Frank Sansalone, a member of a bowhunting forum to which we both belong is our guest sportsman this week; with a story about Jug-lining for catfish on Texas Rivers and Lakes. It has been many years since I ran some jug lines but I want to get out and do it soon. Maybe Frank will take me some time. I hope you enjoy Frank’s story. Good fishing, Wild Ed
I've been after catfish most of this summer. It's been my latest project. I started on the rivers nearby and learned how to catch Channel Cats. I have fished with some trophy cat fishermen a few times who taught me a lot. Lately I've been running jug lines in the Guadalupe River below Mcqueeny and Placid and am really getting good at it. I've caught a 14 pound Flathead and a few Blue Cats around 20 pounds.I started fishing Lake Travis and getting into bigger fish. My jugs are now fitted with 200 pound fluorocarbon mono that I got dirt cheap in the bargain cave at Cabela’s. Travis has lots of catfish in there. Last night I went out in my kayak. I already have a freezer full of fish so I had 12 big jugs set up with huge 10/0 circle hooks, 200 pound line and 4 pound weights. In the bait well I had 15 live hand sized perch and some huge 7 or 8 inch goldfish I got at a bait store on the way out. I used my motor to get to a wind blown point that is covered with freshwater muscles. I set out the jugs along the point in 12 to 18 foot of water. It was calm so I made good time. I was done by 9:30 pm so I decided to rod and reel fish with some cut shad. By 11 pm the wind started picking up so I reeled in the lines and headed to the jugs. They were not where I left them. Most of the fun with jug lines and a kayak is chasing the fish down. I pulled 6 jugs in and landed 3 fish. A 6 pound blue, a small Flathead and a real nice 24 lb blue cat.
About this time the wind picked up like crazy. I couldn't paddle around so I retreated into some flooded timber. I paddled across from the jugs and then would paddle real hard into the wind and pick them up. I retrieved two more jugs like that but it was getting even worse. Back in the timber I paddled across to another jug and then sat in the dark a while waiting on the wind to die. I was bored so I hit the light to see it again and it was gone. I spotted it way on my left. The big jugs have a 4 pound pipe that holds them in place. This fish towed it away. I paddled across from it once again and decided to go for it. I paddled hard into the wind and caught up to it. When I pulled on the line I felt a slow huge head shake like big sharks do. I was taking in water as wave caps crashed over my yak. I pulled the monster to the surface. It was a huge Flathead around 60 pounds. His head looked to be as wide as my shoulders, just huge. I couldn't get him in and the yak was over ankle deep in water. I let go and paddled to shore. I dumped all the gear and went back after him. Last time the fish was on the wind side of the yak so when I pulled, it tilted the hull and water was getting in. This time I was going to pull him up with the wind at my back so when the yak tilted it would be higher and not take in so much water, big mistake. I almost flipped the yak when he made a run. I decided it's just not worth it so I pulled him up and said goodbye as I cut him loose. What an awesome fish!!!
My problems were not over. I retrieved my gear and jugs and had to track and cut the wind all the way back to the truck because my motor broke. It took 2 hours to get back. In all I paddled almost non stop for 4 hours. I submerged everything in the yak, my camera, wallet, and lots of gear. I have an SD card with lots of cool pics I hope to salvage. I won’t be lake fishing in my yak again. There were some cool falling stars all night long...it was a good trip over all. Frank
Here is a neat video on making catfish jugs. You may wish to scroll to the bottom of the page and pause the music on the playlist before playing the video.
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