What Size Fishing Line to Use?

Beginners or novices to fishing have confusion about all aspects of the sport. This includes the fishing line. Beginners often do not know what size fishing line to use. The size or strength does matter when fishing. A line too strong is heavier. It will reduce the number of bites. A line too light will break easily.

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what size fishing line to use? J-Braid is one of the best

The type of line has an effect on the line strength. As an angler, you want the optimum strength-to-diameter ratio. In other words, a strong thin line is best. Plus the line needs to have the characteristics of what environment you fish. A braided line has the best ratio but is not ideal in rocky or heavy brush areas. Monofilament has too much stretch and fluorocarbon is unforgiving with knots. In other words, they have some problems also.

Anglers must choose the correct line for the environment. Choose the correct line type to allow you to determine what test strength (size) of the line. Choosing the right line for the conditions is more important than test strength in many instances. After choosing the right line type. You can pick the right size fishing line to use.

Fishing Line Size

The following chart shows the recommended strengths for many North American game fish. The strength of a line needs adjusting in some situations. Fishing in heavy cover or areas with abrasion, a heavier line is recommended. In clear waters, a thinner line is preferred.

Trout or Panfish2-62-610-15
Bass, Largemouth, or Smallmouth8-176-1720-50
Pike or MuskyN/ALeaders50-100
The recommended line for species of fish. Adjust line strength for smaller or larger fish

Diameter comparisons of the fishing lines. These are general specifications. The actual size or rating may vary some between manufacturers. The list is not all-inclusive. It gives the diameter for common strength lines.

Fishing Line Diameter Chart

Line Strength lbs.MonoFluoroBraid
The thinner lines will cast farther. Thicker lines have better abrasion and shock-resistant qualities. Choose a line on conditions.

Line diameter has an effect on performance. As mentioned, thinner lines cast farther. Thicker lines have better shock strength and abrasion resistance. An angler needs to consider the structure and cover. In areas with weeds, thinner lines are best. In rocks and brush, abrasion resistance is a must.

Choosing a Line

Using a braid, the use of a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader is recommended. This allows an angler to benefit from the characteristics of the line. The mainline is thin. The line in the cover is thicker with abrasion resistance.

Beginners should talk to anglers in their area. The experienced angler will share recommendations on the line type and strength. Look on social media or ask other anglers while fishing. The majority of anglers will be happy to share information. Do not go overboard. Ask a few questions and wait until later to ask more of someone. Remember they are there to enjoy the outing.

Shop Fishing for Line at Bass Pro

Shop for Fishing Line on Amazon

Line Tension

The biggest problem with the fishing line is improper tension. You need steady tension when placing line on the spool during replacement. Pinching the line with your finger does not work. Buy a line tensioning tool. These are low cost and save you grief.

Learn how to tie the correct knots for your line. Each line works best with a certain knot. Set the drag for the proper amount.

Waterproof Knot Tying Chart at Bass Pro


Choose a line with the help of the charts above. The type of line should be based on ability and specific needs in a line. Fluorocarbon is rarely a good choice for a mainline. Monofilament is inexpensive and easy to tie knots. Braid offers durability, strength, and sensitivity.

Learn what line other anglers use for your target species. Choose the size according to the fish size. In doubt go with a middle-sized line. The right fishing line makes fishing more enjoyable.

John McIntyre

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