Ozark trotlining is probably as foriegn to the large river fishermen as large river fishing is to us. I want to learn the big river way and also want to expose you to my way, and the best way I can do this is "take you along" with me last night. I have a 140 acre farm in SE Mo which has the Caster river forming the boundry on two sides of it. So I often fish in my own backyard so to speak. I also have a home in Maryland Hieghts ( a suburb of St. Louis). I never wear a watch when fishing. Time on the river doesn't count except in terms of sheer enjoyment. No time limit on that. I started out with several hours left of sunlight. I used my 4-wheeler to launch my john boat. 14' long with a 4' beam, and a 30 lb. thrust trolling motor. I went up to what I call "the bluff hole" and stretched my trotline all the way across it. About 100' wide here, and from 3' to 14' deep. I put the wieghts on the line so the hooks would be in the deepest part of the hole but up a foot or so from the bottom. In the center of the hole I added a 2 litre soda bottle with 10' of line to keep the trotline off the bottom. Now I used a "big river" trick with a Sabiki rig (yes MrT, 3 hooks) on an ultra-light rod with 4 lb. line. A splitshot sinker about the size of a pea on the cut off end of it. In the boat, casting at root wads and rocks along the bluff, I caught 10 fair size Bluegills in about 10 min. or so, put them in a live basket and cruised back to where I was going to fish. I pulled the boat out on the bank and with a while of daylight left, I started gathering firewood. About dark, I got back in the boat, got ahold of my trotline, and started putting on the droplines with a bluegill on each 4/0 hook. I only used 6 dropline/hooks in the deepest part of the hole. I am after a flathead, not channels or anything else. This done, I went back to the bank, climbed up to the flat part, and started building my fire. I brought a 4 qt. Dutch oven, cornbread mix, peanut oil, a can of beer, and some fish breading. After the fire got some good coals in it, I mixed up the cornbread and put it in the Dutch oven, put a few coals under it, and a bunch on the top. Usually takes a little less than an hour to bake. Time to sit back and enjoy the sounds of the night, or lack of sound is more like it. When the cornbread is done, I take it off the coals, set it aside, and go fishing. I had two flatheads about 18" long, and 1 Bluegill left on the trotline. I uncliped all the hooks, released the rest of the bluegill, and went to the bank. Back by the fire, I took the cornbread out of the Dutch oven and dumped in the peanut oil. I put the Dutch oven back in the fire, and started cleaning my fish. After skinning them, I cut them into four great fillets. I washed them off with the can of beer, and put them in the gallon zip-lok bag with the breading mix. I took the skin, guts, and fish heads and put them on the path about 150' away from where my fire was. When the oil got plenty hot, I dropped in the fillets, waited till they were golden brown and floating, and took the oven out of the fire. I put the fillets on a boat paddle to cool and drain. After a while, when the fish was cool enough to eat, I broke off a fair size piece of cornbread, grabbed a fillet and chowed down. Don't get any better than this. I sat there eating, listening to the Deer snort, the Racoons fighting over the fish heads, and a Baird owl that didn't like the fact that I was in it's valley. Priceless! When the fire died down, I put it out with river water, picked up my stuff, wrapped up the left-overs,(will be great for lunch tomorrow) got on the 4-wheeler and went to the house. When I got there, it was 3 am. With a remarkably full belly, I fell asleep on the couch till morning. After lunch I went back to take out my line and bring the boat back. A great night on a small river.