trot line question

Discussion in 'Alternative Methods of Catching Catfish' started by flysure1, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. flysure1

    flysure1 New Member

    Messages:
    198
    State:
    Illinois
    First I want to say I will more than likely release any flatheads I am fortunate enough to catch over 10 pounds---I will more than likely clean a couple of "eaters" if I am lucky enough to catch some---I catch and release most all bass over 3 lbs--I clean most all legal crappies I catch and keeper bluegill---I was raised to eat what I caught fishing or what I killed when hunting, (my parents were raised during the first great depression) I wanted to ask a couple of questions about trotlining on another forum without realizing it was almost 100 % catch and release--as scooby would say---rot-ro, I have no problem with catch and release but I always have and always will clean a few, if I am in the wrong forum just let me know and I will head out of here also---that being said what I was wondering is what are most using for trot line hooks nowadays, I haven't made a trotline up in near 30 years and a few of us are going to mark twain lake in early may and I was going to put out a 15-20 hook line for a couple nights, I was think about baiting with some 6 inch chubs if I can seine some, anyone have any tips on flatheads on mark twain, I have crappie fished it a few times but not much else----40 years ago my dad and a few of his friends used to bank pole a small local river here in Illinois (between Galesburg and Peoria) lots of great memories there---chub minnows were tough to beat for catfish bait---I also used some of the no roll sinkers last year while rod and reel fishing the mississippi and loved them, a friend and I spent 2 sunday afternoons making 450 of them (mostly 2 and 3 oz.)from his mold, I have been passing them out to a few fishing buddies--lead was free to me so I just have some propane and time invested. Back to the trotline, I was going to use 350# nylon line with good quality barrel swivels tied every 4 foot or so for the main line and 2 foot of 150# drop down line, 1/2 oz egg sinker, another barrel swivel and what ever hook I decide on? Any suggestions or comments are welcomed---thanks for listening---Rod
     
  2. Shad gut

    Shad gut New Member

    Messages:
    95
    State:
    illinois
    you can make them many different ways your sounds good. But i really think you could make the droplines closer and not use the egg sinkers.Just my thoughts. Eating catfish is not a sin yet LOl.Good luck.:smile2:
     

  3. Shad gut

    Shad gut New Member

    Messages:
    95
    State:
    illinois
    Welcome to the sight.
     
  4. flysure1

    flysure1 New Member

    Messages:
    198
    State:
    Illinois
    I got the impression it was a sin from the other forum--anyway I never thought about not using any weights---as a kid we used them with weights
    on the drop down lines---I imagine the bait would look more natural without the added weight---I was thinking 4 foot apart on the main line and two foot drop downs to lessen the chance of tangling ---thanks for the reply---I will probably skip the egg sinkers.
    also how do you add a signature picture on a post? I have only have had one fish mounted (2 lb 7 oz, 17 1/2 in crappie), I was going to use it for mine.
     
  5. flysure1

    flysure1 New Member

    Messages:
    198
    State:
    Illinois
    Like I said earlier it was the only way I was taught---I definately see the advantage of no weights, I am 51 years old and just used the no roll weights while fishing the mississippi last year!---any guess on what depth I should set the trot line for flatheads in may on Mark Twain lake?? thanks for your reply---Rod
     
  6. kyredneck

    kyredneck New Member

    Messages:
    1,021
    State:
    Kentucky
    Welcome to the BOC Rod; you are on the right forum for this question; flathead catfish are gourmet eating; it’s your business whether you CPR or CCC.

    I’m a recent convert to circle hooks for trotlines and limb lines, and from what I gather a lot of the jug heads like them too. Circle hooks work great for static lines. Gamatsu 8/0 circles would be an outstanding choice for large live wiggly baitfish. Six inch chubs would be excellent flathead (and channel) bait, so would small bluegill; actually bluegills are much better because they’re hardier and stay alive longer on the hook ESPECIALLY if they come from the water you’re using them in. I build my trotlines with the drops spaced 4’ apart, but when baiting with live baitfish like gills or large chubs will only bait every other drop with them and fill in the others with some other bait, like dough balls or boilies, most likely on smaller hooks too. IMO, 8 ft apart is about right for live wiggly baitfish. Here in KY you’re allowed 50 hooks per trotline, two trotlines per person. Two ft drops are plenty long, one ft may be better with two ft drops every now and then for weights. No weights needed on the drops.

    When you go, take some ultra light gear with you with some mini jigs size 8 or 10 or 12 (you can’t get too small) hooks on mini jig spinners, tip the hooks w/ wax or redworm bits, and go catch your bluegill bait on the lake during the day to bait the line in the evening; you just have to make arrangements to keep your bait in good condition. No bluegill is too small, you’ll have as much fun catching those lil’ gills as anything; kinda like being a kid again. Good luck.

    Also, don’t be afraid to go as small as 1/0 or 2/0 hooks and bait with minnows, you’ll likely catch anything in the water with that, flatheads included.
     
  7. tunnel hull

    tunnel hull New Member

    Messages:
    230
    State:
    SO.il.
    KY red neck sounds like he knows what the hecks going on!!! THInking 4ft to close i use 6ft space 1ft drops no weights try it bait gets wore out to quick/knotted up bad too..Ilike goggel eye/rock bas what ever they call'em in your part of the country?lot more hardy --last longer ....Best luck that i found for the flats are USE the bait that you caught <IN THE AREA > were you are going to set the trot line!!! what ever it be ....hook size is by bait size use to big hook fish wo'nt last HOOK SHOCK kills'em quick I've made all of these mistakes.thinking I got athe HANG of it on took 15yrs. THE great state of il. its eleagle to tie from bank and no LIMB LINE..I've found out old RR tie plates two of them stacked..on one end weld four RR spike two form one side two fom the otherside so whatever side lands down you got spike digging in use large rope fromm tie plates to trot linr ,so when you pick'em up,, the wait of tie plates the trot line wont eat your hands up you've got that big rope ...I've had 1 -60lb 2-50lb+and 2 -30lbs on the same trot line never moved the waits! ALWAY excpect the worst when flathead fish'en.. HOOKS I use stainless I've got line 10 hookers whit 2/0 , 4/0 ,6/0, 8/0 depends on the bait!!! a man might think 10 hook trot line is not much..until you got to catch the darn bait!! not uncoman to run 5 to 10 line ..Its alot of frecking (WORK !!) but the rewards may not fit in the LARGEST cooler you own it's worth IT!!
     
  8. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,695
    State:
    arkansas
    Name:
    johnnie
    dont do much trot lining any more but ive still got them and mine have the drops 4 foot apart and have circle hooks on them.one thing ive learned is to watch the thermocline and make sure you stay above it.you dont want to go to the trouble of catching bait and keeping it alive just to drop it down below the thermocline and have it die.
     
  9. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Welcome to the BOC, Rod! Personally, 4' sounds like a good spacing to me; that's what I have on mine now. But most of my trotlining has been done with droppers at 3' spacing. Circle hooks, and even kahle hooks have some advantages over 'J' hooks, but I still use 'J' hooks on my trotlines and jugs. They're inexpensive; the trotline hooks I use have a really big eye that makes attaching and detaching the hooks a lot easier; when you're baiting and rebaiting a bunch of hooks, ease and speed become a factor, and IMO, it's quicker and easier to bait 'J' hooks than any other type; it's easier to unhook fish from a 'J' hook, especially smaller fish. Yeah, I know the occasional fish will swallow a 'J' hook, but I really don't have that happen all that often. Removing a smaller catfish from a 'J' hook is generally just a matter of holding the hook with the pliers, and giving a circular flip, and the fish is off the hook, back in the water, without ever touching it. As with most equipment, what you use depends on your personal preference than anything else.
     
  10. kyredneck

    kyredneck New Member

    Messages:
    1,021
    State:
    Kentucky
    Johnny, I had actually thought about mentioning that after I made my post; anyway, he's going in May; would there typically be a thermocline in a lake that early?
     
  11. flysure1

    flysure1 New Member

    Messages:
    198
    State:
    Illinois
    I will probably check out what depth I should set the trot line at the store/bait shop where we will be staying near--I read other reports from last year on trotliners and I think most were 4-8 foot down--I am not sure what month that was---best to check with the locals probably--I see there was a 70 pounder caught there--I picked up some hooks while I was in town this morning, I grabbed 25 gamakatsu 8-0 octopus,($11.99, no bargain but they had them) I will use the extra's rod and reeling this summer on the mississippi, a friend of mine took me last year as a partner in a catfishing tournament and that is what we rigged with, along with "no roll" weights--we ended up in second with 5 fish total weight of 27# 9 oz. I believe, 4 hour tournament, he also got me using braided 80 # line on a big catfish spinning rig--I loved the set up---I was always happy with a 808 before--(old school)---I also probably should take the advice and catch some bait from the lake to use--I might go out to my dads lake and see if I could catch a mess of the rock bass (some call them big mouth blue gills--green sunfish--tough little fish) they probably would make the 3 hour trip with some ice and a fart box with no problem, I imagine I would be illegal taking other bait in though. I am having trouble finding a decent swivel and brass stops for the main line, there is a gander mountain in Peoria I will have to try I suppose---I don't want the chinese barrel swivels to be the weak spot on my line---thanks again for all the input and the welcomes---Rod
     
  12. kyredneck

    kyredneck New Member

    Messages:
    1,021
    State:
    Kentucky
    Rod, those 25 Gama hooks are a good investment, the 8/0&#8217;s I used last year are in excellent shape to use this year. IMO, 4-8 ft seems shallow to me (unless you&#8217;re in 8-12 ft of water). If the water has not started stratifying (no thermocline) I would fish 2-4 ft off the bottom, JMHO. Good luck.
     
  13. kat in the hat

    kat in the hat New Member

    Messages:
    4,875
    State:
    Missouri
    Rod...I know you will get all kinds of info on making lines...all have their merit, I'm sure. I won't go into detail about how I make mine. All I will say about them is that my drops are 5' apart, and my drops are 18" long. I do use black barrel swivels without a clip. I've seen the clips fail. I don't even fool with the clips on my rod and reel.

    Anyways, I live near...and fish Mark Twain Lake. Without going with you to show you around, the best information I can give you...so long as you don't spread it around, lol...is to fish North Fork. Ether put in at the 24 bridge (can be tough to put in and take out there), or put in at Stoutsville...or wherever...just go North past the HWY 24 bridge. Once there, you will find mud flats, rocky cliffs, and flooded timber. I have had the most success fishing trots on the outside edge of the flooded timber along the river channel...mostly blues and channel cats. Most of the flats will be caught within just a few feet of the bank. If it looks like a good spot to catch crappie, there will be flats too. It's kind of a trade off. There will be lots of snags, and can be tough to run a line. If it's not a pain in the butt, you are probably in the wrong spot, lol...but you will catch flatheads.

    If you go after a rain, I would suggest fishing the flooded timber on, or very near the mud flat banks. That's how I scored the flatty in my avatar. Caught him in about 3' of water in flooded timber on a mud flat...on cut shad...in May.

    Which brings me to bait. I've had good success on both live perch, and cut shad. Probably have caught more on the shad, but have caught boatloads of both flats and blues on live perch. I would bring perch, but wouldn't leave the throw net at home. If you can catch shad, that is what I would use...it can't be beat IMO. That's what they eat the most of. The best success I've had on live perch was in late June and July during and after a summer downpour.

    That lake is kinda on again, off again. Especially when they are tinkering with the water level. You are most likely to be successful after a rain. It seems to turn them on. You can catch catfish there all the time, but they will be on fire after it rains.

    It has been my experience that if the water is clear, go crappie fishing. The cats bite best there when the water is moving, and about the color of chocolate milk. If it's calm, and greenish clearish...the cats might get lockjaw.
     
  14. kat in the hat

    kat in the hat New Member

    Messages:
    4,875
    State:
    Missouri
    More on shad...:smile2:...if you can see them schooling, bingo, just catch them. If you can't see 'em, the places I have found them are South of the 24 bridge on the West side along the rock cliffs, and around the railroad bridge. If you can find them with a sonar, you are one up on me, lol. I can't even find fish with one of those dang things. :smile2:
     
  15. beshears

    beshears Active Member

    Messages:
    177
    State:
    Missouri
    My brothers and I trotline Mark Twain quite a bit. My brothers belive in a lot of short line with four to six hooks on each. Be use to use the mark it feature on your GPS to find all of them again. They like rocky points within a cove fishing just off of the bank. We fish shallow tieing both ends of the line to trees and using a snagging weight on each end to keep it down out of props and trolling motors. I like to stretch some lines completly across the old river channel from a bluff to a flat on the other side. I find most of the fish will be on the hooks close to the bluff, these will be Blues and Channels. The Flatheads will be closer to the banks. Our best bait are Bluegill, then Shad, then Goldfish or whatever you can find. The tackle shop at Perry Junction usually has good trotline supplies. I like #96 main line with either 2/0 or 4/0 swivels threaded on the line with keepers to keep about a six foot seperation. I double snagging line (100lb) for staging with EagleClaw or Gamatasau circle hooks of 8/0 to 10/0 size. The only thing I find wrong with circle hooks is they tend to hook through the eye socket on smaller fish.
     
  16. kyredneck

    kyredneck New Member

    Messages:
    1,021
    State:
    Kentucky
    Thanks Jay. That's some good info.
     
  17. flysure1

    flysure1 New Member

    Messages:
    198
    State:
    Illinois
    Thanks to all for the advise on "trotlining the twain!"--lol---I was planning on trying some of the ez clips, now I see a post where they failed---I want to have a trotline made before I get there---I am going there to crappie fish first, but I can not pass up a chance to snag a monster flathead(any really big one will go back in the lake, 15 lbs and under will most likely end up in hot oil! I am not going to lie to anyone,) I think it is still a form of catch and release, I catch the fish, fry it, eat it, and release it in the way my body was designed to! I think if people are responsible and obey the laws somewhat there will be fish for our future generations to enjoy. I fish once in a while with a guy who wants to release every fish caught, including crappies and bluegills!, I break his heart every once in a while and clean a baggy full of filets, we also hope to sneak off somewhere while we are there to pick a mess of morrels---my perfect last meal on this earth would be a plate of fried catfish/crappie/bluegill filets, a plate full of grey morrels, and fresh asparagus, finish that off with some homemade strawberry pie and I am ready to meat my maker!
     
  18. kat in the hat

    kat in the hat New Member

    Messages:
    4,875
    State:
    Missouri
    I doubt an ez-clip would fail. I was talking about snap swivels. I don't use ez-clips either mostly because they cost money, and partly because they would get tangled up in my bucket. A buddy of mine uses those things, and I always have to help him untangle them, lol. People use them though, and like them. I just loop my drop through the swivel. Takes about 2 seconds longer to put the bait on.

    Here's some pics of mine. I don't claim it's the best, but it works for me. I just use 5/0 Eagle Claw trotline hooks. I tweak the tip of the hook to the side just a smidge. I just do it that way because...that's how I do it, lol.

    Here's a link to an old thread called "trotlines". Post #3 and #4 are pics of how I do mine, and there is other good info on that thread. lol, I said my drops are 4' apart on there...I said 5' on here. I don't measure, but it's 4 or 5 feet.

    http://www.catfish1.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47895
     
  19. John(Bullhead)Hagen

    John(Bullhead)Hagen New Member

    Messages:
    135
    State:
    ILLinois
    We go everyear to Marc Twain just to trot line big flats.Here is how we do it,go into the coves. Smaller ones with rock banks and trees coming out of the water.Take your main line and thread about 6 barrel swivels on it tie one end to a tree about as far under as you can reach.At this point judge about how far over to next tree then add 15 feet to this Example tree to tree is 25 feet you need 40 feet of main line.Tie other end on other tree.Go back down line and every 4 feet place a drop 18 inches long with a 8/0 gama gotsu circle hook tied to the barrell swivel ,then keep swivel in place by using the brass clips pinched on the main line that you can buy at Als in Galesburg or Presleys in peoria.In the middle tie on a decoy wieght 16 Oz. Bait with blue gills Ready Set Go. This works very well for us as we can put out several small lines over a bigger area Our biggest was 72# so be very carefull when you go to lift the line in and wear gloves and watch the hooks.Bait up at sun down after most of the trafic is done and lift early before you start crappie fishing and you wil get some,We go last two weeks of April either one depending on the spring temp. Good luck John
     
  20. flysure1

    flysure1 New Member

    Messages:
    198
    State:
    Illinois
    Thanks for the reply, do you live in the Galesburg area? I work at builders supply in gburg, I was in Al's Tuesday, he never had any brass line clips, he used to but he never reordered--brass$ prices---he said try in a couple weeks, he was going to try another source--- what you baitin with in early May for flatheads? I was going to take some big chubs down, after reading some of the reply I prob skip that--(probably illegal also) I could probably get a dozen or more rock bass from Dads lake by rapatee, they are tough enough to make the trip, I also bought some 8/0 gamakatsu octupus hooks for the drops, I am getting ready to order some crane 2/0 roller swivels (200# plus rated)--all I could find in Galesburg were the chinese cheapies---- thanks again---Rod