Trotlining Tips and Techniques

Discussion in 'Alternative Methods of Catching Catfish' started by sheldonc, May 1, 2009.

  1. sheldonc

    sheldonc New Member

    Messages:
    52
    State:
    Arkansas
    When I first joined this sight there had just been a good thread going on trotlining. However, due to the haters the thread had apparently gotten out of hand and had been locked/discarded. I was wondering if we could get another one going. If trotlining is not your cup of tea please just don't respond in a way that takes the thread off of the board.

    I love trotlining but I am pretty basic. I would like to see how different people do it and hear about methods for different depths and
    different times of the year.

    Thanks,
     
  2. Jollymon

    Jollymon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,619
    State:
    Wilm .N.C
    I,ve got one also never set it yet the info from some that, do it regulary would be nice,
     

  3. Galla Creek Arky

    Galla Creek Arky New Member

    Messages:
    25
    State:
    arkansas
    I just bought one also and it would be nice to have some hints.


    Larry
     
  4. Vector

    Vector New Member

    Messages:
    123
    State:
    Midwest
    :smile2: I'm looking forward to this one.

    Here's my first VERY BASIC tip.......set your line close to a channel on a flat.

    One more......if you run out of good bait, a hotdog on a hook is better than an empty hook.

    And.....don't use too small of equipment if big boys are lurking in the area. You could regret buying cheaper line if the time comes you've got a big one on a trot.

    Vector
     
  5. shooter06

    shooter06 New Member

    Messages:
    41
    State:
    Central Missouri
    What style of hook is the best for trotlining? Size?
     
  6. kyredneck

    kyredneck New Member

    Messages:
    1,021
    State:
    Kentucky
    Michael, I used about 30% circle hooks last year on my limblines and trotline and was so pleased with the increased hook ups that I have switched totally over to them this year.
     
  7. kat in the hat

    kat in the hat New Member

    Messages:
    4,875
    State:
    Missouri
    Here's a couple of tidbits of information...When you catch a fish, never lift it out of the water with the line. Get a net under it ASAP. May seem obvious, but alot of fish are lost that way. "Oh, I've got a fish on...think I'll lift the line so I can see what it is." Don't do it. Just be gentle and patient till you get to the fish. Take your time so the fish doesn't panic. It may also be tempting to check the line by lifting it out of the water from one end. Don't do it. Just walk all the way down the line checking each hook.

    Also, when done baiting your line, don't just let go of it...or "pop" the line. That will knock some of the bait off. Walk the line all the way to the end, and ease it down into the water.
     
  8. sheldonc

    sheldonc New Member

    Messages:
    52
    State:
    Arkansas
    Thanks kyredneck. I have seen some of those threads but I missed others.

    I make all of my own lines and I try to keep my lines in less than 10 feet of water. On Lake Ouachita it has gotten nearly impossible to keep the bass guys from cutting your lines. I keep all my sets pretty simple so they can be put out in the evening and pulled the next morning. I just stay within sight of the line and that keeps my lines intact. I also am gettting a better catch ration because I check the lines a couple of times and rebait during the night. I make my lines out of #36 line and my drops outof #18. My hooks are generally just a good laser sharp 5/0 J-hook.
    I use swivels held in place by a knot on either side. My drops are 5-6' apart. I stretch my mainline first and then come back and add the drops.
    What I do is pretty basic but it seems to work. I have learned that coves
    just don't seem to be that productive. Yje best spot that I have found is
    clay or shell banks on the main lake with a cut. Stretch your line across
    the cut and I seem to catch a good amount of 3-5lb flats and channels.
    Perfect.
    For bait I am pretty simple. I like to use bream caught from the lake I am fishing. Catching the little bream is a prelude to the action yet to come.
    If I think I am in prime flathead habitat I will bait exclusively with live bream. If it is a catch all location I will bait with bream, minnows,
    garlic, coolaid hot dogs, and rabbit liver soaked in garlic powder.

    That is pretty much how I do it. I don't trotline near as ofter as I use to
    but I sure enjoy it when I get the chance.

    Most important tidbit of all. Safety is the #1 concern when trotlining. I keep a belt knife and a ankle knife and a life jacket on anytime I am handling a line. Going overboard with a weighted line holding you to the bottom is serious stuff.
     
  9. Vector

    Vector New Member

    Messages:
    123
    State:
    Midwest
    NO question knives are important!!!!

    I really like the tips about keeping the line in the water and working it slowly too. Got time, don't get the fish all riled up, cause they WILL come off. (Personal experience speaking......)

    I like kahle hooks from Eagle Claw. The hooks being sharp is #1, no question about it. I switched from circles to kahles, and my hookups increased a TON......and at the same time, I had less bait lost!

    I "V" my lines with one weight in the middle, but I think I'm going to experiment this year with two weights and possibly a float in the middle.

    Parker
     
  10. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Be sure to check out the articles in our library on trotlining.
     
  11. craddock1

    craddock1 Active Member

    Messages:
    957
    State:
    TENNESSEE
    the most important thing i can think of while trotlining is always keep a good sharp knife handy. Over the years I have lost 2 good friends who got hooked on thier own line and pulled overboard.
     
  12. BigCatter54

    BigCatter54 New Member

    Messages:
    811
    State:
    Oklahoma City
    My advice, if going after flatheads, live bait is the only thing that will produce them with any consistancy, make your own line, like the guys said before you buy the cheap ones and a biggin gets ahold of it your gonna regret loosing a fish of a lifetime becasue your stuff wasnt up to par (this goes for your stages as well), I use 9/0 hooks, and have caught plenty of little cats on them, and they sure hold up better on the 50+ lbers that you will catch, when running a line always have a net ready, a lot of times these cats are barely hooked and you will only get one shot at landing them. Bring buddies along, trotlining in my book is a group sport, and having buddies who like trotlining as much as you makes your trips a lot more enjoyable. Live and learn, the more you get out there and try different spots and baits, the more you will learn, and dont count a spot out just because it doesnt produce for a couple of times, these seem to be the places that I catch my biggest fish on. IF you want to know more specifics PM me.

    Chad
     
  13. dieselcat

    dieselcat New Member

    Messages:
    406
    State:
    Washington, Mis
    My favorite and the only hooks i use are Eagleclaw 90ss,they are a 9/0 stainless off set hook,IMO is the best there is.........good luck.
     
  14. kat in the hat

    kat in the hat New Member

    Messages:
    4,875
    State:
    Missouri
    Another way is to make drop lines for your weights that are as long as you would like to keep the hooks off the bottom. You could use as many or as few weights as you like to follow the contour of the bottom. I think that if you use a float to keep the hooks up, there is too much slack in the line. I've seen diagrams of some sets that employ floats...and they may work, but couldn't possibly keep the line as tight as I like it to be. Had a buddy try one set that used a float at each end, and when we ran the line, all the hooks were empty, and it was pulled all out of shape...didn't work too well.
     
  15. Vector

    Vector New Member

    Messages:
    123
    State:
    Midwest
    Very good thoughts there kat. I like the way you're thinking. My reason for wanting to put the float in the middle was to keep the line tighter, but you're right. Make the weight droppers how far I want things to be off the bottom, and I should be good to go. I definately do NOT want a loose line. I like 'em snug.

    Vector
     
  16. whisker maniac

    whisker maniac New Member

    Messages:
    2,712
    State:
    arkansas
    1) use small weights.. around 1lb but put them every five hooks will keep your line tight and follow the contour of the bottom. Also tie on a three foot single line on the weights and tie them on with a slip knot (cowboy knot) this will also keep them from sliding on your line and you can set the depth of your hooks whether you want them off the bottom or on the bottom just tie the weight at the depth you want.

    2) When tying your drops run the loop of your drop thru the back of the eye of the hook first. This will cause the hook to hang with the tip more open and down no matter what kind of hook you use. What this does is make the fish take the hook in deeper in their mouth when they take the bait and you'll get a stronger better hook up. This alone will increase your catch by 30 %
     
  17. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    I do it just a little different. I put a 4#-5# weight about every 10' or so with the connecting line the distance I want the line above the bottom; but I also attach a fairly small float, such as a 16-20oz soda bottle to the main trotline where I attached the weight. The heavy weight holds the trotline down; the float holds it tight against the weight. Just my personal way of doing it. I don't usually rig trotlines that way, but rather rig the line straight & level at a particular depth.
     
  18. vetrock

    vetrock New Member

    Messages:
    157
    State:
    ar
    I fish in a small enough river that I run my line from bank to bank often. My absolute favorite spot to put a line is to find a bend in the river that has a small sandbar on one side and a deep hole on the other.

    That way you have the bait in the deep water for the day and the shallows at night. I find that I catch a lot of flatheads in the holes and channels in the shallows.

    I have switched completely to circle hooks. One warning - they are much tougher to get out of the fishes mouth. On a positive note, I have hooked more fish, and am less likely to hook myself with them.

    I use exclesively live bait. The natural bream (the "red bellies") are best, but if you dont have time to catch your bait then, trotline (big) minnows, big slicks, and crawfish all work.