When I get together with my brother from Missouri, we often talk about various fishing experiences. I’m still quite amazed at the differences between fishing laws, techniques, and species in Minnesota and Missouri.
One of the biggest differences between our two states is the number of lines that can be used. He often talks about his spider rig for spring crappie which has a total of eight rods at the front of his boat. He could use more if he could handle them all.
Although he loves his crappie, I have to say that jug fishing for catfish in the spring of the year is his favorite. His catfish stories are quite impressive!
Missouri is too far south for any type of ice formation on the lakes. As a result, it can access water quite early in the year.
His favorite catfish lake is actually a reservoir called Truman Lake. It is huge and has a very large expanse of shallow water. These shallow bays are where it targets catfish.
The blue catfish found in Lake Truman grows quite large. The biggest anyone in his group had ever taken was 80 pounds. Blue cats are known to be excellent eaters, even when very large.
Because catfish are in shallow water to spawn, a jug system is used to catch them. The two-liter pitchers are fitted with 18 inches of 100-pound test line with a 7/0 circle hook on one end and a long cord with a two-pound weight on the other. A carp globe is attached to the hook for bait.
Each angler is allowed to use 33 jugs. Jugs should be checked every 24 hours.
When a pitcher holds a fish, the weight prevents it from being dragged too far from where it was placed. Jugs containing fish will start bouncing erratically when stopping to check it. Any fish that are between 24 and 34 inches should be released as they are the active spawners.
Jug fishing for blue catfish is very popular in Missouri and extremely different from anything we do in Minnesota.
— That’s the opinion of outdoor columnist Jerry Carlson. Contact him at [email protected]