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Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by JMarrs328, May 16, 2007.
how do i go about setting up a trotline, and what should i use as far as terminal tackle and bait?
there r sev different ways to set up a trotline. now that th water is gettin warmer, th thermocline will be rising, during th winter u can run trots off th bottom, during th summer u wanna suspend them about th middle of th lake/river u r fishing. I tie mine off to a tree stump or root, or even a rebarb I have shoved into th ground. I run it in coves using cut shad, gold fish, or even chicken gizzards, weigh it down w/ old window weights, old brake rotors, or u can make your own w/concrete, wire, and family size greenbean cans. at th end of th trot is where u will use a bleach bottle to hold th trot up off th bottom about half way up. I hope this helps. if u r a visual learner, just look around here u should find something in th library.
almost forgot terminal tackle. I use 4/0 - 8/0 circle hooks, or khale hooks as well, i ahve even had luck w/just plain old straight J hooks.
What kind of water will you be fishing?
If its moving water. Fishing on the bottom works good. Here theres current during the day. And cuts off at night.
We fish them on bottom. Or float the main line abut 4 to 6 ft off the bottom. But we do not have fish die on ours until later in the year.
I Use number 9 or 12 twisted line for the drop lines off a #21 main line. Spacing the hooks from 4 ft to 6 ft apart.
Hooks are up to what size fish your after.
If you'll check the library, you'll find lots more info there. Down here in Arkansas, I've always started trotlining in March or early April, usually in the area where there's a warm water discharge from a nuclear power plant. If you only leave your lines in the water for a day or two at a time, you can get by with nickel or bronze hooks, but if you're going to leave them in for much longer than that, you need to go with stainless steel hooks. This time of year, the Arkansas River is usually very high, and I don't like trying to fish the river when it's like that, whether with rod & reel, jugs, or trotlines. I've always used fresh cut shad or skipjack with excellent results; I tried cut bream once, and caught only channel cats. So, if you don't have many (any?) blues up there, and if it's legal, you might want to try using cut bream (sunfish). When the channels begin to spawn, short lines along the riprap can be very productive.
Another reason for fishing the bottom of a river (moving water) is that the current is less strong there due simply to friction, and fish generally follow the path of least resistance.
Last summer, I had a bad experience fishing lines on the bottom in 15 feet of water. Several fish died, and I hate to see even one go to waste. I will never sink a line that deep again. Right now, I'm fishing in about 5' of water. Later as the water warms up, I will fish deeper water, but make sure the lines are suspended properly so fish don't die.
yeah, u gotta remember that when fishing in 20 foot or more, th thermocline, or oxygen level, rises as th water warms up, so u dont wanna run your trots on th bottom during th summer, but works well in winter when th o2 is at th bottom.
If you're trotlining a lake, that's a good point about the thermocline, but I'm not so sure that one forms in a river---at least if there's a good current in the river. I've never had any problems with one on the Arkansas, although one might possible form in the deepest spots above the dams. I haven't trotlined those spots.
Can heavy mono be used for the dropper lines? Say 40-50lb.
I won't say it can't be used, but expect to have to replace almost every dropper you catch a fish on. Despite swivels, the spinning of a catfish will twist up that dropper almost every time; nylon will simply untangle, while mono kinks up forever. And because the droppers gets twisted, I always use braided nylon for my droppers. I use twisted nylon for the mainline, and for my jugs, which don't get nearly so twisted up. Even so, I occasionally have to replace a jugline from the twisting. I don't use braided on my jugs because of its larger diameter.
I will scratch that idea then and go with some braided nylon. I have some that I use for backing on my fly rods that will probably work pretty good. Does the color of the main line or droppers matter much? I've seen line specifically for trotlines that's black and looks like it's coated with tar, not sure if that's a necessity, though. White will probably work just fine.
Color is mainly a matter of preference. The line that looks like it's coated with tar is supposed to last longer, but I've never had plain white nylon rot out on me. For your mainline, I recommend twisted nylon of at least 350#-450# because smaller line is going to cut into your hands while you're running the lines. My droppers are generally 150# braided nylon, cut into 24" lengths, then tied to make a loop. Flatten out the loop and push one end through the eye of the hook, then bring the hook through the loop to attach the hook without using a knot. Do the same thing with the other end of the loop to attach the dropper to the swivel on the mainline. If you don't use swivels on your mainline, you're going to have the droppers twist up a lot more, and lose a lot of fish. You can buy the spools of nylon line in the catfishing section of Wal-Mart, or at any good bait & tackle shop.
I totally agree wit Jtrew.
Nylon is the only way to go for trot lines. Make sure you use those swivel's..
Yes, good post. I do pretty much the same thing
Say ur fishing in 10 feet of water how do u know how far ur trotline is going down using a window weight on each end. Do u break the window weight in half. Or is how for u put it down the trotline?
Maybe it can be done, but 150# braided nylon chord works better, and is cheaper.
Normally, I will tie both ends to an inanimate object like a tree, or a snag of some sort. I use lugs from 2 piece tractor wheels for weights. They are aprox. 3# each. May use 1, or up to 4 depending on conditions, and location. I like to keep my lines out of people's way, but if it's in a remote location, I don't worry about that so much. The length of line attatched to the weight will determine how far off the bottom the line is suspended. Some folks will attatch a jug above the weight also, but I don't/haven't. Tight lines are key to good hookset, so I won't weight both ends. I have weighted ONE end from time to time, but preffer to fasten both ends securely, and very taught, then clip on weights where needed.
There are diagrams swowing how to set lines in our library.
Thanks for the help everyone!!!