Trotlines are one of the more popular ways to catfish. A common setup is to secure at least one end of the trotline to a stump, bank or even a sturdy tree branch that sits right at the water's edge. Weights are attached to the trotline in the middle (depending on the length of the line you might need to weight it at quarter lengths) to keep it underwater and to prevent larger catfish from dragging the line all over the place [source: Eggertson].
Trotlines range in length from 50 to 100 feet (15.2 to 30.5 meters). With this size, you may have 25 to 50 hooks on the line. Yes, it's a long line, and it's sharp. Bring the following gear to assist you while working the trotline:
- A pair of sturdy gloves
- Needle-nose pliers
- A net
- Weights and floaters
- A knife [source: Eggertson]
Once the line is set, you can start baiting the line. Use bait that will stay secure no matter how many catfish you have tugging on the line [source: Texas Catfishin' Resource]. You can rebait the line after you catch your first batch.
Trotline catfishing is better in shallow to medium waters, but make sure you keep your trotline anchored low enough that it won't get caught in the boat's propellers [source: Texas Catfishin' Resource]. Also, keep your lines away from swimming and fishing areas.
A little intimidated by trotlines? No problem. Read on to learn about the trotline's cousin -- the throw line.