It’s safe to say that fishing line is important. It’s your only link with the fish. So, it needs to be good.
If you want to ensure a consistent catch rate, you are going to need the best fishing line for catfish.
In this article I am going to tell you what they are, describe the different features of many types of line and give you some great examples.
Read on to find out more.
Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.
Table of Contents
- TOP 9 Best Fishing Lines for Catfish 2021
- Hercules Super Cast 8 Strands Braided Line
- KastKing SuperPower Braided Fishing Line
- Mason Big Cat Catfish Braided Fishing Line
- Stren Catfish Monofilament Fishing Line
- Berkley Trilene Big Cat Fishing Line
- Zebco Cajun Smooth Cast Fishing Line
- KastKing FluoroKote Fishing Line
- Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
- Trilene Fluorocarbon Professional Grade Line
- Buying Guide to the Best Lines for Caching Catfish
TOP 9 Best Fishing Lines for Catfish 2021
Buying Guide to the Best Lines for Caching Catfish
By now you’ll have gathered that there are a lot of lines to choose from, but which is the best line for catching catfish?
I’m going to look at some common properties that go into the best lines and then we can apply what we have learned to each type of line.
First and foremost, your fishing line should be strong enough for the task in hand. It can have all of the features, but if it breaks during the cast or at the first sign of a bite then it will be useless.
What strength do I need?
For catfishing, you are best choosing a line that is somewhere between 20-30lbs breaking strain. This offers an excellent compromise between strength and bulk.
Remember the main reason that we don’t use really thick line is because we are limited to how much we can fit on a spool.
The line does some of the work, but it is also down to the rod and the reel to absorb some of the shock. If you want to see some of the best catfish rods and reels, head on over to my guide, there’s lots of choices!
Consider Visibility and Color
When catfishing this area is not quite as vital as for some other species. This is because catfish hunt largely by smell. If you’ve used catfish baits already, you’ll know that some really stink!
I’ve got a guide to some of the best catfishing baits, it would be great to see you there.
Bait aside, it pays not to take chances and catfish will still shy away if they can see a line. In terms of visibility, the best line to use is fluorocarbon or mono.
Want to know why?
They have a low refractive index this means that when they are submerged they turn clear and very difficult to see. This makes them ideal in applications where you really don’t want your line to be seen.
Is fluoro the only choice?
Not at all. You’ll see from my suggestions above that lines such as the Zebco Cajun line offer great low visibility properties without being clear.
A lot of catfishing takes place at night. If you can’t see your line you are going to struggle, so a colored line might actually be the best option.
You’ll see from my suggestions above that many of the catfishing lines are colored, it’s not a bad thing. If you are still wary then consider using a colored mainline with a clear leader.
You can see an example of colored line in this video below.
Stretch and strength are not necessarily the same thing. Two equal lines might break at the same weight, but often harder lines will break sooner if given a sharp tug.
So why use a stiff line at all?
The reason that you might want a less stretchy line is that bite detection is much better. If you are lure fishing then it allows you to be in better contact with your lure. If there is too much ‘bounce’ on the line then you may ‘bump’ fish off.
Although that said if you’ve chosen the best hook then this is less likely to happen. Pay a visit to my guide to the best hooks to use for catfish to see what I mean.
Diameter strength and breaking strain all share a complex space together and the results can be surprising. If you take a look at this video, you’ll see that often the stretch of a line has as much to do with when it breaks as the actual weight. Give it a watch, it’s really interesting to see!
When to Use Different Types of Line
OK, ultimately there is no right and wrong and a lot of it boils down to personal preference.
However, I’ll give you a few rules of thumb.
Monofilament Line for Catfish
Mono is by far the most popular choice.
Because it really works. It’s stretchy, cheap, and is pretty low visibility. Mono is a compromise between all of the other types of fishing line. Its stretch is where it excels. If you are just starting out then mono would be the ideal choice.
Braided Line for Catfish
Braid is a little more specialized. The reasons are numerous.
There is no stretch in braid whatsoever. In one sense this is nice, however, it does mean that it is very unforgiving. If you get a tangle in braid, then you are more than likely going to have to cut your line and start over.
Braid is also a little bit weird in that you will need to learn a few other knots than you may be used to. Oh, and normal scissors don’t work. If you want to cut braid, you’ll need special braid cutters. You can often find these on a good pair of fishing pliers, check my guide to see some great examples.
Finally, braid is rather visible in the water. If you are fishing in clear conditions then it may be worth considering a different line or using a leader.
Fluorocarbon Line for Catfish
For the money, this is my personal favorite. It offers decent stretch, is easy to work with and is really low visibility which can only increase your chance of catching.
Fluoro can be a little stiff, and for tying knots it is a little difficult to work with. But that is about the only downside I can think of.
What line should I use for catfishing?
If you want to play it safe then mono is probably the best line for catching catfish. It acts as ‘suspension’ which is useful when handling big hard fighting catfish. If you have enough room on your spool then it makes a pretty solid choice.
If you are fishing in a weedy area then braid might be a good choice. It works perfectly to slice through stalks of weeds. It isn’t so good in rocky areas as it tends to fray quite easily.
What is the best pound test line for catfish?
This depends in part on the size of the species you intend to catch. As a good average, I like to fish with 20lb test as a minimum. If I am going to go after bigger species then I might just bump it all the way up to 50lb. This is where braid starts to become useful, as I would struggle to get enough 50lb mono on my spool.
If you are looking to hunt trophy fish, then maybe 30lb mono would be an ideal choice.
Do you need a leader for Catfish?
Chances are that you will need a leader. There are a few reasons for this.
First, especially if you are bait fishing, you are probably going to be casting a heavy weight. To avoid the line being overstressed you can tie a ‘shock leader’. This is a section of really heavy line that takes the force of the cast.
Want to know how thick a shock leader should be?
A great rule of thumb is to multiply the weight you are casting by 10. That’s the strength of line to use on a shock leader. So, a 6oz weight requires 60lb shock leader.
You will also find that a catfish have very abrasive mouths which will wear the line near the hook. By adding a leader, you can be assured that the line won’t wear through before the fish is landed.
The final reason for adding a leader is to increase your chances by reducing visibility. This is especially true if you have decided to use braid as your main line. By using braid and maybe a fluorocarbon leader you get the best of all worlds.
What do I mean?
You get all the great properties of braid, such as no stretch and increased feel, but you get the anti-visibility features of fluorocarbon too. Making it a perfect match.
As I have already said, you will need to a few special knots to tie braid. Here is a quick video of how to do it.
There are a great many lines to choose from but whether you opt for mono, fluoro or braid you should now have a really clear picture as to what goes into choosing the best fishing lines for catfish.
There is a little trial and error involved, so try and few and find what works for you.
Which line suits your local spot the best?
Let me know in the comments below.