The Basics of Jugging For Catfish – Techniques and Tips
Jugging for catfish is a great way to catch tons of fish, with a minimum of cost or effort. You'll see it sometimes called 'juglining,' but it's the same thing. It basically involves putting a bunch of jugs out there in the water that have a line running in between them, and on that line are your hooks.
The first thing you should do when you want to go jugging is make sure it's legal. This used to be a really common way to catch fish on the nation's major rivers, but in recent years it has become illegal in some places. Others have strict guidelines about jugging. The reason is that juglines obstruct the water, and get in the way of commercial fishermen and other traffic. For the most part, jugging is best in smaller tribories of major rivers, or small lakes and ponds.
Here is the gear you will need for jugging:
– Jugs. The best things to use for jugs are empty plastic gallon milk jugs. You can use just about anything made of either glass or plastic, as long as it has handles. Make sure you keep the caps because you'll need those to keep your jugs afloat. Some folks use other things that are easy to see, and you can also buy ready-made jugs for jugging at tackle shops.
– Lines. You should have one line for each bottle, and they should be at least 5 feet long. In general, longer is better, but it depends on the body of water you are jugging. If you have a swift current, strong winds, or other traffic around, you may be restricted as to how long your lines can be. But, they should be at least 5 feet.
– Hook and sinker for each line. Just about anything will work for a weight. It should be heavy enough to keep the jugs in place, but not too heavy. A little trial and error will give you an idea of what's too much or too little. Circle hooks work really well for jugging, although you can use anything.
Here's what you do:
Tie the lines to the handles of your jugs. You should have each line tied to two jugs, and each jugs with two lines coming off. You can experiment a little with this, but the standard jugging set-up is to have a row of jugs all tied together in a line.
Put bait on each hook, then start putting the jugs in the water. It is best if you go out there on a boat to put the jugs in the water. You should do it gently, because if there are cats hovering around the bottom, they'll split when they see you come tromping through their feeding ground.
In a pond or lake where you can be close to the jugs, you can sit on shore and wait for a bite, but generally it is best to be out there on a boat waiting for a bite, especially if there is any current. You'll see those jugs bounce, flip, shake and go crazy, and that's the real excitement. When those quiet waters come alive with the jugs shooting every way, that means you've got yourself a bite. Hurry on over there, pick up your jug and whatever you have chewing on your bait. Hopefully, it's a giant cat!