Can you explain to me what a catfish leader line is, how it is used and how I should be using them for catfishing?
What is leader line?
A length of fishing line that is attached to your mainline and ultimately will be attached to the “business end” of your fishing line, or where the hook goes.
Just about every catfish rig you will use involves use of leaders, very rarely should you fish for catfish with a mainline with no leader material.
Leaders are used for several purposes but the main purposes is that that leader line provides abrasion resistance against a catfish rough mouth and also serves as a “shock” absorber for the main line. By “shock absorption” I mean it helps absorb some of the impact of a strike and helps compensate for the reduce break strength of the mainline.
Leaders are typically used in a higher pound test the main line fishing line and is going to be thicker and stiffer than your main line. They are also typically clear or less visible than the mainline you will spool your reel with which may be brightly colored. As I mentioned in my fishing line for catfish article, I use 20 lb test main line for all of my catfishing (except for in the Summer on occasions when I just target channel cats with lighter rigs), and just as I always use 20 lb test mainline I use 40 lb test leaders.
The 40 lb test provides enough abrasion resistance and shock absorption to handle the biggest fish but is still manageable for smaller fish as well.
When catfishing it may not be as important to have leaders with less visibility, it is very important when fishing for some species of fish. I always use clear monofilament leaders (specifically Offshore Angler Tight Line 40 Lb Test Monofilament – Clear) for catfishing because it reduces the chance of any visibility issues.
I have fished in the past with bright green leader line and have not noticed any difference in the effects on catching catfish but have noticed reduces catches of other species of fish.
Another added feature of using a clear leaders on your catfishing rigs, or line that varies in color from the main line is it allows you to easily identify tangles or when the rig gets wrapped around the mainline which is a common occurrence with many different setups.
Make sure that you are using the correct size and color of leaders on your catfish rigs and it will improve your success . You should also read leader lengths and their effects on action as well as check out some of the other rigs for catfishing that use leader line with like the Santee Cooper, Slip Sinker. Modified Three Way and Three Way Rigs.