Jug Line Fishing
See the latest jug lining video posted in the section below - see section July 2, 2016!
33" in Catfish on a Jug Line!
Simple and Effective!
Jug Line Fishing is a simple and effective fishing method used primarily for Catfish. The basic jug line uses a float, a line, and a hook.
From there, variations of the basic jug line are expanded on. These variations include adding weights, anchoring the line, and using a dropper line to deploy the rig.
For more details on how to make a jug line, checkout the "How To Make a Jug Line" section below.
PS: Do check out the video in the sidebar. Video was taken on July 19, 2015 on a trip to our local lake. We ended with five Catfish with one going 33" in length!
Good Luck and Good Fishing!
COAF Field Team's Kayak Jug Line Setup
Two Variations We Like!
Before You Go - Be Aware of Fishing Regulations!
Other fish may be caught while jug line fishing but depending on your State, regulations may prohibit keeping game fish caught in this manner.
As a rule of thumb, check your State Fishing Regulations before using this method. For example, in our home state of Texas, the following applies (see TPWD for more details):
- Jugline:For use in FRESH WATER only. A fishing line with five or less hooks tied to a free-floating device.
- May be used to take NONGAME fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish only.
- Placement and Location Restrictions: Juglines may not be used in
- Community Fishing Lakes
- Reservoirs or sections of rivers lying totally within the boundaries of a state park
- Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County
- Bellwood Lake in Smith County
- Lake Bryan in Brazos County
- Boerne City Lake in Kendall County
- Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County
- Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County
- Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County
- North Concho River from O.C. Fisher dam to the Bell Street dam
- Lake Pflugerville in Travis County
- South Concho River from Lone Wolf dam to Bell Street dam
- Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County
- Wheeler Branch Reservoir in Somervell County
- Tagging and Marking Requirements:
- Must be used with a valid GEAR TAG (see Definitions) attached within 6 inches of the free-floating device; gear tag is valid for 10 days after the date set out and must include the number of the permit to sell nongame fish taken from fresh water, if applicable. Properly marked buoys or floats qualify as valid gear tags.
- For non-commercial purposes, a jugline must be marked with a white, free-floating device.
- For commercial purposes, a jugline must be marked with an orange, free-floating device.
NOTE: Do check the latest regulations as changes have occurred since this article was published. Example: non-commercial juglines can use any color free-floating device with exception of orange!
How To Make a Jug Line
This section provides YouTube Videos as examples of how to make a Jug Line. There are many different ways to make a Jug Line. Subsequently, it will be a matter of personal preference on which one works best for you! So, do check the videos out and tell us what worked best for you!
"How To Make Catfish Jugs"
This Jug Line variation uses metal bottles from the feed store that can be sealed watertight and then painted white per state fishing regulations.
We like the metal bottles and the ability to paint them white. We have found painting plastic bottles tend to crack as the bottles heat up from the Summer temps.
Moreover, we like the use of a Clearcoat painted over the Tag as the ink from a Sharpie does tend to fade away as the season progresses.
"How To Make a Noodle Catfish Jug"
This video describes another Jug Line that targets shallow water - 6-8' deep and can be used either as an anchored line or free floating line.
Like other variations, a swimming pool noodle and a short length of pvc pipe are used to make the Jug Line.
We did note the use of reflective tape for night fishing, Gorilla Glue to keep the noodle in place, 4 ounces of scrap lead for the anchor, and that thirteen of the Jug Lines can fit in a 5-Gallon Bucket!
Note: On our Jug Lines we use Decoy Weights taken from our Duck Decoys. Since we tend to fish in the Summer and hunt Ducks in the Winter, we opted to use the Weights instead of letting them sit idle in the Summer.
"Giant Catfish Caught in NC...."
Here is one video we like because it illustrates the Dropper Line Setup.
The Dropper Line Setup is where the main line is tied to the float and the anchor (a brick in the video).
And then, the dropper line that holds an egg sinker and the hook are tied separately to the float.
"Making Catfish Jugs"
This video describes in detail the making of a Flagging Jug Line.
When the fish takes the bait, a weight in the PVC pipe moves from one end to the other causing the Jug Line to "flag" that a fish is on the line!
Moreover, we like the demo on why they set the noodle at 2"-3" from the end of the PVC pipe. Makes sense!
Good video that has the added bonus of describing the making of a Leader Holder using a bucket and a piece of the swimming noodle float.
Nifty way to keep your hooks and leaders from tangling while Jug Lining!
PS: "Just don't tell Debbie you messed up her table."
"Homemade Fishing Noodle"
Another variation of the Jug Line that favors the KISS principle - "Keep It Simple Stupid".
In this case, think of using a 12" of a swimming noodle float and a cot hangar!
That's it... KISS! Gotta like it, too simple.
"Ultimate Fishing Noodle Demo"
This one is a Jug Line that was offered commercially. The video is no longer available.
What we liked about it was the built-in line winder that feeds into the PVC tube.
Keeping lines tangle free makes a difference, especially when we fish using a Kayak!
However, here is one we cam across; it uses Wine Corks!
More variations on the Jug Line. This one is a simple one that uses a Dropper Line.
It is not a Flagging Jug Line, so skip the step that calls for a weight to be placed in the PVC pipe. Instead, it is uses a PVC pipe that is capped on the top and open on the bottom.
A hole is then drilled in the open end to attach the line and the noodle is slipped onto the PVC like in other videos.
We did note the use of white duct tape wrapped around the noodle to comply with the "white colored" float requirement in their State. Also, was good to know Super Glue to hold the noodle in place is an option.
This one comes from the Backwoodsman Institute; it also adheres to the "KISS" principle!
In this example, a gallon milk jug or a swimming noodle is used for the float. And then, 5'-6' of 550 parachute cord is used to attach the hook to the float.
For the swimming noodle, the coat hanger is bent and held in place with duct tape. And, when fishing at night, it recommends placing a chem light stick in the noodle's hole or in the gallon milk jug... Good idea!
"Building a Jugline FLG Style"
This is another Flagging Jug Line that starts out with a nice size Catfish being caught!
Fairly long video but has lots of details that may be of interest to viewers!
Check it out when you get a chance!
"Video from Learn To Catfish"
This video comes from learntocatchcatfish.com; it describes a free floating Jug Line that is simple to make.
Of note are the use of split shot to weigh the hook and the idea of numbered jugs to better track how many jugs have been deployed!
Other materials used include #9 braided line nylon twine, L197F 5/0 Circle Hook, swimming noodle, and duct tape!
Key takeaway - Quantity and simplicity since the host sets out 100 Jug Lines!
"How To On Jug Fishing"
Simple, simple, simple.... that is the key takeaway in this video!
Think a Mountain Dew bottle, tar coated line, hook, and can of white spray paint.
Gotta like it!
[Note: Original video is no longer available; we did find another one that uses the same concept... "Mountain Dew bottle, tar coated line, hook, and can of white spray paint".]
September 7, 2014 on Lake Lavon
Went jug lining on Lake Lavon and had fun time catching Catfish.
Caught four Catfish of which three we kept.
The largest went just over 22", next went 20", and the last went 19" in length!
Texas Fishing Forum - Bullcrappie Tip
Here is one that comes from the Texas Fishing Forum (TFF) as posted by TFF Member Bullcrappie. For ease of reading, the tips have been grouped and paraphrased.
- Gamakatsu Octopus Hooks are an excellent choice for circle hooks. Have used for over tens years and they have excellent corrosion resistance
- Circle hooks have increased hookups by 40 to 50% when using live bream over just lost baits and missed fish.
- Must use a hook size that leaves the point exposed when baited, else the point will not catch in the jaw as it was designed.
- A 4 lb weight made from a Vienna wiener can filled 3/4 full with lead works well for an anchor; use a link of chain or a piece of copper wire for an eyelet.
- A tennis ball sized foam float set about 24 inches above the top hook drop keeps the line taut and allows to be set in deep or shallow water without modifying the jug lines length.
- The float above the hooks holds the hooks and bait vertical and prevents tangling and has enough slack for fish to take the bait and hook themselves.
- The jug float will remain on the surface and the need to roll up slack is not necessary, allowing faster deployment of jug lines.
- Lastly, fasten a 10 inch piece of swimming noodle a foot or so from the jug to make it easier to hook with a gaff when retrieving lines.
- The swimming noodle also doubles as a spool to wind the main line when taking up lines....
Really like the circle hook tip and the use of a float set a 24" above the top hook to keep the line taut and allowing ease of use when setting/re-setting lines!
Great post Bullcrappie!