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Beginner Trotliner. Running small lines - 12 to 15 hooks with my 12 year old son on the Miss. River backwaters (WI). Water is 4-14' deep. Will catch a nice cat every 3rd time out on Night crawlers. All Channel Cat. Have a 8 pound Carp I am going to cut up for bait this weekend. I am assuming a nice 1" cube will do - leave some skin on for scent and to help hold it on the hook.

Question for you with more experience. How far from the bottom should my hooks be in say 6' of water? I generally run it parallel to shore to keep it in deeper water and safe from boat traffic. Should I run perpendicular to cover more depths?

Any advice is appreciated. Checking empty lines is boring.
 

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I would not bait with nightcrawlers. Nightcrawler are very good bait, but
every fish that swims loves them. Fish tend to peck nightcrawlers off a
trotline. Contrary to what most people believe your catch ratio is small
compared to R&R fishing. No one is there to set the hook.LOL
You may get by fishing parallel to the bank in the spring but when it
gets warmer you will have to go deeper. Be sure to anchor your line
where it will not interfere with boat traffic.
 

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In my experience, running a trotline parallel to the bank is what catches you the most fish. I string mine tight and in approx. 6 feet of water my droppers will be about 2 1/2-3 feet deep. I don't bait mine near the bottom, and if you're leaving your line over night it doesn't always need to real deep since the cats move up into shallower water to feed when the sun goes down. I've defended my trotlining methods to tons of people and the way they do their own, and keeping mine shallow, tight, and parrallel to the bank has always worked better for me than anything else. Play with it though, and see what works the best for you.
 

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like stuart says,exsperiment and see whats good for you.i fish mine different than most too.that don't make it right,but it works for me.i fish mine parralell to,most times.i also fish mine on the bottom,i fish mine exsclusively at night with live bait,bream,goldfish,suckers ect...i do get hung but thats part of fishing.i put a weight every 5 hooks or so to hold it down,sometimes deep,sometimes shallow.i'll catch 10 to 15 flats a night on a 20 hook line,i check it every 2 hours or so.i catch a lot of channels and blues on the line as well. good luck
 
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