The line test or pound test determines how strong a fishing line is in pounds. When going bass fishing, what pound test line should you use?
An eight or 12-pound test fishing line is ideal for bass fishing, especially fluorocarbon or monofilament lines. If bass fishing in heavy cover, then you’ll want to increase the weight limit of the fishing line to 15 to 20 pounds and 30 to 50 pounds for casting large jigs, crankbaits, or swimbaits.
In today’s guide, we’ll go through all your favorite types of fishing bait for bass fishing and recommend the ideal pound test line for each. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll always be able to choose the right line weight for bass fishing!
What Pound Test Line for Bass Fishing? How to Choose According to Your Technique
As we discussed in the intro, the pound test line for bass fishing varies depending on what you’re using to reel in these large fish.
Let’s go over the various fishing baits, lures, and techniques you might utilize and the appropriate pound test line for each.
Fishing with Soft Plastic Bait
Soft plastic bait is among the lightest bait you can choose, so there’s no need for the fishing line to be heavy.
When bass fishing with fluorocarbon or lead monofilament line, the pound test weight needs to only be eight to ten pounds.
If you have a braided line you’re using with a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader, increase the pound test line weight to 10 or 20 pounds.
Fishing with a Carolina or Texas Rig or Jigs
For these rigs or jig fishing for bass, the pound test line weight should be 15 to 20 pounds for fluorocarbon or leader monofilament line.
Increase the weight to a 40-to-50-pound test range for a leader line used with a braided line.
Fishing with Chatterbaits and Spinnerbaits
Chatterbaits, which are also referred to as vibrating jigs, are the most effective in the cold-weather months for catching bass and other fish species. They work similarly to spinnerbaits, which feature spoon lure blades to attract fish.
These lures have the same pound test line weights as when fishing with a Texas or Carolina rig.
That includes the same pound test line weight limit for a braided fishing line used with a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader line.
Fishing with Crankbaits
Wobblers or crankbaits feature hard, often plastic bodies that contribute to their weight.
Naturally, when using a crankbait for bass fishing, you need a heavier line to compensate.
For a fluorocarbon fishing line, choose a pound test weight of 12 to 15 pounds. If you’re using a crankbait with a monofilament leader line, then the pound test weight should be between 12 and 20 pounds.
Fishing with a braided line that includes a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader requires a heavier line with a test range of 30 to 40 pounds to successfully catch bass.
Fishing with Swimbaits
Swimbaits are lures designed to look like baitfish. They can have soft or hard bodies depending on your preferences and the preferences of the fish species you’re trying to catch.
The pound test weight of your bass fishing line when using a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader line with a swimbait should be 20 to 25 pounds.
Increase the weight to 50+ pounds for a braided line with a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader.
Fishing with Topwater Lures
As the name implies, topwater lures linger nearer to the water’s surface to motivate a hungry bass to jump.
Fluorocarbon fishing line isn’t compatible with topwater lures, but the pound test weight of a monofilament leader line is 12 to 20 pounds.
For a braided fishing line used with a monofilament leader line, the pound test weight should be 30 to 40 pounds.
Fishing with Buzzbaits
If you’re a fan of buzzbaits for bass fishing, you know how these old-school lures can be great for weedless fishing. They sink deep into the water, after all.
You shouldn’t use a leader line when bass fishing with buzzbaits, only a straight braided line. Even though that line has no leader, the recommended pound test range is between 30 and 50 pounds.
What Is the Best Fishing Line for Bass?
Bass fish weigh 12 pounds on average, especially mature largemouth bass.
They’re not the biggest fish in the sea by any means, but as the last section proved, you need to take into special consideration the pound test line weight of the fishing line you use and the type of line.
In this section, we’ll go over the top three recommended types of fishing line for bass fishing.
First is monofilament fishing line or mono line, a type of fishing line that’s comprised of a single strand of fiber.
In the case of mono line, that fiber strand is built from resistant nylon. Plastic is sometimes also used in monofilament fishing line.
To construct monofilament fishing line, polymers are mixed, melted, and then extruded via a machine with small holes throughout. This is where the strands come from that comprise the fishing line.
The diameter of monofilament line varies, which means its tensile strength or test varies just as much.
You can also select from a bevy of colors for mono line whether you want your line to hide in the water or stand out.
The most beginner-friendly type of fishing line, mono line isn’t hard to tie, and casting with it feels smooth and easy. An angler catching bass for the first time should feel very comfortable working with monofilament line.
That the line is inexpensive as well is also another huge benefit.
Recommended for surface baits such as topwater lures, mono line is known for its slight degree of stretch.
That makes it easier for a bass to get a bite on the line and maintain its hold. Reaction baits are also ultra-compatible with mono line.
While monofilament fishing line can withstand a lot of the pound test ranges that fluorocarbon line can, it can still snap if you’re not careful.
Thus, you’ll want to review the information in the last section carefully when choosing your bass fishing setup.
For your bass fishing setup, you might also consider adding a braided fishing line.
As one of the earlier fishing line types, braided fishing line has been around the block, but it’s been refined and improved upon over the years.
Today, braided fishing line is renowned for its power-to-diameter ratio, non-stretchiness, and knot strength.
Most braided fishing line on the market nowadays is made from micro-Dyneema, Spectra, and/or Dracon woven or braided together.
The strength of a braided fishing line is top-notch. The breaking strength is often well over the pound-test rating, and you’ll recall that braided fishing line has a pound test rating of upwards of 50 pounds!
Braided fishing line doesn’t hide in the water in the slightest, so fish can easily see it as well as other anglers. That’s why the best scenario for fishing with a braided line is in an area of dense vegetation or a lot of weedy cover.
The abrasiveness of braided line means that it will win in a battle against the weeds and not the other way around!
The lack of stretch of a braided fishing line improves its sensitivity so that even subtle fish bites won’t go past your radar. That said, if a fish that’s pulling on your line is especially aggressive, it’s not unheard of for a braided line to break.
Check out our other article comparing the braided line versus the monofilament line!
The next type of bass fishing line you’ll come across is fluorocarbon or fluoro line.
Costlier than monofilament fishing line, fluorocarbon line is known for its reactiveness and its strength.
It’s moderately sensitive, has low refractivity, good abrasion resistance, low water absorbency, and decent suppleness.
Once it’s tossed into the water, bass and other fish struggle to see fluorocarbon line because it turns nearly invisible. That’s due to the aforementioned refractive index of fluoro line.
A fishing line’s refractive index refers to how light bends once it passes through the fishing line. You can still see the line, although not nearly as easily as you could when fishing with monofilament line.
Unlike mono line, fluorocarbon fishing line does not float, so you should not use it for topwater fishing. That said, the fluoro line is very compatible with reaction baits and the soft plastic baits that get the bass biting.
A very common setup in bass fishing is to use the fluorocarbon line as a leader line and then fish with that and braided line.
This setup’s extra pound test line weight range makes it ideal for fishing for heavy bass fish.
The polymers in fluorocarbon line prevent deterioration from insect repellants, battery acid, gasoline in the water, and sunlight.
The lower degree of stretch that fluoro line contains improves its sensitivity, as mentioned.
One of the best features of using fluorocarbon line for bass fishing is detecting even subtle bites on your line. This is due to how closely packed the fluorocarbon molecules are, allowing for easy energy transmission.
For more on the best situations to use fluorocarbon line, click here!
Successful bass fishing requires using monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braided fishing line, depending on the type of lure or bait you’re fishing with. You also have to know the pound test line rating for the setup to ensure the line is durable enough to handle a bass.
Best of luck!