What Is Jug Fishing?

What is jug fishing for catfish, how do I do it, and does it work?

Jug fishing goes by many names – juglining, trotlining, jugging – and there are different regional variations, but basically it refers to the same thing. Jug fishing means putting a series of lines out in the water with some kind of jug floating in the water to tell you when you’ve gotten a bite. There is a jug for each hook, and when a catfish comes along and takes a bite, that jug starts flopping up and down, and you can go in for the kill. You can use basically anything that will float in the water. This includes empty milk jugs, 2-liter bottles, or PVC piping. Some jug fishers paint their jugs so that it will be more obvious when it moves. Cats are known for taking delicate little nips at the bait and running off without getting hooked, so the colors make it more obvious, especially at night. You can rig up your jugs just about any old way. Some anglers wrap their line around the jugs, and some have really fancy ways of setting them up. Some of the old pro’s have made their own jugs and have a total system rigged up. It works well, and here’s the reason why: catfish are sneaky. They can come along, decide they like that juicy bait, take a nip on it so quick and so soft that even the seasoned angler on the end of that line doesn’t feel it, and then it’s goodbye fish fry. Give jug fishing a try and you’ll know what it’s all about.


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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