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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm normally a yo yo kinda guy for passive fishing but I'd like to increase my hooks in the water. I have a trot line rigged and ready to go but I've never put one out. I've read different methods and I'm not sure I know the best way to go about setting the line. I was considering tying off to a tree running the line and setting the other end with an anchor. With this setup would i need to weight the front end of the line also to keep it close to the bottom? Or would it be better to tie off to two trees or stumps and weight the line in the middle and both ends. Mind you this line will be ran in a lake so current is not an issue. Just looking for tips for a rookie.
 

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We always ran ours in pockets where we could run from one bank to the other. Or in a stumpy pocket where we could tie to a stick up. Always weighted ours in the middle.

But, I have see all sorts of setups. In the end, all that really matters is that your line is secure and not going to float way. Also want to mark it so folks know its there. Can't remember what all game and fish regs are for them.
 

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Commish Weld
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When I was younger (and ran trot lines in the AR River), we would tie off on the bank and sink the other end with some kind of anchor. We bated them with shiners 3"-4" shiners and caught a bunch of catfish. We would try and set our lines just out of the main current.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
When I was younger (and ran trot lines in the AR River), we would tie off on the bank and sink the other end with some kind of anchor. We bated them with shiners 3"-4" shiners and caught a bunch of catfish. We would try and set our lines just out of the main current.
Going about it that way did weight the line in the middle anywhere?
 

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When I trot line it seems to be anything but passive. It can be a lot of work. I'd keep it simple and small at first, don't set too many lines the first time! Maybe I'm doing it wrong...

How I set them depends entirely on the location (river vs lake and what I'm after - flatheads I sometimes "float" the line or at least use an underwater floated, air-filled bottle to raise the hooks in the water column {sometimes I do that anyway}).

There can really be a lot to it, and the set-ups I use depend entirely on location, but I think you'll like it. It can be frustrating to get it set right and keep it baited and run every few hours in some places, or it can be a simple set it and leave it set up. You'll see what I mean!

You can just tie off one end to a tree and drag it out in the lake with a cinder-block weight, tie off between two stumps/trees in a cove or other location across a channel, etc., and weight it in the middle, tie off between two locations, weight it and use an underwater float bottle in the middle with weights 1/3 of the way from each end to make a "W" type presentation across the water column, or any number of different set-ups. The possibilities in different locations are endless, and it can be a lot of fun, but work. The types of bait you use and the species you are targeting can vary (live bait/cut-bait/worms/liver, and so-on).

It is a lot of fun, but it takes effort in most cases if I'm doing it right. I like to run them every couple of hours (it varies), remove fish, and to keep it baited/set up right if it gets tangled up, etc., but there's little I find more exciting than approaching my line and seeing it bouncing, then feeling the tug as I pull the boat down the line towards the fish, and the thrill of pulling up the line when I get there and seeing what's on the line appear through the water in the light! The anticipation is awesome! Nothing better than seeing that big tail flash by for the first time as you pull it up after feeling the tugs!

Be careful with the weights and line when dropping, and the hooks at all times, and make sure you keep a knife or two at the ready in case/when you get hooked somehow... I think you're going to love it! Good luck!
 

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There is no "right way" to run a line. If I don't have to worry about someone pulling fish while I'm gone I usually tie to a tree and anchor the other end with a concrete block. Put a float about 3/4 down the line. You can set the float whatever depth you need.
 

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I always tie off both ends to either roots, trees or stumps. As far as weights I normally add window weights to both ends about 15-20ft from where it is tied off. I also make sure that I adjust the cord on my weight to where it positions the hooks about 12-18" off bottom.
 

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We tried trotlines over the years and like MSWING said, they are a lot of work. I would rather take 20-30 limb lines and set them out. It's wonderful seeing that ole green limb bent over going nuts.

BUT, as for trotlining, tie to tree, weight the end that is in the water. Put a couple of markers along the way to let folks know there is a line under here. Milk jugs, 2 liter bottles, bleach bottles work for the markers.
 

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If you load the box right they peel off without a snag. My wife's grandfather commercial fished for years with them. That's how I learned about them. I fished with my daughter in a tournament last weekend and put 800 hooks in the water in less than two hours.
 

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In a lake with no current you have the luxury of setting one out however you want. I usually tie between solid tie off points then go back and add the weights after I put the hooks on. Some people throw an anchor out on one end like you are talking about they will both work. I am more of a limb line guy because on the trotlines I have put out the best hooks were always close to the banks in the river.
 

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Get your main line tight. That's the biggest thing I can add.
Give yourself 50-100 feet of line past the last hook you have so that you can run your hooks without pulling your anchor at the end off the ground.
Use a long heavy anchor rope to drop your anchor when setting out or resetting your anchor after checking is and let your weight down easy so your leaders don't bounce around and tangle or jerk your bait through the water ripping off the hooks.
We normally run from the bank straight out off the main current.
The quick clip on your hook leaders is nice if you can't unhook the fish easy or if your hook is broke or gone, just have some leaders ready to go and clip a new one on.
A couple guys in the boat that know what they are doing with you helping is a life saver and back saver. A couple guys who don't know anything can be a mess.
 

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I ran a line one time in my life. My Father-in-law wanted to have a fish fry. I knew nothing about it. I just put 22 hooks on a line about 60 foot long. I did not even have the hooks on a drop line. I tied to two stumps and baited with minnows and liver. I put them out right before dark. When I checked them the next morning I had 20 channel cats 2 to 5 lbs. I took the fish off and baited again with liver and hot dogs and checked that evening. I had 19 which gave us plenty of fish for the fry. I thought that was a lot of work, but a good way get a large mess of fish for a fry. I have never done it again and that has been about 25 years. This was in a cove on Dardanelle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I appreciate all the info. Water depths is going to be about 6-8 feet I'd imagine tops. Will a 15 lb anchor hold or do I need 25lb. I'll prob tie off to the bank or a tree close to it and run out from the bank. Since the line will be on a downward slope in the first place do I need weight a in the middle or do I need aa float ( Coke bottle ) to raise it up. I'm definitely going to take the advice of the extra line to the anchor. Thanks again. This forum is so much more polite than the waterfowl forum...
 

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I appreciate all the info. Water depths is going to be about 6-8 feet I'd imagine tops. Will a 15 lb anchor hold or do I need 25lb. I'll prob tie off to the bank or a tree close to it and run out from the bank. Since the line will be on a downward slope in the first place do I need weight a in the middle or do I need aa float ( Coke bottle ) to raise it up. I'm definitely going to take the advice of the extra line to the anchor. Thanks again. This forum is so much more polite than the waterfowl forum...
Use the heaviest anchor you can drag back up. There are few things more frustrating than finding that a 50# flathead has dragged your anchor and every fish on the line has wrapped itself up. That's not a mess you want to try and untangle while the hooks are flying and fish are pulling against you.
I always run a float. If you get the line tight enough to sink the float it will keep the line tight even if your anchor moves a little. I also seem to catch more fish if my bait is not in the mud on bottom.
 
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