating.
    Our largest was just shy of 50 pounds.
    We released that one.
    Too big for eating, flesh is strong and nasty.
    We keep ones under 10 pounds, larger than
    about 2 pounds.
     
  9. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed Expert Member
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    I am not sure if they are legal here in Alabama or not; but I have never seen any in use here. In Idaho, they used to use giant ones to catch sturgeon, back in the days when there were still a lot of sturgeon in the Kootenai River and it was legal to catch them in any length. Now, I think that sturgeon fishing is pretty restricted, and I am not sure if they are still allowed to put out the lines to catch them with or not.
    I have used jugs with good results though. I lived in Missouri for a while and had three small ponds that were all stocked with catfish. I would use clothesline rope tied to a milk jug and then fish line and bait connected to the jug as well. I just walked down to the pond every now and then, and when the jug was floating around in circles, I knew that I had caught a catfish for dinner.
    When I lived in Washington State, we mostly fished for trout , usually Kokanee, and then we used the small boat and trolling motor to fish for them. That is still my favorite way to fish; but I have not been fishing in a boat for several years now.
     
  10. koolhandlinc

    koolhandlinc Expert Member
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    Largest Flathead I caught was on 8 lb test line on a pole. It was in the Arkansas River and it keep swimming up stream. tired it self out. It weighted in at 46 pounds. Largest Blue cat was 17 1/4 pound on a surf rod. Never bothered weighting the channel cats but I have caught them all sizes . That big flat head was not edible. Probably eating turds or something. Meat was nasty.
     
  11. koolhandlinc

    koolhandlinc Expert Member
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    Jug lines are another story. I do them different than most. Often jugs and trot lines at same time. If I have a row boat I can run lines here at the local lakes. Use stainless hooks and I can run them until I can't find twine for the lines.
     
  12. jeager

    jeager Master Survivalist
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    If shtf fan all is fair.
    "sporting" will be silly.
    Survival is paramount.
    Even if I must use explosives.
    I wouldn't unless really pressured to survive.
    An empty co2 cartridge like used in pellet
    guns filled that is with 4 fg Holy Black and a water proof fuse does a nice job.
    Ah, er, so I've heard.
     
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