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How to Rig a Trot Line to Catch Fish in a Survival Situation

THE SETUP

A trotline consists of a 25- to 150-foot-long main line with up to 25 baited hooks on 2- to 3-foot dropper lines. To minimize tangles, attach these via swivels spaced 6 feet apart. A split shot above each hook will help keep the bait near the bottom. Fasten one end of the main line to a tree branch or exposed root near the bank, and the other end onto a snag on a point of land or across the pond or river channel. You can also tie off one end to a rock, swim or wade out, and drop the rock into deep water (just be sure it isn't too heavy to pull in when you start checking the line). In a current, anchor the trotline by tying rocks onto several longer droppers spaced along the main line.

THE TACTICS

The principle of trotline fishing is the same as with survival trapping: Think big, catch small (or more accurately, think many and catch a few). Use whatever bait you can dig up—crickets, worms, or insect larvae. You might want to carry flavor-infused salmon eggs or soft plastics in your kit. When you do catch a fish, bait other hooks with the entrails, eyeballs, and belly flesh. Check trotlines every few hours and always allow them to fish for you overnight, when catfish and other large predators become active and invade shallow waters. With some luck, you'll have a fish fry for breakfast.

THE GEAR

To have all you need to catch fish in a survival situation, throw these small items in a zip-seal bag and put it in your kit. It includes everything for making a trotline as well as baits and gear for pole fishing. String the hooks through their eyes on safety pins and sort hooks, split shot, and swivels in 35mm film canisters to make storage even easier.

1-inch bobber

25-pound monofilament on a tippet spool (160 feet) for the main line

No. 4 single bait hooks (6)

12-pound monofilament on a tippet spool (100 feet) for 20 droppers

No. 6 single bait hooks (6)

Flavor-infused salmon eggs (small pack)

No. 4 treble hooks (4)

Large hook for snagging fish with a pole

Swivels (20)

1/16-ounce leadhead jig hooks (4)

Split shot, assorted (30)

Flavor-infused tubes and grubs, various colors (4)

Colored twister-tails (4)

› Important note: Trotlines are illegal in some areas. Know the regulations first.

Comments (7)

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from sere9501 wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

I was out in the field two months ago and a younger guy set out a trotline in a pretty well running creek. He used 10 pound test line and ran the line about 20 feet across the creek with small hooks and just used worms as bait. He set out six hooks on the line and the next day he had one fish on the line. This took no extra effort other than setting it up so he was able to do other items. A great showing for the others in his group. Hoo-yaa!

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from Alex Pernice th... wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

Cool, im gonna try this.

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from dwaynez wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

That is a grat tip, and I have set up lines like this in the past, they are great for a hunting trip to keep a supply of fish ready for the grease.

I never really thought about it in a survival sense, but I will follow the instructions and pack this on my next hike or camping trip, you never know when you may have to use this to survive.

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from dwaynez wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

I will make sure to pack this on my next trip. You never know when you will need to catch fish to survive

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from Jordy wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

That sounds awesome!

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from earlyriser81 wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

I bet you could do this with masonry twine used as the main line.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I heard songs about running a trotline, I thought he was saying a trout line. But it all makes sence now.

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from sere9501 wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

I was out in the field two months ago and a younger guy set out a trotline in a pretty well running creek. He used 10 pound test line and ran the line about 20 feet across the creek with small hooks and just used worms as bait. He set out six hooks on the line and the next day he had one fish on the line. This took no extra effort other than setting it up so he was able to do other items. A great showing for the others in his group. Hoo-yaa!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

Cool, im gonna try this.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dwaynez wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

That is a grat tip, and I have set up lines like this in the past, they are great for a hunting trip to keep a supply of fish ready for the grease.

I never really thought about it in a survival sense, but I will follow the instructions and pack this on my next hike or camping trip, you never know when you may have to use this to survive.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dwaynez wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

I will make sure to pack this on my next trip. You never know when you will need to catch fish to survive

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jordy wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

That sounds awesome!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from earlyriser81 wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

I bet you could do this with masonry twine used as the main line.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I heard songs about running a trotline, I thought he was saying a trout line. But it all makes sence now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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