Jugging is a very popular method of harvesting cat fish in the area where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers converge. This article explains tackle, bait, methods and the areas that you need to concentrate your fishing in.
License and Tagging Requirements
When fishing from the state of Ky. You will need a sport fishing license, $20 for residents of the state and $50 for non-residents. This license will allow you to fish the portions of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers that boarder the Ky. banks.
Each and every jug must have your name and address written with permanent ink on the jug or a tag attached with your contact information. The Ky. license allows you to fish both the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and is a good one to get if you are from out of the area.
Plastic milk jugs or soda bottles can be used but have the disadvantage of being easily blown away by the wind; most serious jug fishermen build their jugs out of PVC pipe or by soldering cans together. Some use boat bumpers which work very well but can be expensive. When tying the lines to your jugs use between 3′ and 6′ of line with a single hook attached. Vary the depth on your jug lines from jug to jug to cover the area between 3 and 6 feet.
Catching Fresh Bait
Fresh bait is always the best! The area where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers meet is a great place to catch skip jack, which is favored bait by the jug fishermen in this area. When navigating the area where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet you will notice a clearly defined streak of muddy water meeting clear water. Tie on 2 or 3 white buck/tail jigs and cast into the area where the waters mix, use a fast retrieve to pull the lures through the mixing waters to catch the skip jack. Shad are also good bait but must be changed more often as they lose their color and odor faster. To catch shad you will need a cast net. Look for shad around the grain loading terminals; at times you will see them at the top of the water or on your fish finder at deeper depths. Use your cast net to harvest them.
Where and How to Jug Fish
Sand bars are the most popular place to jug fish, the cat fish feed on mussels and bait fish in this shallower water. Place your jugs on the up stream end of a sand bar and let them float over the bar with the current. When your jugs start floating out into the channel or getting to close to the bank it is time to pick them up and make another pass. The area where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers meet can also be a hot spot. To fish this area place your jugs along the line where the waters mix and let them float down stream. When jugging the convergence line, be sure to keep a look out for tow boats as your jugs will be in the channel. These large boats cannot turn out of the channel and will be forced to run over your jugs if the jugs are not moved out of their path.
Double Your Fishing Pleasure
Always have your fishing rods with you, later in the day when the cat fish have moved to deeper water it is time to bottom bounce with your fishing rod to catch them. Click here to learn how.
Cleaning Your Catch
When cleaned properly even the largest cat fish will taste delicious. Click here to learn a cleaning method that will eliminate the strong taste in cat fish.
Come and enjoy jug fishing on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, monster cat fish await you. The scenery is worth the trip and the fishing is top notch.