Four Jug Catfishing Tips and Tactics

Fishing for catfish is one of the most exciting types of fishing there is and there are many different ways to catch catfish. Anglers can cast, jig, drift fish and bottom fish for this species but two unconventional ways to seek them out are, noodling and jug fishing. Noodling is only for the very daring fisherman because it requires catching the fish with your bare hands but jug fishing is an excellent method that anyone can try.
Using a jug to catch a fish may sound a little strange if you have never used this method or seen it used before but it’s an excellent way to fish. It’s inexpensive and a lot of fun. Since most catfish will strike at anything that remotely resembles food, you don’t have to worry too much about bait.
How to Get Started
Getting started is easy. You just need to gather your jugs and other supplies. Any type of jug will do as long as it didn’t have anything in it that could contaminate the water. The best options are water jugs, milk jugs and juice containers. After choosing your containers, gather up some fishing line, hooks and bait. Cut the fishing line in sections to tie to the jugs. The length will depend on how deep the water will be where you plan to fish.
Take one end of the fishing line and tie it to the jug, then tie the other end to a fishing hook. Choose your bait and head to the water. Before you place jugs in the water, check the laws in your area to make sure it’s legal and to find out if there are any restrictions on using this method. This type of fishing is not allowed in some bodies of water and in others, there are strict guidelines that you must follow. In some areas, you must stay with the jugs and monitor them constantly and in other places, you can leave for short periods only.
After you choose your spot and learn the laws surrounding that particular lake or river, it’s time to get started. Simply add your favorite bait to the hook and you’re ready to place the jugs in the water. Be sure and secure them to a rock or branch with string so they won’t float away. Make the string long enough to allow the jugs to move around with the bait underneath. If it’s too short, the results won’t be as good.
Look for spots around brush piles, stumps, sunken trees or other underwater structures and this is where you need to place the jugs. Make the fishing line with the hook long enough to get the bait on the bottom where the catfish normally stay.
Tips and Tactics to Use When Jug Fishing for Catfish
Jug fishing is one of the simplest methods you can use when fishing for catfish but there are some tips and tactics available to make it easier and more productive.
Here are four tips and tactics to try on your jug fishing trip:
1. Place the jugs in the shallow parts of the water instead of trying to fish in the deeper parts. This will make it much easier for you to reach them when you catch a fish. Being closer to the shore also makes it easier to tie your jugs loosely to the dock, a tree or some other sturdy object to keep them from floating away.
2. The best hooks to use when jug fishing for catfish are circle hooks. These will hook in the corner part of the mouth so they are more secure than other types, which reduce the chances of losing your catch. They can also be removed easier without doing a lot of damage to the fish.
3. When jug fishing, look for areas with a slow moving current. This works the best because they keep the bait moving around at a slow steady pace making it easier for the catfish to spot. This will also help to keep your lines from being tangled up with each other as often.
4. Paint the jugs before going fishing and this will make it easier for you to see them in the water. Sometimes, the sun will reflect off the white jugs and make it very difficult to spot them. You can be as creative as you want when decorating your jugs so have fun with it.
Your bait is not as important with catfish as other species but they do still have preferences. Stink bait, minnows, worms, shrimp and perch are all favorable choices. Look for the bait fish found naturally in the area and choose something that matches. A catfish will strike much quicker to something that it’s familiar with than something that appears odd. If you have never used this method before, give jug fishing a try. It’s something the whole family can enjoy together.

Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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