Original post made by Allen L. Knepp(Poppie) on June 30, 2005
© 2005 Trotlining Surprises
One of the beauties of trotlining is that you never know what you will catch . . . Providing, of course, you manage to catch anything. When we run a new trotline we do so expecting to catch catfish. There are others trying to catch fish that are not legal to trotline but they do it anyway. Of course no BOC Member would do such a thing but it does happen AND THE CATCH ISNT LIMITED TO FISH EITHER! I know one guy who was caught with almost 40 Wild Turkeys on a trotline stretched across the ground and baited with corn! I know he got caught because I turned him in and Id do it again if the need ever arose!
Once you stretch a line across a creek, river, pond or lake, put a bunch of hooks on it, and then cover the hooks with bait . . . Why theres no telling what you might have dangling from any one hook . . . The next time you check! One fact about trotlining most of us never even give a thought to is the simple truth that, A TROUTLINE AMOUNTS TO LITTLE MORE THEN BOOBIE TRAP (not that those boobies! Clown geeze!) BOOBY TRAP FOR FISH AND ANYTHING ELSE THAT MAY PASS BY! About the only thing the fisherman/woman has any control over is by our choice of bait and the placement of the line itself. The trotline is otherwise as indiscriminate as any booby trap ever conceived.
The problem with any booby trap is the lack of control of who/what is caught, trapped, or killed. Unfortunately the victim is often not the intended target the trap was set for. It is this lack of control that has made booby traps, of any nature, illegal in many areas, and will likely lead to the demise of trot lining, eventually!
Catching your first gar on a trot line, especially a big one, can be a rather annoying surprise, to say the least! When you are expecting the smooth skin of a catfish to break the surface but find yourself faced with row after row of the snapping jaws and razor sharp teeth of a big old gar qualifies as somewhat of a surprise!
Every trot liner I know of has caught more than one turtle. The soft shell or Loggerheads arent that much of a problem, a pain in the butt, perhaps, but not a problem . . . Especially when compared to a Snapper with jaws capable of amputating a finger before you can yell OUCH!!!!!! I have had several snappers in the 50 - 60# bracket and can say, without fear of contradiction , SNAPPERS DONT TAKE KINDLY TO BEING HOOKED! WHEN THEYRE THAT SIZE THEY DONT TAKE KINDLY TO MUCH OF ANYTHING . . . INCLUDING GIVING YOU BACK YOU HOOK! I had one huge sucker chomp down on the handle of a hatchet, I keep on my boat for just this purpose, and the SOB broke it! In my infinite wisdom I cut the line above the hook (way above the hook) and let it go!
Snappers make some great eating if you know how to clean them, (which I do not, nor do I care to learn) but, I have a friend that does. I usually keep a gunny sack on my boat to put turtles in and give them to my friend, One night he and I were fishing and I got a huge snapper that my buddy refused to let go! After more effort than the turtle was worth, by my standards, we got the ugly sucker into the sack and got back to fishing. About twenty minutes or so later my buddy starts screaming his head off. I didnt know weather he had a huge fish or what, hell Ive had friends shot that didnt sound like he did, that night!
I finally found my flashlight and started looking for monsters, an invading force, aliens, what ever! Finally he managed to say, MY FOOT! YEP . . . You guessed it. That damn turtle ate his way out of the bag and was now clamped tightly on my buddies foot! Fortunately, for him, he had steel toe work boots on but you should have see the looks we got in the ER ROOM at the hospital! They literally had to cut the turtle off his foot, which was bad enough but then they had to cut his boot off and put stitches in his toes were the turtle had collapsed the steel toe to the point the boot had cut his toes deep enough to require stitches! BET HE NEVER ENJOYED EATING A TURTLE AS MUCH AS HE DID THAT ONE!
Another of my friends came up with a novel way to trotline in the summer when the water is low. He would find some riffles in a stream, crick, or river and run his line across the deep hole that formed below the riffles. He was catch some good fish in these holes because they couldnt go anywhere else. His trout lining came to a screeching halt one day as he was running his line. He had several fish and could feel something pulling angrily further out the line. It was while he was removing a cat that he looked over and saw a COTTONMOUTH about 20 ft. long, according to him, caught on a hook only 2 hooks away! Knowing how much he fears snakes Im sure he was able to walk, OK . . . RUN across the surface until he reached the safety of the shore and his truck! HE NEVER WENT BACK AND NOW ONLY TROTLINES FROM A BOAT!
In case you are wondering, I HAVE VERY FEW NORMAL FRIENDS! But then again whos to say whats normal and what aint?
Now for no extra charge I would like to impart a word of wisdom if you choose to listen or not is up to you. After 60+ years in the outdoors I have concluded there is indeed a SECRET TO SUCCESS! For lack of a better word I will call it ATTITUDE! No one ever associates attitude with hunting or fishing but I consider it the single most important tool to take with you into the field. If you go hunting or fishing with the attitude you must catch or kill something odds are YOU WONT DO EITHER!
You must learn to convince yourself that success is not measured by the bag! Every time you go hunting or fishing be it for bait or a trophy you will be living an experience of a lifetime! Life does not come with any guarantees except one. Someday it will end and none of us knows when. Mans time on earth is indeed short when compared to nature therefore we must take the time to smell the roses! We rush through life so fast and furiously we miss more of it than we live! WHY? You cant save those stolen minutes for a rainy day, you cant put them into a bank or invested them! SO WHY RUSH? WHY PUSH?
Say good morning to a stranger it may be the only good thing that happens to them that entire day! Play with your kids every chance you can before you know it theyll be grown and gone. When you go hunting or fishing everything you see or hear it will never be repeated exactly the same way again. LEARN TO ENJOY LIFE TO THE FULLEST theres no guarantee youll ever have another chance. I have never been late for an appointment in my life BIG WHOOP what did that prove absolutely nothing! I taught my kids how to shoot, hunt, fish, cook without utensils and they can still do it . . . THAT PROVED SOMETHING! Live each day to its full extent and appreciate what you have and quit worrying about the things you dont have! Later, Poppie