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Catfish Trotline Fishing

Trotline fishing is a fishing technique that has been used for centuries. It seems complicated but with the right guide, you can learn how to make a trotline, and how you can use it to fish for catfish. Simply put, a trotline is a very long line with hooks attached to sections of it. Once it is placed into the water, the hooks dangle underneath it.

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There are different laws when it comes to the use of trotlines; however, this depends on the state in which you want to use them in. It would be to your advantage to know what the different laws are. Choosing to ignore these laws and play the “I didn’t know” card will not sit well with the Game Fish Authorities. It will be in your favor to stay on their good side. If you are simply fishing for fun or are an angler, the required hooks per trotline are 25.

A major advantage of fishing with a trotline is that there is no need for you to constantly stay with your line. It is of further advantage if you are simply fishing for food or recreational purposes and not commercially. You can simply set your trotline, go back home or to camp and come back early in the morning. You can even catch bait on your way there so that when you get your trotline, you can unhook the fish, set the bait and be ready to fish again!

Trotlines can be used to catch different types of fish but mostly catfish, turtle and crappie. On occasion, trotlines have been recorded to catch gators too, so you need to be prepared to handle such as situation should it arise.

You can use your trotline to move from one side of a channel to another with your hook and line in tow. With that technique you can easily catch any fish swimming in your way. Bait your hooks properly and you could easily lure in hungry fish in the area. As you stretch your line from one side of the channel to the other, ensure that you tie the line to something firm and secure on each side.

Channels are not the only places where trotlines work, as they are just as effective in lakes and ponds as well. However, you should note that you could easily interfere with someone else’s fishing activities so you are advised to know the regulations in that area, and obey them. If you are fishing with your trotline in a pond or lake, you can easily secure the ends of your line with something heavy such as a brick or a large rock. Another alternative would be for you to tie the line to a tree or stump. Depending on the time you may want to come back to check on your line, you could mark the tree to easily find your way back to it.

You can easily make your own trotline with the right tools and supplies. Have a checklist of the following:

Around 55 yards of a heavy cord
25-30 swivels
50-60 clamps
25 hooks
Around 50 ft of a light cord

Start making your trotline by sectioning off around 15 feet of cord on each end of the line for tying or securing. With the remaining feet secure a clamp and swivel, in that order, a few feet apart from each other.

This will prevent tangling of your line. Along these sections you should make drop lines that are around two and a half feet long. The deeper the waters, the longer the drop line should be. Make a loop at the end of each drop line and insert a hook into them.

For the next step, attach the drop lines to a swivel each and bait your hooks. Set your line by finding a good spot with little traffic and secure the ends of your lines. If you need the line to be deeper, you can weigh it down with a weight.

The best time to check your trotline will be late evening or early in the morning. This is because catfish are most active during these times. The best time to catch them would be between midnight and three in the morning. So if you can, set your trotline in the evening, leave it overnight and come back to check in the morning. You’d be surprised at the results.

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