Sidney Haynes begins building his juglines by cutting a 6- or 7-inch section off a foam swimming pool noodle. He then cuts about a 10-foot length of twisted, tarred black nylon twine from its spool. He wraps one end around the center of the noodle section and ties it tightly.
A foot below the float, he ties off a 4-inch loop with an overhand knot. A one-ounce egg sinker is tied to the other end of the line. He slips the loop of the dropper through the eye of a 2/0 trotline hook and then slips it back over on itself.
Finally, he wraps a strip of reflective tape around the foam of each jug to make it easy to spot with a light after dark. He stressed the importance of using good tape, adding that he purchases his at farm supply stores like Tractor Supply.
The location of the hook near the float is important. Since catfish are defined as bottom fish, common sense would dictate that the hook should be near the sinker.
But at night, Haynes explained, catfish feed near the water’s surface. “After dark, all the baitfish come to the top. The catfish follow them.”
The 1-ounce sinkers seem ridiculously small compared to the size of the noodle, but Haynes has an explanation for that, too.
“The sinker is just to hold the line in place while it fishes. Most of the time, the fish will just swim round and round in a circle without really moving it a long distance. Where they get hooked is pretty much where they stay.
“It sounds stupid, but it’s true.”
He does admit that really big catfish will move the line when the boat approaches. His largest to date is an 88-pounder that he caught while fishing alone. His largest caught with Guillaume was 61 pounds.
“It took two hours to land that one. You couldn’t hold the float. He just wouldn’t come in. That’s when the fun starts, when the cork goes under.”