Jug Fishing is in the realm of ‘serious’ catfishing. By serious, I mean it is for people who want to catch many catfish consistently and fill up the freezer. Most ‘serious’ catfish people will choose jug fishing over all other forms of fishing.
It is fun, cheap, productive and easy to do. One of the advantages to jug fishing is that you can spread your jugs over a much larger area than is possible any other type of setline. It is also much easier to re-locate juglines from an unproductive area than it is for other setlines.
Juglines can catch catfish, from eating size all the way to behemoths in the 50+ lb. range. They are a great way to catch many catfish in a short period. It is also one of the least expensive methods of fishing. All that is actually required is a boat of some kind (or raft, float-tube or even an air mattress), bait, plastic jugs, string and terminal tackle.
Commercially made, pre-rigged fishing jugs are on the market, but you can also make your own very easily and cheaply. A Jug unit consists of a plastic jug (old milk or Sunny Delight jugs work great. So do Anti-Freeze jugs and 2 liter plastic soda bottles), a mainline (usually heavy kite or parcel string), a weight, hooks and some monofilament leaders.
You can rig several hooks on each jugline. You can let the weight go all the way to the bottom, or rig it at a certain depth and let it drift, to cover more water.
To make a jug line, you need:
A plastic jug
Silicone sealant (caulk)
A roll of braided nylon twine
Several size 1-2/0 Aberdeen hooks (your choice)
White spray paint (if required in your state)
Permanent Marker (if required in your state)
Reflective tape (if required in your state)
Heavy (1-3 oz.) bell sinker
10-25 lb. monofilament (for leaders)
Check your jugs for cracks and splits. This is best done by filling them with water and look for leaks. Many States require jugs to be white or a bright color. If so, then start by painting your jugs with the white spray paint and let them dry. Then squeeze some silicone into the caps and screw them on. Allow them to dry. This is to make sure they are watertight.
Next, unroll a length of the braided nylon twine, about 25-30′ should be plenty. Tie one end of the twine securely to the handle of the jug (or around the neck if using soda bottles) so that it cannot come off. Your depth can be adjusted by wrapping, or unwrapping the line around the handle.
Next, tie the bell sinkers to the bottom of each rig. I prefer using a Perfection Loop knot for this. Now, for each hook, you can snell them with the monofilament. You only need about a 10″ leader. Starting from the bottom, tie on a hook at the 3′ mark, using a three-way or barrel swivel.
Then, go up to the 6′ level and tie a hook, and so on, until you have all the hooks you want on it. I recommend sticking with just three, for simplicity. Repeat for each jug unit.
If your state requires it, then put reflective tape on the top of the jug and use the permanent marker to write your name, address, phone number, and any other required information on the top of the jug. To store the units, simply wrap the mainline around the handles and the bodies of the jugs until you are ready to use them.