Jugging, or juglining, for catfish is usually done when the main objective is to catch catfish for food rather than for sport. It allows fishermen to catch a large number of fish while not having to sit in one spot.
There are many ways to rig a jug line for catching catfish, but one that has worked consistently over the years is using limb lines, or throw lines to catch catfish. Another good thing about jugging is the fact that it costs very little and is very easy to do.
Basically, you just need to make sure that it is legal in your state, or, if it is legal, make sure you have a special permit if one is required in your state.
It pays to do your homework, because telling the fish and game warden that you ‘didn’t know’ rarely, if ever, works well, and you will most likely find yourself with a hefty fine if you are not careful. Once you have determined that it is legal to jug fish in your area, you just put a bunch of jugs that have a line with hooks on it, running between them, in the water.
To set up a jugline, you will need:
Jugs such as empty gallon sized milk jugs with caps (specially made jugs can also be purchased at tackle shops).
A line for each bottle–a minimum of five feet in length (you will have to adjust the length according to variables such as current, wind, and traffic, but they need to be at least 5′ long, and will be tied to the handle of the jug).
A hook and sinker for each line (circle hooks are good for jugging, but other types of hooks may be used, and you will need enough weight to keep your jug stationary in the water).
To catch fish on your jugline, you will need to:
Tie two lines to the handle of each jug. One will have your hook on it, and the other will tie your jug to the jug next to it.Bait each hook.
Use whatever bait you would normally use to catch catfish in the area.Cautiously put the jugs in the water.
Concentrate on areas that provide some cover, drop offs, areas with current, and the normal areas in which you would normally find catfish, but don’t cause a commotion and scare the fish away.
If you are jugging for catfish on a pond or lake where you can be close to the jugs, you can sit it out on the bank and wait for a bite, but most juggers choose to wait in a boat where they can be near the jugs, and chase one down if they need to.
Also, be aware that if there is a current, the current could take your jug, and you might need to chase it down.
As soon as you see the jugs moving around erratically, when they are jumping, shaking, and flipping about, you have a bite. You just go out and pull up the jug, and be ready to take off whatever is on the line.