Setlines, bank lines, throw lines or whatever you call them can be very effective at catching fish. They are an especially good tool for catching the bigger species because you can set them out and leave them overnight.
Before you head out to the stream, lake or river to do some set lining, please check your local laws. States differ from one to another on whether you can set these lines in lakes and rivers, the number of hooks you can run, etc. Above all please get permission if you are on private water. Now we will go over the differences between the types of lines you can use.
Typically, set lines have one end attached to the bank or limb. They usually have one hook and a small weight. These lines are popular on the rivers and canals because
they are quick to set. If not attached to the bank they can be out in the open water wrapped around down timber, tree limbs etc. Sometimes they are attached to poles stuck in the bank. Sometimes used on fiberglass poles or springy willow sticks.
A throw line is designed to go out a little bit farther than a set line. The string used is longer than that of a typical set line and it also can contain multiple hooks. A heavier weight is usually attached to the end of these types of lines so you can throw them out and get them out farther into the lake. They are typically used in lakes and some of your larger rivers. Baited in the same manner as a setline, they can allow a fisherman to stay on the bank (and stay dry) while still getting your line out into better water.
A trot line is one long line containing many hooks dangling from it, sometimes up to twenty or thirty. Some trot lines have weights but most do not. They are designed to be stretched across the river or across a cove in a lake. They do not have to be attached to the bank, they can be tied to points out in the water such as downed trees, etc. Make sure you have plenty of bait when running a trotline, because with that many hooks you are going to need it! If you use trotlines, be careful not to place them where there will be boat traffic or swimmers.
Again I want to reiterate please check your laws about where these kinds of lines can be used. Most states are very specific about what can and can’t be used, and last but not least, please get permission when fishing or accessing private property.