30-65 pound braid is what most bass anglers reach for, but the actual situation may call for something more specific.
Smaller bass, like other small game fish, such as bluegill do not require heavy braided line. 6-8 pounds is sufficient.
You want heavier a line if you are using a baitcaster because most spinner reels will not take more than 20-pound braided lines.
The line diameter is just too big for many of the spinner arbors, and you would lose too much length to set up the reel properly.
- 1 How does the type of bass make a difference in the selection of braid?
- 2 What Pound Test for Bass?
- 3 What Pound Test Line Is Best For Bass Fishing?
- 4 Types of Lines for Bass Fishing
- 5 Best Line Size For Bass Fishing
- 6 Tips for Using Braided Fishing Line
Spinner Vs. Baitcaster Reels
So, lesson number one is to know the max weight for line on your reel. If you are using a spinner reel, then generally the max weight braided line is going to be 20 pound test.
Set up the reel for the fish you want to target.
If you are going with a baitcaster reel, you may be able to add up to 65 pound braid, but it depends on the reel.
For most big bass, a 30 pound braid is sufficient. The record for bigmouth bass is 22 pounds, 5 ounces.
Going big on braided line is sometimes overkill and really limits your options for fishing.
How does the type of bass make a difference in the selection of braid?
One key reason there is a difference between species of bass when fishing is their location in the water.
Small mouth bass tend to be more in the open where a largemouth bass may hide around structures.
Once you set the hook on smallmouth bass, you just have to endure the battle and reel it in.
When you set the hook on a Largemouth bass that is in thick cover you, need to line strength to yard the bass out of the cover.
So, where in the water column you fish makes an important criterion for what type of line you choose and its pound test rating.
That epic battle between a bigmouth bass in cover is why so many anglers these days reach for braid.
When fishing for Smallmouth Bass an 6-8 pound line is good. You can bump that up to 10 pounds if needed.
When fishing bigmouth bass you want a heavier braid – something in the 30-65 pound range. Use higher pound rating for fishing in heavier cover and dense weed patches.
What Pound Test for Bass?
Go for the 8-12 pound test when using the finesse technique.
If you are fishing around cover or thick weeds, go to a 15-20 pound test line.
You will need the added strength in weed patches.
If you are unsure of the physical conditions go for a 12-pound mono which gives you a good rounded average line to fish most situations.
Go for the 12-25 pound range for fluorocarbon line. While many bass anglers love fluorocarbon over mono it may come with some issues.
Fluorocarbon line is nearly invisible in the water giving it a huge advantage over braid and mono lines.
The problem with fluorocarbon line is that is has nearly no stretch to it.
That means it can have issues when it is lined onto a reel or during the unlining process.
The stiffer nature of fluorocarbon line can make backlashes more common.
So long as you are aware of that problem when you spool the line onto the arbor, and you take care to avoid it crossing or bedding too deeply, it should be okay.
12-40 is a good pound range for bass fishing with heavier pound ratings to 65 pounds not uncommon.
You want to set up the line in relationship to the lure weight you will use and for environmental conditions.
Heavier pound ratings for tougher conditions and thicker weeds or obnoxious structures.
Lighter pound ratings for braided line in situations where you are fishing in shallow water without heavy cover.
What Pound Test Line Is Best For Bass Fishing?
For mono 6-12 pound test for open water fishing for smallmouth bass. For largemouth bass 12-20 pound test when fishing in heavy cover.
Heavier pound test for bigger lures too.
For fluorocarbon lines 8-12 for smallmouth bass in lighter fishing environments and up to 25 pound test for largemouth bass in heavy cover or when fishing with larger lures.
For braided line 12-40 pound test is a good range. 12-15 pound test for smallmouth bass and 12-40 pound test for largemouth bass.
If you are using braided line as a backing for bass fishing, then stick to 30-40 pound test braid.
If you are fly-fishing for bass you would use a 7-8 pound fly line with a weight-forward taper and a leader that is 12 pounds regardless of the type of line using.
Fly rods are different from other fishing rods and the line weight is what helps to cast the fly.
Types of Lines for Bass Fishing
- Braid – is a good choice when you need superior strength with a little stretch. It floats on the top of the water making ideal for any situation where you use a top water fly, lure, or jig. If there is a drawback to braided line, it is that (for bass fishing) the line is highly visible. You can overcome that flaw somewhat by using a fluorocarbon leader. Mono would be an okay choice also for leader material.
- Monofilament – is the original fishing line and a good option for bass fishing. It has the added benefit of being difficult to see in water, but it does absorb light which can make it shine in clear water. Fluorocarbon line refracts light so it is less visible.
- Fluorocarbon – is one of the newer line choices, and it is prized for its disappearing effects in water. It does not absorb light like mono does, making it harder to see in water. It is strong, thin and a quality choice for bass fishing, even when combined with braided line and used as a leader.
Best Line Size For Bass Fishing
If you had to choose only one line size for bass fishing it would likely be 12 pound test. It is a good all around choice for bass.
If you are targeting smallmouth bass, then 6-12 pound is ideal with 8 pounds being a good solid choice for most fishing situations.
If you are targeting both smallmouth and largemouth bass then go with a 12-pound test line.
If you are targeting largemouth bass then you want a sturdier line in the 15-25 pound range for mono or fluorocarbon and 30-40 or up to 65 pounds braided line.
Generally, a 30-pound braided line is able to handle most largemouth bass action.
When you are fishing largemouth bass in thick or dense cover, you bump up braided line to 40-65 pound test and mono and fluor to the 20-25 pound test range.
A good tip for choosing bass fishing line is to be sure to match the line to your reel and your rod. The rod will tell you the line weight on the blank.
If you are fishing in the ocean for bass, stick to the larger pound tests – 25 pounds for mono and fluorocarbon and 40-65 pound for braid.
If you are fly fishing stick to the 7-9 pound test with a stronger leader in the 12 pound range. Again, match the line to your pole because fly rods are different.
Tips for Using Braided Fishing Line
Always Use a Leader
Braided line is renowned for its strength but it is very rarely ever used as a solo line option.
It is almost always used with a leader and with good reason.
The leader allows you to use the best features of the braid without the clumsy presentation it offers.
A mono or fluorocarbon leader are ideal and if you are fishing for big, aggressive fish such as sharks or Northern Pike, you can add a stainless steel leader to avoid line damage due to their teeth.
Use Braided Line in Fast Water
Braided line is ideal for fast water where a fish may exhibit more power thanks to the water current.
Braided line will also receive less damage in active line unlike mono or fluorocarbon lines which may nick or mar if bumped into sharp rocks.
Once marred, mono and fluorocarbon lines become weak and prone to snapping under pressure.
The Double Uni Knot
Braided line is always attached to another line. To achieve that pairing successfully and with less risk of the two lines slipping apart, you use a double Uni knot to secure the line pieces together.
No Need to Soak Braided Line
When you spool mono or fluorocarbon lines onto your real it is a good idea to soak them in some warm water to loosen up the line and make it more apt to fit to your reel.
With a braided line, it is already in a soft and pliable state so there is no reason to soak it before spooling it onto your reel.