The past couple of years I have learned a lot about trotlines and Jug lines. Am I an expert on the subject? I think its to early to call me that but I am able to put meat on the table.
The best jug fishing seems to be from sunrise to about 10am in early spring prior to the water reaching 70 degrees . We usually run 24 jugs between 2 of us and hit the water just before sunrise. This allows us to set them prior to sunrise and check them twice before calling it a day.
Safety is key in enjoying the jug fishing. Drops are the lines to the hooks off the main line. We use a snap clip with a swivel attached to a wire leader to a split ring then a circle hook. This allows us to quickly remove drops from the main line the circle hooks are safer to use than the trotline hooks and the split ring size 3 or 4 will pull free with about 20 pounds of effort.
The spit rings can handle larger fish as long as you do not try to lift them out of the water by the drop. All large fish will need to be netted and brought into the boat.
We use 2 liter soda bottles as the jug. Painted white per the Texas regulations last year. Per Texas regs each jug is marked with name and address on them as well as the current date. we use a brick on each of the jugs and try to keep the slack to a minimum when set.
You are allowed up to five hooks per jug but have found 3 is optimum. for safety reasons we take the top drop off as we check our lines to avoid snagging ourselves if we come across a large fish further down. When large fish are on the fight begins about the time they see you. Sometimes if gently pulled you will not notice them on the line until they spook.
This is why we remove the hooks as we go cause you may need to allow the fish to pull a bit before bringing it to the surface and sometimes this can take awhile especially on a large fish. The combination of the brick and the jug creates resistance both ways on the fish and cuts fighting time in half. It has just enough give the fish can not straighten out the split ring so they work like the drag on a reel at tiring the fish out.