How To Catch Big Catfish Without a Rod and Reel

While catching big catfish on a rod and reel is a lot of fun, it is definitely not the only way to get it done. There are a few other methods that anglers can utilize in order to bring in big cats, and they are all a lot of fun and super unique. 

Let’s look at a few of these methods and how you can go out to catch big catfish without bringing along a rod and reel! 

Jug Fishing

Also called blocking or floating, jug fishing is done by using things like milk or soda jugs as floats in order to catch fish. To use this method, simply tie several feet of fishing line to each handle or neck, add a hook and some bait, and throw them out into potential areas. For catfish, some favorite baits include worms, hot dogs, and cut fish. Put out several jugs at once and let them drift around naturally. 

The big jugs will function like large bobbers when a fish bites the hook. Watch the jugs as they float in the water, and if they go under then you know you have a larger fish on the hook. Grab the jug and pull the fish in, although this will usually take some time and effort to get just right. 

Limb Lines

Another method is called limb lines. These are made of baited lines and hooks that are tied to tree branches or limbs that hang over the water. Things like willow limbs and cypress branches are the best since they are tough and will prevent a fish from breaking the limb off the tree. Mark each limb with some bright-colored tape or fabric so that you can easily find all of your limb lines and check them.

Running limb lines is a numbers game, and it will usually take a large number of them to catch the biggest catfish. You should also check them consistently, as you don’t want a bigger fish to get off the hook since it has enough time to struggle. 


Last but not least, you have trotlines. Trotlines are made by stringing a piece of fishing line or rope across a stretch of water. You then tie smaller lengths of fishing line off of it and hook and bait them at the end. The final result will leave you with multiple hooks covering a lot of water, but they are much easier to check as they are all in a line. 

Final Thoughts

Forgot your favorite rod and reel? That is not a problem with catfish, as you can easily use any of these three simple methods to catch giant catfish without any rod or reel at all. For more great ideas on how to fish and hunt from the experts, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Hunting & Fishing Blog for more great tips & tricks.