What is Jug Fishing?

What is Jug Fishing?

Fishing is an activity that requires the complete attention of a fisherman all the time. People think it impossible to fish if you have a lack of concentration. However, that is not entirely true. There is a lesser-known type of fishing known as Jug Fishing that just might save your day. Originated from the southern states, this method is also known as Jugging. While saving you a lot of time and effort, jugging is equally beneficial in terms of the number of catches at the end of the day.

Jugging or Jug fishing is a method that involves the use of floating bottles known as jugs with fishing line suspended from them inside the water. The hook at the end of the line contains an appropriate bait as well. There can be restrictions on how many jugs one person can drop, and it varies from place to place. You can just put the jugs at your desired place at dawn and then go about your daily works. The ideal time to pick them back is in the evening. Although a variety of fishes can be caught using jug fishing, the most common prey is the catfish.

Want to know more about jug fishing? What kind of bait do you require for jug fishing? How do you set up a setup for jug fishing? What kind of area is suitable for jug fishing? Keep reading till the end to find out the answers to these questions.

Detailed Information about Jug Fishing

Jug fishing is just like regular fishing as the basic sense and technique remain the same. However, the only different thing is the method and way of application. Jug fishing is an improvisation of the originally existing method to save a person’s time and effort and come up with more or less similar results at the end of the day.

Jug fishing setup

All you need to do for jug fishing is prepare a simple setup, leave it in the morning, and pick it up later in the evening. The setup consists of a simple bottle to which a fishing line is tied. The only problem being that the position of the jug does not remains stationary throughout the day. For this, you can consider adding weight at the end of the fishing line.

Rules and Regulations

Being fairly easy to set up and do a thing, jug fishing is subjected to many rules and regulations. They may vary from place to place, so do not forget to check with the local authorities before doing it. Usually, the regulations are about how many jugs one person is allowed to leave, the time and dates in which jugging is allowed, and most importantly, if the jug fishing is even allowed or not. There might be some other in places such as whether or not the jug position can be fixed, what should be a maximum size of the jug, and how many lines can be attached to a jug. You might require a permit in some areas to do jug fishing.


Even though it is a simple procedure, there are two further classifications in it. Both of them are discussed here.

  • Free-floating jugs: As the name suggests, the jugs are just allowed to float in the water. In this method, the jugs will be searching for the fish. The weight is attached at the end of the line to reduce the movement. However, it is not anchored. The position of the jug will be subjected to the current of the water. This method is recommended when the exact position of the fish you aim to catch is unknown. There is one disadvantage, though. Freely floating jugs do require a constant watch over them. Otherwise, you might as well lose your jug and line instead of catching the fish. They can go anywhere alongside the water current.
  • Fixed floating Jugs: In this method, your fish will have to search for the jug. There are two ways to make your jugs stay in one place. One method is to attach heavyweight as the end of the line and anchor them if possible. The second one is easy to do if there is a tree or any stationary thing nearby. You can just tie your jugs to that fixed object to restrict their movement. This method is adopted when you exactly know where your targeted fish will be found. Also, this will stop your jug from traveling miles and eventually getting lost. Fixed floating jugs usually catch bigger fishes as opposed to the free-floating jugs.

What gear is needed for jug fishing?

There is not much you require for jug fishing. First of all, you would require a jug. It can be any empty plastics. Usually, empty milk cans are the best cheaply available options. More or less, anything can be used but make sure that it is easy to handle and carry. If you do not find anything appropriate at your home, you can always buy ready-made jugs available at the tackle shops at a price, of course.

Secondly, you require a fishing line. There should be one line for each jug you will be putting inside the water. Generally, the longer the line, the better it is. It may also depend on the water, but most of the time, the general rule stands. The estimated minimum length of the fishing line for each jug should be around 5 feet. Weather conditions play an important role in deciding the length of the line for each jug.

Lastly, there should be a hook and a weight commonly known as a sinker for each jug. They are attached at the end of the line. The main purpose of the sinker is to keep the jug stationary and restrict its free movement. As far as the hook is concerned, circle hooks are highly preferred for jug fishing. But that does not necessarily mean that the others won’t work.

What is the best bait for jug fishing?

Whatever technique you are using to catch the fish, the importance of one thing always remains untouched. That thing is bait. A variety of baits can be used for jug fishing. Some good baits include chunky commercial baits, nightcrawlers, chicken liver, minnows, bluegill, etc. However, the best bait is the one that is carefully prepared, keeping all the essential factors in mind. Here is how you can easily prepare the best bait yourself.

It is prepared using hot dogs. You can use either the marinated ones or the simple ones—no need to invest a lot in buying expensive hot dogs. Regular inexpensive options will do just fine. Cut each hot dog into around ten bite-sized pieces. Take a plastic container, put all the copped pieces into it. Add two to three tbsp of garlic powder alongside one package of strawberry Kool-Aid. Fill the plastic container with water up to the top. Shake it vigorously to mix everything and put it inside the refrigerator. The bait is ready to be used the next day. It is going to attract the catfish like crazy.

How do you fish a jug line?

After you have all the setup ready, it is time to fish the jug line. All you need to do is throw the jug inside the water near the catfish-attracting structure with bait on the hook. Without any bite, the jug will be wobbling like crazy. However, when the fish bites, it will stop wobbling, and that’s how you will know something is up.

When this happens, either try to grab the jug somehow or dip a landing net beneath it to stop it from going down. If a big fish has taken a bite, this whole effort might become a little too much, as the resistance offered by them is quite a lot.


How deep should you jug fish for catfish?

A lot of factors pitch in to affect jug fishing. One of them is how deep should your fishing line be for jug fishing. More importantly, when you are aiming to catch catfish. The depth of the line can be a minimum of 5 feet to a maximum of 18 feet. It depends on how many lines do you have, or you can afford to give to each of your jugs. It also depends on the waters you are fishing in. In some places, the fishes like to stay near the bottom. While in some, they like to stay at the top. Asking someone who has experience with the conditions might prove helpful.

What is the best bait to use for catfish jugging?

The best bait to use for catfish jugging is shad or shad minnows. A freshly-caught and cut shad or shad minnows cut in half, to be precise, is something that would just drive the catfish crazy. If you like to buy a prepared bait, a catfish stink dough bait is the most appropriate one to get. A home-prepared bait using hot-dogs is also very liked by them, so that is another option to explore.


Steve Hudson

I have been an outdoor activities enthusiast from teenage. I have been going out with my parents on different outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. After moving to a town surrounded by three well known fishing spots, I started fishing and started using all kinds of tricks and equipment to make the most out of each adventure I pursued. Over the years I have been camping outdoor, hiking and following my passion of enjoying life at full. Few years ago, I started writing about my thoughts, experiments and ideas about outdoor, fishing, hiking and more. This blog is a compilation of that plus tips, ideas and products that can make life more meaningful, enjoyable and a pleasant.

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