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Seems everyone uses a lot heavier leader than main line. Why is that? Seem's to me you hang up and end up breaking the line to get it loose and the line you break will be the main line and not the leader causing you to loose the swivel, sinker and hook. Watched a guy on you tube and he was worried about hanging up on bottom so he went without a weight. his main line was 40# and leader was 50#. the bait and hook get hung up somehow and the main line will break befor the leader anyway, even without the weight. Why don't those guy use say 50# main and 40# leader. I went to 20# braid on my catfish rod, around here a 6# fish is big. That let me up my leader to 10# or I could go to say 15# and if hung up break the leader and loose some leader and a hook rather than leader, hook, swivel and weight! I don't understand the idea of leader heavier than main line!
 

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Dave from ohio
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I use a lighter leader than main line, I want to at least get my sinker back, and maybe the swivel when hung. Most use heavier leaders for the extra abrasion resistance. I keep pretty made leaders wrapped on a piece of pool noodle, and check the leaders out everytime I reel in, and change them out often. I have caught big fish all over the U.S. and this system works for me.it only takes a minute to change out when you have spares made up and ready.
 

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I do the same as Dave. I don’t want to lose expensive main line so my leader is just weaker than the main. Here in Indiana, the lake bottoms are usually mud so not too hard on the leader. Other areas like TN has a lot of rock which is tough on line.
 

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i use a lighter or same weight. i can see where some people use a heavier leader to prevent the teeth from fraying and breaking the line, but theres really no advantage that i can see.
 

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Winston, Indiana
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I use 100lb braid mainline - not for the strength; there isn’t a catfish swimming that needs 100lb test to land it but with braid, abrasion resistance is critical so it’s the diameter that dictates the size of my mainline. My leader is usually 40lb, sometimes 60 if I feel I need more abrasion resistance and / or tangle resistance at the business end.

…W
 

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Big Sam Arkansas
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80lb braid either 80lb or 100lb leader line ande or high-seas .....the reason is big blues do some massive head shakes and rub that line back and forth across their burred lips.....light line and your done....now in the summer 50 - 60 braid 40 -50 lb leader....I got a picture of a king kahle 10/0 I caught a 75.14 that was Tangled with some 10 or 12 lb crappie line
Flash photography Road surface Grey Wood Asphalt
Water Lake Fisherman Sky Fish
here's the fish... It might seem like Overkill but man I'm glad I had it 🤗
 

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Steve from Mississippi
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I usually run a lighter leader also. Heavy braid 65 or 80lb and a lighter leader like 50 or 60lb. But, I have also started running a heavier leader in some cases for flatheads in tight to rough cover. They were breaking my 60lb leader like thread once they got me in the cover. I have gone to 80lb on those rigs and haven't broken off yet. Also haven't hooked as many big fish since going to 80lb.
 

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The thing nobody seems to mention about this topic is your weakest point is your weakest point. If you have a lighter main line then that is your weak point and vice versa with your leader line. Example- If you use a 20 pound leader on 100 pound braid, your rig is 20 pounds. (not calculating for drag or proper fighting technique)

Knots create weak points, slides or anything on your line create weak points. What works for you is great. These are just things to consider
 

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Dave from ohio
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I really dont think a catfish cares if the sinker is right on top of the hook, it's not bass fishing. But most of my fishing is done with some type of santee rig configuration, and I want my bait up off the bottom, but if you are flathead fishing with a float, or dont need your bait suspended, I dont see why you couldn't run your sinker on the hook and eliminate some knots.
 

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In fisherman catfish fever “ flatheads after dark” from 1990 is a good watch. Doug Stange in the video didn’t use a leader. Tied straight to the hook with a sliding sinker right on top of the hook. Not saying it’s the way to go but just interesting. Not many knots to fail with his rig
Justin Johnston with Kayak Catfish has had his sinker (8 ounce egg) setting right on top of the hook eye before while drift fishing. Still caught good fish. Since breaking off a snagged (heavy mono) line in a kayak is not an easy task, he did this to helped prevent snags.
 

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I really dont think a catfish cares if the sinker is right on top of the hook, it's not bass fishing. But most of my fishing is done with some type of santee rig configuration, and I want my bait up off the bottom, but if you are flathead fishing with a float, or dont need your bait suspended, I dont see why you couldn't run your sinker on the hook and eliminate some knots.
I don’t think the sinker setting right on the hook would prevent a catfish from biting but I do think the freedom of movement a leader allows which is a more natural presentation might be better at getting a cats attention.

Can’t prove this but it seems right to me.
 

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Big Sam Arkansas
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When we used to fish with monofilament line on a reels we always use the egg sinker and let it slide down to the hood but with braid it's not a good combination against that mouth of that catfish with the barbells in it it'll cut one quickly.... My opinion you got to have a leader line if you're using braid.... If you want to stand a good chance getting those big boys in 💪🙃👍
 

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On my rods that I mainly use for dragging which is mostly for channel cats, I use 40lb braid on the mainline and 30 lb leader line. I use a 3 way swivel and I attached my flexible dragging weight with an 18lb zip tie. I have found that more often than not that the dragging weight is what gets caught up. I use braid for dragging as I like the sensitivity to detect since often the line is out a long way behind the boat and there is no stretch with braid. Also since there is a lot of line out, you can feel the fight of the fish alot better.

On my rods that I use for suspend drifting and anchor fishing for flatheads and big blues, I use 30lb mono on the mainline and then 50 or 60 lb leader line. I use a 3 way swivel and I connect the weight directly to the swivel. I have thought about using the same zip tie as above to see if that helps. I run the heavier leader line for the abrasion resistance. When breaking off I have found that more often than not the mainline fails at the 3 way swivel anyway (knot is the weakest point). I would use heavier mainline, but for casting with mono anything heavier really doesn't cast as well. I like the mono for anchor and for suspending baits as I usually don't have much line out and like having a little "flex" in the line. Also I am usually in the river which has more debris so the mono handles the abrasion better.

It doesn't bother me too much to lose my whole rig as I don't run complicated rigs anyway. I usually have an extra pole or 2 with me anyway, so I simply switch the pole out and retie while waiting on the next bite.
 

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Jon from Indiana
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I prefer running my sinker straight to my hook with a rubber bead in-between to protect the knot. I don't really use leaders much, but I also don't really use circle hooks much. I usually use live bait with kahle hooks on mono while anchor or bank fishing.

I can cast alot easier and further rigging like this. Like mentioned its less weak points in the rig. I usually fish in a river. My thought is after I cast my rig I can "create" a leader by letting out alittle or alot of line depending on where I'm fishing. With live bait it will then pull that loose line and be able to swim around on its leash.

If I'm using cut bait then i just hope the current is strong enough to pull the bait down some and let it flap around. Sometimes i will try using a float to help raise off the bottom if the current is slow.

I can't prove that my method is doing what I'm thinking its doing but I'm confident in my rigging . Now if I was doing other styles of fishing (trolling, drifting, dragging, bumping, etc) I can see using braid and circle hooks with leaders.

But back to the question, if I used leaders more its going to be same as my mainline or heavier (usually 40 or 50 lb mono) I don't mind loosing tackle, I've accepted a long time ago thats part of fishing the river. I was told if your not loosing stuff then your not fishing in the right spot to begin with.

Now I do mind loosing fish, especially if its that fish of a lifetime. But thats what I'm after. I know we all fish for something different.
 
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