Trotline - tips

Discussion in 'Alternative Methods of Catching Catfish' started by Eddie Mullins, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. Eddie Mullins

    Eddie Mullins New Member

    Messages:
    299
    State:
    AR
    Just wondering if any of ya'll have any little tips for running lines, especially alone... any boat modifications, etc.

    One thing I have found real handy, and some of ya'll might already do this, but I use the boat cleat as an extra hand. When I am running the line I will pull the boat along using both hands, but if I have a decent fish, need to get something, etc., I flip the line behind the cleat on the rail of the boat. Keeps me from having to worry about droping the line and gives me two free hands to do whatever. I am thinking about putting a new one on the boat, or mounting something that may work even better, back a little closer to where I am normally positioned when I run the line. Not only does this help a lot when your a lone, I think it helps with the safety factor some too.

    I would like to figure out a way, without knocking off my baits, to keep the weight of the line ran over something at all times, rather than me holding it. I am thing the right daimeter PVC positioned horizontally of the side of the boat may work?

    At any rate, thought this might be of use to some of you and would like to hear if you guys have any tips, tricks or tools you use.
     
  2. justwannano

    justwannano Active Member

    Messages:
    1,003
    State:
    SE Iowa
    I'm trying to figure how the big time ocean fishermen do it.
    Heck I can get a 15 hook line impossibly tangled. They run 1000s of hooks. Hundreds per line.
    When I was running my lines on the Mississippi--200 hooks -- I ran 4 50 hook lines and used a jump box. Not very practical with 15 hooks but I felt it was necessary with those long lines.
    Anyway I just pulled myself along with the line until I had a fish and struggled until I had him in the boat. I never felt i was as good at it as I should be. Sometimes I'd cut the drop and sometimes I'd just unhook the fish. Depended on how well he was hooked.
    I would then go back and bait them. Not a very practical way of doing it.

    The only modification I made was I built a shelf over the motor.
    I'd place the jump box on the shelf and feed the hooks out with 1 hand while running the boat upstream against the current. Kind of dangerous but it worked ok for me.


    Have a good 1
    just
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009

  3. mcseal2

    mcseal2 Active Member

    Messages:
    503
    State:
    Kansas
    I very seldom run lines alone, the river I fish has enough current to make it dangerous in my opinion. I run mostly bankpoles but will set a trotline occasionally, we are only allowed 8 bankpoles or 1 trotline per person, so I usually like to spread the bait out more with the bankpoles. The biggest thing I will tell you for safety is always carry a knife, or better yet two. That way if you get tangled in a line, you will still have a knife other than the one you already left lying out of reach. I keep a sharp knife mounted by my seat in the rear of the boat and in the front by the anchor rope so you can reach one from anywhere in the boat. I also always have a multi-pliers and pocket knife. I work on a ranch and while roping and doctoring cattle I've learned the value of a sharp, easy to reach knife. Other things I've learned is you can stick a hook in an oarlock to hold the boat, just be sure to check the point after. Also always keep your hooks very sharp and check the point for scales after hooking a bait to make sure it is clean. Good luck with the fishing.
     
  4. bud1110

    bud1110 New Member

    Messages:
    1,096
    State:
    East Texas
    Most important tip I know of is:

    NEVER run Trot Lines ALONE...Not a wise idea at all. Too many things can happen and there you would be, all alone with no help.. JUST DON"T DO IT..
     
  5. Eddie Mullins

    Eddie Mullins New Member

    Messages:
    299
    State:
    AR
    While I agree it isn't the safest of practices, I do my best to keep things in my favor. I have only done this in lakes, and usually fairly shallow water. Becasue of no current I also use multiple smaller weights rather that a couple real heavy ones. I almost always have 2 knives on me plus 1 or more in the boat, and again, using the cleat to hold the line greatly reduces the chances of me being pulled in.

    I would agree, running lines in deeper water and/or current when using heavy weights on your line is not something to be taken lightly. Accidents can happen and you owe it to your family to be safe.

    I would would still ike to hear any other tips,tools or tricks you guys use for setting lines - not neccesarily just for when running them alone.
     
  6. catdaddy007

    catdaddy007 Member

    Messages:
    406
    State:
    SE Arkansas
    I have been running trotlines for about 30 yrs. I don't put lines in heavy current. I do have several knives handy. I have one on my belt, one clipped on my pocket, one in my pocket, and one on the boat seat.(Yall reckon thats enough). I don't use real heavy weights, just enough to pull the line down. I've never had anything go wrong when running my lines, but I know it could in a split second. I just thank the good Lord nothing ever has. I try not to run lines alone but sometimes it just happens. Now, having said all that. Theres nothing special that I use when running lines. I make my own trotline, and as far as weights go a half a brick works just fine. I don't have any cleats on my boat (though I wish I did) so I have to just hang on to the line. Now that you got me to thinking about it I just might try putting a cleat on. Sounds like a real help. Thanks.:big_smile:
     
  7. backwoodsman68geric

    backwoodsman68geric New Member

    Messages:
    943
    State:
    illinois
    Ive used the oarlocks before to hold lines etc. Chunk of electric fence post stuck in it gives you a 3rd hand. Old window weights and 3 hole red bricks seem to be enough weight most of the time. We use looped drops, hard to explain, they run thru the eye of the hook and back thru themselves, same on the swivel on the mainline. We cut all of our bait before hand. 2 liter soda bottles work good for floats/line markers. We dont add our hooks n drops/loops until we are setting the lines. When we pull'em we take the drops/loops and hooks off seems to save on tangles and danger. If we're having trouble finding shad etc for cut bait we'll bait several hooks with worms for carp, white perch(drum) etc. and use the line to supply its own cutbait after we take the edible meat from the "trash/less desirable" fish. We bait the drops/loops before putting them on the mainline too, seems to be safer and quicker. NEVER let the line slap the water when setting/resetting as it will loosen it quick and leave alot of slack. We use an electric fence post with the top bent over and a chunk of broom handle stuck on it for grabbing the line and lowering it back, safer then grabbing blind for a trot with 25+ hooks swinging on it. We bent a V on the bottom of it, bout 6", its about 30" long. I cant think of anymore tips right now. Hope these helped.
     
  8. Eddie Mullins

    Eddie Mullins New Member

    Messages:
    299
    State:
    AR
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I don't use real heavy weights either. In lakes I have some coke can weights which I filled with cement, also just got some freebie 3 hole bricks and also found some free 5lb and 10lb weights from a no longer used eight machine, hope to try those in a river soon.

    I have a pole with a hook on it I made for jug fishing. I think it can pull double duty and use it for grabbing the trotline like suggested. Good tip.

    I just picked up a eye bolt, with a nut a couple washers. I'm gonna put it back where I was thinknig about adding the other cleat, costs less than $1 and should do just what I am wanting. I know - I'm a cheap skate LOL.
     
  9. Deepwater1

    Deepwater1 New Member

    Messages:
    151
    State:
    Toccoa, GA
    Bob,

    Longliners use hydraulic driven reels to reel in the longline. Drops are stored in a rack, prebaited, and are clipped on the line as it is fed out or taken off and put in a tub as it is reeled in.

    The stern of the boat has a 8" or larger PVC roller that the line and hooks feed over. The drops are usually 6' to 12' in length. Fish are gaffed and the drop unclipped as the reel hauls the line in. The fish are unhooked and put in fishbox later.

    Long liners NEVER rely on their hands to pull in the line. The reel does it all.

    I've thought about employing some of the longline methods, I used to use, into trotlining. Particularly the roller. The idea of using it on the side of the boat should work good. Two 4" or 6" rollers, one near the bow and one near the stern, would hold the line and keep the boat straight with the line. That would leave the hands free and safer. Fish could be netted and drop unclipped before the first roller. It might look funny mounted on the boat, but it would be functional.

    A small light boat also would work better than a larger heavier boat. For trotlining I use a 12' plywood/epoxy boat that I made out of 3/16" marine plywood. It weighs about 600 pounds with me (250lbs) and all my gear. I use a 6 HP outboard motor. It works great with light winds, I don't fish in heavy winds.

    I hope this helps with your question.

    Curt :big_smile: :big_smile:
     
  10. justwannano

    justwannano Active Member

    Messages:
    1,003
    State:
    SE Iowa
    Thanks Curt. --and welcome to the BOC
    I don't fish those 50 hook lines anymore but sure would give that method a try if I was. We are limited to 15 hooks with a regular fishing licence.
    I was talking to a one time commercial fisherman this last weekend --fished the mississippi-- 100 hook lines -- maybe 1000 hooks --and he hand over handed his lines.
    I'll tell you what. It will sure keep you from sipping barley pops before fishing if you just think for 1/2 second about what could happen and how quickly you could be in trouble.

    Thanks for the info
    just
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
  11. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    You really, really need to have a knife that you can reach easily with either hand. I once got hung up on a trotline and was pulled halfway out of the boat so that I couldn't reach the knife I had laid right beside me on the seat. I ended up having to rip the hooks out of my hands to keep from going overboard, which would have been fatal. I want to get one of those combat knives that mount upside down on your chest.

    A nice, simple third hand for your trotline is to have a short length of cord attached to the boat; attach a trotline clip to the other end of the line. Have the line just long enough to hang a few inches over the side of the boat. When you need something to hold the trotline, just snap the trotline clip onto the mainline and it will hold the line up and the boat in place.
     
  12. wisker getter

    wisker getter New Member

    Messages:
    76
    State:
    Missouri
    Thanx for all the great ideas guys:0a31:
    I just started trotling a few months ago and you answered questions I had and some I didn't even think about yet:big_smile:
    I like that idea of the rollers, and the extra dropper clip, the boat cleat
    just keep em comming guys I'm all ears (or should I say eyes):wink:
    I hope I can help with questions I might know something about.
    Thanx again to all of yas
     
  13. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    If you only put your lines in for a couple or three days/nights at a time, regular hooks will work for you, but if you plan to put in a line and leave it for a week, month, or the summer, you definitely need to use stainless steel hooks. Back in the late 80s, I'd put lines in around early April and pull them in early June. I was fishing every day, so running them every day wasn't a problem.
     
  14. wisker getter

    wisker getter New Member

    Messages:
    76
    State:
    Missouri
    I don't think I'll be leaving my line in for more than maybe a few days at a time maybe a week for vacation or something like that but the stainless hooks are a great idea
    :0a31:
     
  15. Deepwater1

    Deepwater1 New Member

    Messages:
    151
    State:
    Toccoa, GA
    I've really been fortunate over the last 45 years of trotlining. I haven't been in a hook-in-hand life and death situation. One thing I attribute that to is hook spacing. I set my drops from 6 to 7 foot apart. I don't have to worry about that next hook in line getting me, so I can concentrate on the hook I'm holding. Plus a lotta luck!! LOL

    Curt
     
  16. outdoors1988

    outdoors1988 New Member

    Messages:
    213
    State:
    Oklahoma

    i took eye bolts and cut out a part of it so i could slip the rope in and get a good off but i also have a aluminum boat don't know if you do but i just drilled a hole and put big washers on both sides and itdon't have a chance to slip out and drag me in. Most of the time i have to run mine by myself too so wish me luck
     
  17. moondog58

    moondog58 New Member

    Messages:
    262
    State:
    West Virginia
    Ok, some really good ideas here.

    God bless all of you. Hope we all stay safe, it can be a challenge sometimes.

    For me, first; I live in West Virginia and the law requires you to check your line every 24 hours. Thus I only leave mine out on the weekends or when I am off. I take it in when I have to go out of town or when I can't get out to the river to fish.

    Second: always wear a life jacket when running your line. Things can happen just to fast. Hay, they make some really good ones now, that fit well, are very comfortable, and have pockets for tackle. They will hold you up too. I weigh an easy 250 and mine keeps me afloat with my head out of water from shoulders up.

    Last, great advice about knives and keeping them handy. I stick a wooden pin in the oar lock and loop the line over it when I need an extra hand. As for attaching everything, I use snap swivels to attach the leaders to the line, where I have tied snap swivels also. Way to hard to try and tie anything out there in the current. I bait the hook in the boat, then snap the leader with the baited hook to the eye I have tied to the line. Same to take the fish off, just unsnap the leader from the line. If you are leaving the line in the river, bait another hook and snap it to the line where you just took the fish off. Works great.
     
  18. gijimbo

    gijimbo Member

    Messages:
    50
    State:
    Indiana
    Hello Folks,

    I realize this thread is forever old, but here are some things we (my son and I) do to make life easier...

    1) We use Magic Bait trotline clips for all my drop. Bass Pro sells a variation of these clips too. We have not used them yet.

    2) We use the teardrop shaped spring loaded clips (like what you would attach a chain to a dogs collar) for the ends of the trotline.

    3) We use a styrofoam cooler (Huskee) that you can pick-up at Wal-mart. We have marks around the top lip every 1 1/4" so we can lay our baited drops on the marks. Then we place the lid on the cooler when we are done baiting the drops. The lid helps hold them in place so the drops don't get tangled. It is large enough to provide great stability and the two of us can bait the line at the same time.

    4) We use a modified extension cord reel (the orange one that is at find a Wal-mart or Big-R). I have screwed wooden blocks to the inside of the reel to increase the spool diameter. By adding the blocks it allows the air to get underneath it to help dry out your line. This is how we reel up the trotline when we are finsihed. If you get coordinated enough with it you can have one person drive the boat and pay out the trotline while you bait it all in one shot. Once you get to the end of your line simply clip it onto your weight, put some tension on it the toss it overboard.

    5) On our trotlines we have tied a float beside every fifth hook. This allows the line to stay suspended above the bottom. We have found that all you catch is leaves and sticks if your line rests on the bottom. The floats we use come 5 to a pack from bass pro. They were weighted bobbers we cut the spring loaded mechanism off. They are fluorescent orange and yellow and about 3 inches long.

    6) Our trotline weights (18 x 9 patio blocks cut in half and tied together) - we have a 1/4" piece of rope we have tied to our weight. This rope has a fixed loop in it 3 foot or so from the weight. This is the place you clip the trotline too. Above the fixed loop we have a slip knot. We use this slip knot to attach an empty drinking water bottle. We only use one per weight. This keeps the end of the trotline off the bottom.

    7) Since more and more people are out on the water late at night when we are setting our trolines, we use a method of trotlining that is no longer attached to shore. We simply scope out an area where we want to fish then drop our lines. We mark the spot with the GPS and come back the next morning. We retrieve the lines with a 2lb grapnel hook that can be made or bought. It's called a rope finder and can be purchased at Memphis Net and Twine.

    8) Our state requires each line to have the name and address on each line. We have used duct tape and a sharpie marker, but it wears off to easily. We found this dog tag website to have our tags made. Here is the site: ArmyNavy.com. Their prices are very reasonable.

    9) For our drops we use 50lb spider wire. We use it because we downsized our hooks to using Eagle Claw Lazer #2 Kahle hooks. Doubled over spider wire fit through the eye.

    10) We have added 25 foot of green twine to the ends of our trotlines to help camouflage the line when we do tie off to shore.

    These are the modifications and items we use to improve our success. We also use variations of the tips listed prior to this post. Hope it helps someone else.

    Good Luck To All,
    Jim
     
  19. Retiredguy

    Retiredguy New Member

    Messages:
    21
    State:
    Texas
    Hi guys,

    What I use on my boat is a piece of U shaped PVC mounted to the boat with a single bolt, a washer and a wing nut. I have two of these on the boat one mounted about three feet from the bow and another about three feet from the stern. Use large diameter PVC and the hooks will generally slip through them without a problem as you make your way down the line. By having them mounted with a single bolt and wing nut you can quickly reposition them from outside the boat to inside the boat when they are not needed and when the boat is on the trailer. I am trying to come up with a way to mount them on a hinge of some sort so that I can just simply flip them over the side when I need to use them or to get them out of the way.

    Two other things I always do when fishing trotlines are:

    1. I ALWAYS run trot lines with a partner, it makes it much easier and safer epically if you have to wrestle a large fish into the boat.

    2. ALWAYS wear a life vest while running your lines. You never know what can happen. Anything from a large fish pulling you in to an idiot driving a boat to fast and to close to you catching your line and yanking you into the water. Believe me, I have witnessed both of these happen in the past.

    Just my two cents for what it is worth. Good luck,

    Richard
     
  20. Welder

    Welder New Member

    Messages:
    4,834
    State:
    Missouri
    I runn lines on the MO river alone somtimes

    I work in current somtimes with drift.

    Rule No 1 knives handy everywhere. And 1 on ya person strapped to ya.

    Rule 2 take your time get in no hurry checken lines slow is safe

    Rule 3 hook spacing not less than 4 ft apart

    I have a boat cleat up front I check lines boat nose to the current and I can drop it over the cleat if needed. I use heavy line it handles a lil better. If ever a line gets caught on ya cut loose fast.