I am here at Lake Limestone today, and my friend and I have been catfish jug fishing yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Just this morning, we pulled in 5 keeper catfish, with one blue catfish weighing in at about 20 pounds. I was excited when my fishing buddy pulled that catfish off the jug!
Now, Lake Limestone has a name in a Texas for some good catfishing, and I can tell you from first hand experience that this lake produces some very nice catfish. Nearly every time we come out here, we’ll catch anywhere from 50-200 pounds of catfish, and we don’t stay more than 3 days at a time. But you might be wondering, how do we do so well on jug lines?
The “Hidden” Secrets to Catfish Jug Fishing
One of the secrets to using jug lines when going after catfish is the depth. Many fisherman fish their jug lines deep. We don’t. We fish our jug lines at approximately 3 feet deep. We do this for many reasons, to include the ease of pulling in the fish, less tangles and lost lines, and most importantly, when the fish are held close to the surface, they’ll stay alive. So when we are fishing, we’ll generally leave the jugs out in the water for several hours, and often overnight. So if you are fishing deep, the fish don’t have as much oxygen, and if they get pinned to the bottom, they’ll die quickly. Then you have a bloated catfish carcase to deal with. Sound like fun? Not to me.
The second secret is the catfish bait. The best bait we have found for catfish jugging is perch. We’ll catch the perch with a rod and reel on worms, then fillet 2/3 of one side of the perch, and attach it to the line. This will put some blood and scent in the water, and will bring in the catfish.
Last, if you have ever been jug fishing for catfish, you may have been frustrated by dry hooks. Catfish are crafty enough to twist off of a lot of hooks. The secret is in using circle hooks. Put a circle hook on the end of some heavy weight string with a large barrel swivel, and the catfish will set the hook on themselves! Many, many fish that we have brought in have been hooked so well, that we have to exert some real effort into getting the hook loose from the fish.
So to bring it all together, here’s what we do. We find an area full of submerged stumps, we use a quarter gallon square jug, we tie it off the exposed stump with 3 feet of heavy string, a barrel swivel, and circle hook equipped with a bleeding perch. We let it sit for several hours, then we come back through, pull off the fish, and re-bait for more action. And I am telling you, we catch fish! This morning was slow with only 5 fish, and we are looking for a much better catch this afternoon…