One of the most enjoyable outdoor experiences that I have had is that of fishing. I especially enjoyed trotline fishing.
Trotline fishing requires the use of a boat. The smaller the boat the better. We always used a metal or wooden John Boat.
A trotline is run from one side of the river or pond to the other side. It is usually secured to a tree that is pretty heavy. The line is always secured as close to the ground or water level that you can get.
Using your boat, string your line from one side to the other without any hooks are weights on it. The line should have at least a three foot sag in it. However, this depends on the current. It might be more.
Load up your boat with weights and hooks. The hooks should have a separate line on them about 16 inches in length. The line is then held by one of the individuals in the boat while the other person maneuvers the boat.
A line will use anywhere from three to five weights depending on the current of the river. They should be places at an equal distance apart. In between the weights goes the stringed hooks. they also must be equally spaced. This space can be anywhere from 6 to 10 feet apart. The bigger the river, the farther apart they are. The main line should have tight knots about one inch apart in the place where the hooks go. This will keep your hooks from sliding together.
Once everything is ready to go, you start from one side and work your way to the other putting on the bait. An easy way to do this is rest the line over the corner of the boat. Again, one person puts on the bait while the other operates the boat. You never want to run a line with a motor on. Always run the line at the opposite end of the motor.
After the line is full baited, place a tag with the date, time, and your name on the ends of the line. This is for identification purposes. the Game Warden will really appreciate this.
You should check your line every two hours. If you do this at night, be sure to have a high battery powered light. When you run your line, run it slow. Take your time taking off and stringing the fish.
Good bait are things like cottonseed squares, minnows, worms, liver, doughballs. If the bait is going to be in the water for two hours at a time, it must be able to stay on the hooks.
When fishing for catfish, set your line as deep as you can. Catfish are considered to be scavengers. They like to hang around the bottom of a pond or river.
When you are finished fishing, take off the hooks first and then the weights. Lastly wind up your line on either a spool or large stick. I have used a two foot 2 by 4 with a v-cut at each end to wrap up a line.
Never leave a line unattended after fishing. It is a very unsafe thing to do. Good Luck and have fun.