Fishermen can bait dozens of hooks using specially crafted trot line boxes or liners. Lines and hooks are stored on a board when not in use, preventing tangling. Trotline fishing consists of tying a series of hooks on a line attached to a tree limb or bush that overhangs the riverbank. The fishermen can bait the hooks and pull in the lines from the bank ("trotting" along the shore). Trotlines can be left over night, with the fisherman returning in the early morning to pull in his catch.
Illinois State Museum Collection
Another method of trotlining was described by Laurel Klinedinst. A pole with a headline is stuck into the bulkhead of the skiff's bow. The fisherman sits and attaches a hook to this very long (500 yards) line at intervals of a couple of feet and sends the line overboard as he works.