What Pound Test for Bass? All Line Types

While most bass fishing can be done with 12lb test line, There are a wide range of different line styles and weights that are suitable for bass fishing in various …

While most bass fishing can be done with 12lb test line, There are a wide range of different line styles and weights that are suitable for bass fishing in various situations.

Selecting the one that works best for you and your preferred bass fishing technique is important.

Not only do you want a fishing line that is light enough to keep your bass fishing lures moving effectively, but you want to be sure that same line doesn’t snap under the pressure of a fish on the hook or become too difficult to spool onto your baitcasting reel or spinning gear.

In this article we examine what line strength is best to use for different types of bass fishing.

Quick summary: For bass fishing it is best to use 8-pound test line or higher, going up to 12 pound test. This applies to both monofilament and fluorocarbon fishing lines. ‘Test’ in this context means number of pounds of pressure the fishing line can withstand before breaking. The higher the pound test, the stronger the line.

What Pound Test Line Is Best For Bass Fishing?

In general, most bass fishing can be done with a 12 pound test line. This is a versatile strength that can be effective in minor weeds, and works well with most lures and rig types. If you’re fishing with a finesse rig or need a lighter action on your lure, opt for a 6 pound to 8 pound fishing line instead.

For bigger bass fish or areas where the weeds are thick and you’ll be punching through them, consider going for a 15 pound test or 20 pound test fishing line instead. This will give you the ability to punch through or drag your lure through these weeds without the fishing line snapping, as well as making you able to haul in large fish that may be putting up a fight in the weeds.

For larger bait types such as frogs, or if you are fishing in extremely thick weeds and heavy cover weed mats, you can go with a line anywhere from 50 pounds to 80 pounds as needed. Generally you will have to make an educated guess here as a larger line will help prevent line breakage, but can also change how your lure behaves in the water as well as making your line more noticeable in clear water.

Types of Lines for Bass Fishing

What Pound Mono for Bass?

Monofilament line is one of the most common and most versatile line types available. For finesse fishing techniques, it’s invisible in the water, even clear water, and can also be strong enough for heavier fishing applications such as topwater fishing. 

The biggest downside to monofilament is that it stretches. This stretch limits your sensitivity and makes it hard for you to feel when your lure is on the bottom or when you are getting nibbles and small hits from fish.

On the other hand, a fishing line that has a bit of stretch can help by being a shock absorber for aggressive strikes that may snap some lines. It’s commonly used for this very reason as a leader on heavier fishing lines such as braid. The braid main fishing line will transfer sensitivity to your rod while the mono leader will prevent instant line breakage from aggressive and fast strikes.

Another thing to consider with a mono fishing line is the thickness. If you are using a higher pound test such as those above 20 pound test you may be hindered by the ungainly spooling or poor castability. Once you get more fishing experience under your belt, a mono line should never be used as a main line and instead only used as a leader on certain rigs or with some reaction baits.

Best Line For Baitcasters
Best Line For Baitcasters
Best Line For Baitcasters
Our Score

Berkley’s Trilene XL has been the pinnacle and standard for Berkley for a very long time.

It excels at casting and gives an extremely smooth cast.

It’s pretty strong, incredibly versatile, and is superb at avoiding kinks and tying good knots.

What Lbs Fluoro for Bass?

Fluorocarbon can be a well loved or a hated type of line. Many bass anglers that love it do so for a wide range of reasons. Fluoro fishing line is extremely hard to see in clear water, in fact, it’s almost invisible. This is because the line has light refracting characteristics that help it reflect light instead of absorbing it. Fish around lily pads or hiding near a naturally underwater rock pile or other shallow cover will have an extremely hard time seeing your line, even if the water is crystal clear.

Fluoro is also extremely sensitive as it has practically zero stretch and transfers even the tiniest vibrations to your rod. These vibrations include tiny nibbles and slurps, bumping your creature bait lure into rocks or grasses, and more. For finesse fishing, no other fishing line will beat a fluorocarbon, especially when fishing for big bass in heavily pressured areas.

Having said that, many anglers still don’t like using fluorocarbon as a main line due to the difficulty in keeping it managed on the spool. The particular size test line you select can be stiff which makes clean spooling and unspooling from your fishing reel difficult at times. However, other anglers have reported no issues with this and it is very much a personal preference on how it feels to you.

Fluoro line will sink somewhat quickly, which makes it a poor choice for topwater bass fishing. It does great for drop shotting, popping, and bottom walk-the-dog type techniques. Due to fluoro line having no stretch, it makes it much easier to get a solid hook set on a trophy bass without having to second guess or try again on getting a hook in the mouth.

Not to mention, fluoro line is extremely durable and abrasion resistant. It works great around sharp rocks, mussel and clam beds, and other areas where different bass fishing lines may be abraded or cut quickly. If you’re looking for a non stretching, abrasion resistant line for bass fishing, fluorocarbon line is best.

Sunline FC Sniper Fluorocarbon
Sunline FC Sniper Fluorocarbon
Sunline FC Sniper Fluorocarbon
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Sunline Super FC Sniper is a high-performance fluorocarbon line that can be used in a wide variety of Trout fishing situations.

It features triple resin coatings giving anglers greater ease of use, as well as giving it extra flexibility and limpness, these attributes make it closer to monofilament, and overall has lower memory and better casting properties when compared to other fluorocarbon lines on the market.

The coatings also help by making the line abrasion resistant, giving the angler more confidence when fishing places with brush or timber.

This line is almost comparable to monofilament lines, giving the angler the best of both worlds, this is definitely a line to try for trout fishing.

What Pound Braid for Bass?

Over the past several years, braided fishing line has become more popular in most anglers’ tackle boxes. A braid line is extremely strong and is lightweight. This weight makes it great for long casts and the strength helps you haul in big fish from heavy cover using most casting reels or a heavy action casting rod.

Braided fishing line has no stretch, so you can get an excellent tactile feel from the hook all the way to your rod which can mean braid line is best for sensitive areas. Whether you bump your lure into a rock, drag it on the bottom, or get a few small nibbles from fish, you will feel it regardless of the size test line you are using.

One of the downsides to braid fishing line is that it can be very easy for fish to see in the water. While this is a minor issue when bass fishing in heavily stained water, it can be a detriment in clear or mostly clear water. If you are bass fishing in clear water areas, consider using braid for your mainline but switch to an invisible leader so fish don’t spook as easily.

Braid fishing line is versatile enough for a wide range of fishing styles and lure types including buzzbaits, crankbaits, jigging, and heavy cover frogs. If you love flipping and pitching into extremely thick cover, weed beds, around boat docks, and into sunken brush, a braided line is your best choice.

Daiwa J-Braid x8
Daiwa J-Braid x8
Daiwa J-Braid x8
Our Score

This is a great Japanese-made smooth 8-strand braid that we love. We have several reels spooled with J-Braid and find it great for casting distance and accuracy, boasts good abrasion resistance and retains its color. We find it is also great for retaining knot strength.

Key features:

  • High-quality Dyeema fibre
  • Available in rainbow for depth count
  • Smooth feel and extra 10% on each spool (327 yards)

Best Line Size for Every Technique

Crankbait And Jerkbait Fishing

In general, using a 12 pound to 20 pound test mono line or a 12 pound to 25 pound test fluoro line is the most common choice. When using braided, it’s not uncommon to see the line size go up to 40 pounds in some cases.

Depending on your specific bass fishing technique, using a lighter line such as an 8 pound test line is not unusual. Additionally, if fishing a deep water crankbait, line that is heavier than 25 pound test can also be used. Let your specific area and bass fishing techniques be your guide in what line is needed.


When out on the water doing some bass jigging, a 15 pound to 20 pound test mono line is common. You can also opt for the same in a fluoro line for bass fishing, but for braid it’s not uncommon to go up to 50 pound test in some cases.

Most bass anglers will use a 6 pound to 8 pound test line when using finesse or light line techniques, or when targeting smaller bass or other fish species. It’s usually a good combination to use a braided main line with a fluorocarbon leader as it can help you set the hook quickly even from a large distance.


Fluorocarbon line is never suitable for topwater fishing, so instead most anglers will use a 12 pound test to 20 pound test monofilament line for bass fishing using top water baits or a floating worm.

If you opt to use a braid fishing line, a heavier line such as one with a 30 pound to 40 pound test is not uncommon. A good way to keep your bigger size line from tangling is by using a stiff leader line, especially when using topwater trebles. 


When fishing with a spinnerbait, most anglers will go with a 15 pound to 20 pound line when using mono or fluoro. If going with a braided line, you will need a much larger 40 pound to 50 pound test line size. If you’re tossing your spinnerbaits into light vegetation, a 10 pound test is acceptable. However, when asked, most anglers will suggest an 18 pound line for the best results and most reliability.

Drop Shotting and Other Soft Bait Rigs

Since using a drop shot and most other soft bait rigs such as the Carolina rig and Wacky rigs are more finesse or light-line focused, most anglers will use a 6 pound to 8 pound fluorocarbon line as this can be best for bass fishing. Going as low as a 4 pound test up to a 12 pound test with a drop shot or other soft bait rig is not uncommon, however, and will depend on your personal preference when it comes to fishing line strength. 

Bass Fishing Line FAQs

Does Line Color Matter for bass?

Overall, the color of the line does not make much difference in muddy or stained water. It can make a difference in clear water, however. If you are fishing with a braided line in stained water, consider opting for a light brown or green tinted line so it blends in. According to most anglers, the thickness of the line is normally more important than the color when selecting the right fishing line.

Can Bass See Your Line?

In crystal clear water, bass can see some line types. However, fluorocarbon line is almost invisible even in crystal clear water which makes it the best fishing line choice for clear water bass fishing or trout fishing with rigs such as the Shaky Head rig. 

What Pound Test for Smallmouth Bass?

Most anglers will opt for an 8 pound to 12 pound line for smallmouth bass when using soft plastic baits. Landing right in the middle and using a 10 pound line strength is a great option when you want to catch fish quick on soft plastics. It’s small enough to work most baits and lures, yet heavy enough to not snap when hauling in more fish. When asked, many anglers with experience in smallmouth will say 8 to 12 pound test line is the best for bass of this species.

Final Thoughts on Best Pound Test Line for Bass

Ensuring you are using the right type of bass fishing line when trying to catch bass can be extremely important. Picking a particular line size can make a difference in how successful your fishing trip is for that day. If you are using a specific bass fishing technique, bass fishing rig or lure such as a Texas rig or vertical jigging spoons, be sure the right line you have chosen will compliment that set-up well.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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