Well depending on the type of fishing Iím doing, one is drifting for cats. I like to take a three way swivel and tie my line to one end then my leader, hook and bait to the other then on the last one a lighter line with a weight on the end of it that drags along the bottom and keeps my bait in the strike zone. This works great when drifting over logs for those hard to get big cats and helps you from getting hung up in the logs and breaking your main line when drifting.
Jug lining is very popular as well.
To do this, depending on the size of fish that frequent the area, you can use 2 liter pop bottles to 5 gallon cooking oil jugs. Just simply tie your line to the end of the handle, or lip very securely, or to the end of the 2 liter pop bottle. Be sure the cap to the container you are using is glued tight to insure it don't come off, or leak in use. Any good water resistant glue works fine.
Now as for the line length. Depending on the depth of the water and the depth the fish are suspended, you can use any where from a few feet to 10-20 ft or more, depending on fish location.
I like to use 10/50 spiderwire braid when jugging for channel cats. If I know there are big flatheads or blues in the waters I'm fishing, then I up the line weight to 15/80 Spiderwire braid and be sure to use a strong swivel and hook 3/0 or 4/0 bronze hook. I like to make my own leader for the hook to insure strength.
My favorite line is 15/80 pound Spiderwire braid for those big boys.
If fishing with live baits, shad, crawfish, worms, small carp, perch ect, will all work very well for those live bait eating cats.
Don't use live bait? No worries, just add the bait you would normally use, dough balls, chicken livers, punch bait, just use what ever you like to use for the type of fish your fishing for.
My self, I like to set my jug lines out 2 hours before dark and leave them out till 2 hours after sun up. I try to check them every few hours or so, depending on wind conditions and bite activity.
Be sure to abide by all the laws when jug lining. Some states may impose on you to mark your jugs with your name, address and even phone number for identification, as well, regulations may require anglers to personally attend their jug lines at all times.
(1) A neat little trick for checking up on your jug lines at night so you don't have to run your boat all over the lake or pond, is to glue on little glow light sticks to the tops of the jugs so they can be seen from the bank. They last for several hours and there water proof too.
You can get these at most all Wal Mart Stores.
(2) A little tip for making your jugs more buoyant, fill the jug with Styrofoam or other buoyant material. That spray foam you get in a spray can at your local hardware store works great, just be careful of over expansion. If you get to much, just cut it off even at the jug lip, apply cap and your good to go!
Another way I like to fish, is fishing from the bank. Here's a little trick we call mud balling. Set up your line with a slip sinker above the swivel and bait up like you normally would. After casting out and letting the line settle to the bottom, reel up till you have just a bit of slack. Now place your pole on a Y stick (A stick cut in the shape of a Y pushed in the ground and the pole sits in the middle) Now take and bring up any more slack you might have till itís just loose enough to hang down a bit. Get a bit of mud (clay works best) that will hold good and tight to the line when pressed into a ball around the line a foot or so from the rod tip. I like to use about a large marble size in diameter. Now when you get those little bites when the cats are just mouthing the bait you will see it bounce and twitch a bit. As soon as you see the ball rising up in a steady motion, then you know for sure that the cat has the bait and swimming off. Give it a quick jerk and presto, FISH-ON!