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How to Choose Fishing Line Size

How Fishing Line’s Strength is Measured

Fishing line strength is referred to as ‘test’ and is measured in pounds (lbs). The pound test of a line is how much force it can withstand before it breaks. Every fishing line will have a label identifying what pound test it is.

Why Fishing Line Size Matters

The size fishing line you choose is an important decision because it affects multiple aspects of your fishing. Line size effects:

  • Strength – The larger the line size the stronger it will be. The species of fish you are targeting and whether your fishing open water or in cover will determine how strong of line you need.
  • Visibility – The larger the line size the more visible the line will be. How visible your line can be depends on water clarity. The dirtier the water the more visible your line can be. In clearer water you need less visible line.
  • Casting Distance – Rods and reels are rated for the line diameter range they are designed for. Using the proper line diameter for your equipment will ensure you get the best results. Thinner line tends to cast further do its lighter weight and being more aerodynamic.
  • Diving depth of lure – When fishing diving lures, line size will affect how deep they can dive. Thinner line will dive deeper than thicker line due to having less resistence in the water. Thicker line can also be less bouyent which adds more upward lift and makes it hard for your lure to dive.

As you can see line size affects many aspects of your fishing. There is a give and take with every line size and which one you choose will depend on the situation.

What lb Test Fishing Line is Best?

When picking line size the most important factor is strength followed by visibility. With strength, you need to be able to fight the fish in without breaking off. You don’t want to go overboard with strength though because larger line becomes more visible to the point where fish won’t bite.

If fish won’t bite then you’ll never get the chance to break off. You need to balance line size based on the strength and visibility needs.

The last thing to consider is diving depth. If you need to get your baits deeper then you can size down your line. If you need to keep your bait shallower then you can size up.

Line Size by Bass Fishing Techneque

Fishing TechniqueLine TypeRecommended Line
Finesse in crystal clear water10lb braid to 5-8lb fluoroMaxcuatro & Sunline Sniper
Finesse in clean water10lb braid to 6-10lb monoMaxcuatro & Maxima Ultragreen
Finesse Jig30lb braid to 10-15lb mono or 12-15lb fluoroMaxcuatro & Sunline Assassin
Texas Rig40lb braid to 12-17lb monoMaxcuatro & Maxima Ultragreen
Jig Fishing50lb braid to 15-20lb monoMaxcuatro & Maxima Ultragreen
Punching65lb braidMaxcuatro
Frogging65lb braidMaxcuatro
Shaky Head30lb braid to 10lb monoMaxcuatro & Maxima Ultragreen
Swimbait80lb braid to 30lb monoMaxcuatro & Maxima Ultragreen
Crankbait (option 1)12lb fluoroSunline Assassin
Crankbait (option 2)20lb braid to 12lb monoMaxcuatro & Maxima Ultragreen
Jerkbait (option 1)20lb braid to 10lb monoMaxcuatro & Maxima Ultragreen
Jerkbait (option 2)12lb fluoroSunline Assassin

Line Size by Species

Line Test (lb)Fish Species
2-6 lbPanfish, Trout
4-10 lbCrappie
8-14 lbBass
12-25 lbCatfish, Walleye, Pike
80 lb +Musky