Take care with unattended fishing rigs

Is it dangerous to leave a limbline unattended?

As catfishing for sport grows as an outdoor pastime across North America, South America and Europe, many fishermen, in an effort to increase their catch, and improve their chances at bagging a truly big fish, have begun resorting to using various types of unattended fishing rigs. Unattended rigs include trotlines, anchorlines, limblines, jugfishing rigs, and anything else used to keep a baited line in the water, without the need for the angler to actually be on the spot. The obvious advantages of fishing in this manner include the ability to try out several different baits, depths or locations all at once, to quickly establish the most productive combinations of these factors, in a given waterway, and then, to fish several lines at one time (with or without the agreement of the local fishing regulations, unfortunately), once the winning combination is chosen. Further, the hours of darkness are far and away the most productive for catfish angling, and yet, this conflicts seriously with the modern, somewhat less-ambitious fisherman’s schedule. Folks these days still want to bag a catch, but do not want to necessarily invest the required personal time and patience in doing so, making unattended, set-and-forget rigs increasingly popular, in our over-booked society.

While all of this is well and good, and more and more folks are getting more and more enjoyment out of the sport, some fishermen have the unfortunate habit of setting out a bunch of lines or jugs, dealing with the ones that get a strike, and sometimes leaving the others to sit indefinitely, or to float away into the past, down a river. Others are simply less vigilant, and leave their lines overnight, through the following day, and into the next evening, when they finally come back to see if they need to bait up again, only to find some hapless, mostly-drowned cat that’s been on the hook for over 20 hours. The message here is, if you are going to set up an unattended rig, be responsible for all of the rigging you have in the water, making sure you retrieve every piece of it, and make sure you check your set lines not less often than every six hours, out of respect for your quarry. Don’t set up more lines or jugs than you can easily attend properly, and make sure you have a way to chase or corral your jugs, if using those, so none of them are lost, creating environmental pollution, underwater snags and uselessly trapped fish.


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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