Jug Fishing for Catfish: Your Guide to a Great Time

If you’re looking for a fun and exciting new way to fish for catfish, jug fishing is definitely the way to go! Jug is fishing is perfect for beginners. It’s relatively easy to do and it’s very effective for catching catfish. Today we’ll discuss what jug fishing is, and provide a beginner’s guide to help you get started.

What is jug fishing?

Jug fishing is a method of fishing where you use a jug to suspend your bait in the water. This type of fishing is perfect for catfish, as they love to feed off of live bait that is suspended in the water.

You can literally use a milk jug, which is where this type of fishing got its name. However, you’ll probably want to use a slightly more sophisticated jug setup. We’ll get to that shortly.

A row of catfish jugs in a lake
Catfish jugs in a lake

Instead of using a single rod, jug fishing allows you to drop several lines at once. For that reason, jug fishing is commonly done from a boat, which allows you to spread your lines in different parts of the water.

Why try jug fishing?

There are several benefits to jug fishing for catfish.

  • jug fishing is perfect for beginners since there is no casting needed
  • you can easily set jugs in different part of the lake, increasing your chances of finding big catfish
  • jug fishing allows you to suspend your bait at whatever depth you choose
  • jug fishing is cheap – you can buy your jugs or make your own for a few bucks a piece

Plus it’s a fun alternative to using a typical rod and reel.

Best bait for jug fishing

Fresh baitfish

My favorite bait when jugging for catfish is bluegill and shad. Other effective baitfish include perch, carp, or sunfish. Use fresh bait whenever possible. The fresher the better. Cutting the bait in half will release the scent and attract more catfish.

Artificial baits

Artificial catfish bait works well for jug fishing. There are a ton of varieties out there. Some of the artificial catfish baits I’ve had success with are:

Wild Cat Pre-Molded Catfish Bait

Wild Cat Pre-Molded Catfish Bait

Berkley PowerBait Catfish Bait Chunks

Berkley PowerBait Catfish Bait Chunks , Chicken Liver

Triple S Channel Catfish Dip Bait Blood Flavor

Triple S Channel Catfish Dip Bait Blood Flavor

If you’re in a pinch, a good old fashioned hot dog will do the trick too (hold the ketchup and mustard!).

Best line for jug fishing

The best line for jug fishing for catfish is 50lb test braided line. Braided line is plenty strong and it won’t tangle or unravel. You can go the cheap route and use some regular twine, but the ends will unravel as soon as you cut it. Trying to tie a knot with frayed line is a major pain. Spend a few extra bucks and thank me later.

Making your own jug lines

Making your own jug lines is easy and can be done for a few bucks a piece. A common way of making jug lines is by inserting a section of pvc pipe into a pool noodle. Then you tie one end of your line through a hole in the pipe and tie the other end of your line to a circle hook.

Here’s everything you’ll need to make a bunch of cheap and effective catfish jugs:

  • PVC pipe (3/4″)
  • Foam pool noodles
  • Circle hooks {Mustad UltraPoint Demon Wide Gap Perfect In-Line Circle}
  • Braided line

This clip from Coon Creek Outdoors walks you through making some great jug lines for not a lot of money.

How long should my line be?

The great part of jug fishing is that it allows you to suspend your bait at whatever depth you want. For catfish, you should suspend your bait about a foot of the bottom.

To find out how deep your water is, just tie any type of weight to the end of your line and slowly let it drop until you hit the bottom. Then you’ll have your depth and know how long to make your line.

The best time for jug fishing

The best time of the year for jug fishing for catfish is generally during the warmer months of the year. Spring and fall are good too. By the time winter arrives, the water temperature has cooled off and catfish are less active.

The best time of the day is in the evening or early morning. That’s when catfish come into the shallower water to eat.

Wrapping up

Jug fishing is a great way to catch catfish. It’s easy, cheap, and can be a lot of fun.

Hopefully this article gave you everything you need to get started jug fishing for catfish. Get out there and start catching some big cats!

Frequently Asked Jug Fishing Questions

Do you need a license to jugfish?

Typically yes, but check your state’s regulations to avoid any penalties. There may also be a limit to the number of jug lines you’re able to use at one time.

Is jug fishing good for kids?

Jug fishing can be a great way for kids to get into fishing. It’s relatively easy and doesn’t require any casting. And like all fishing, it helps teach kids patience.

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