Pound Test Line and Bass Fishing: Understanding the Importance of Line Strength & Thickness
When it comes to bass fishing, selecting the right pound test line is crucial for our success on the water. The pound test line affects various aspects of your fishing experience, including bait presentation, the ability to fish heavy cover zones, and the rate at which your bait falls in the water column.
Understanding the different fishing line types and considering factors such as bait action, fishing cover, fishery pressure, and depth can help you determine the best pound test line for your specific techniques. In this article, we will explore the different line types, factors to consider when choosing line strength, and the best pound test lines for various bass fishing techniques.
Arguably the most versatile and commonly used pound test line is 12lb (for fluorocarbon). 12lb gives you impressive strength when it comes to dealing with vegetation, but it also isn't too thick when it comes to diameter, ensuring the action of your bait isn't inhibited.
Understanding Different Fishing Line Types: The Basics
Let's refresh our understanding of the three main fishing line types:
Fluorocarbon fishing lines continue to gain popularity amongst serious bass anglers. Below are some of the core features of fluorocarbon:
- Fluorocarbon offers minimal stretch, enhancing sensitivity and hook-setting ability
- It sinks, making it a powerful tool for getting weightless presentations to the bottom
- High-quality fluorocarbons have impressive abrasion resistance, which is essential for fishing around heavy vegetation and other cover
- It's debatable, but many bass anglers are convinced it's less visible than monofilament
- Fluorocarbon retains a thin diameter and impressive strength, even when going lower in pound test line strengths
Although monofilament is arguably going out of fashion in the competitive bass fishing scene, there are still various features that make it a useful application:
- Monofilament fishing line floats, unlike fluorocarbon. This makes an option for getting the most out of your topwater presentations
- It possesses more stretch than fluorocarbon. Although this may seem as a negative, and it often is, but for some techniques, a little more stretch can enhance our hooksetting potential. Fishing a crankbait is a good example here. With treble hooks, you need a bit more 'give', which can help get a more direct hookset
- It is the easiest fishing line to manage as it possesses low memory and is a dream to tie knots with. This makes monofilament a great option for those new to the sport of bass fishing
The king of strength and a necessity for a wide range of techniques. Let's look into braid:
- Braid is the strongest and toughest fishing line type available. It offers the ultimate is abrasion resistance, making it a winning selection when fishing the heaviest of vegetation
- It offers zero stretch, providing superior sensitivity and sharp hooksets
- it is not translucent like the other two lines mentioned, making it the most visible fishing line type in the water
Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Line Strength
Understanding the circumstances in which you're fishing will go a long way in helping you select the right line choice. Below are some of the key factors to consider.
The action of your bait
The pound test line you choose affects the action of your bait. Heavier lines offer greater resistance in the water column, limiting the freedom of motion and making the bait appear less lifelike. Always look to go lower in pound test line if the cover you're fishing allows. This will enhance the action of your bait. We dive deep into the power of line diameter.
The cover you're fishing
Heavier line strength provides the necessary ability to deal with thick vegetation and other forms of cover. It allows you to exert more pressure on the line and pull fish out of cover zones. For thicker cover, 15-20lb fluorocarbon is popular, while braid is the best option for extreme cover situations. In these scenarios, 50lb+ braid is a common choice of pound test line.
How pressured your fishery is
Bass in heavily fished waters can become more selective. Lighter, thinner lines present baits more naturally and can be the best option when targeting pressured bass. This is a large reason why many bass tournaments tournament are being won with the use of finesse presentations. With these techniques, you're generally throwing lighter, thinner line that will help present your bait in a lifelike manner.
How deep you're looking to fish
Fluorocarbon lines, in particular, impact the rate at which baits sink. Thicker lines create more resistance in the water column, causing baits to fall slower. Using thinner lines can help increase the rate of fall and reach desired strike zones when fishing deeper areas. This is particularly important when fishing weightless presentations (finesse techniques).
Best Pound Test Line for Different Techniques in Bass Fishing
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the best pound test line for bass fishing. To cover a wide array of techniques, it is recommended to have reels spooled with different pound test lines.
Pound Test Line and Power Bass Fishing: Bulk Up
Power fishing techniques involve fishing faster with weighted baits around thicker vegetation. For such techniques, heavier pound test lines are necessary to handle the demanding conditions. Here are the recommended pound test lines for three popular power fishing techniques:
Best Pound Test Line for the Texas Rig
Due to the need for casting around shore-based cover and isolated vegetation, a 15-20lb fluorocarbon line is a popular choice for the Texas rig, which offers the required abrasion resistance and breaking strength. Extreme forms of cover may even require 50lb+ braid.
Best Pound Test Line for Spinnerbait Fishing
Spinnerbaits are often thrown around heavier cover. Again, 15-20lb fluorocarbon is your safest bet for this technique and has become a popular range for serious bass anglers.
Topwater Frog Fishing
Hollow body frogs are used in thick cover, requiring strong line to pull bass out of these zones. A 65lb pound test braid is commonly used for topwater frog fishing. When fishing more open water scenarios with a hollow-body frog, 12-15lb monofilament becomes a viable option. Remember, monofilament floats, and this may get the best action out of your frog.
Best Pound Test Line for Finesse Fishing
Finesse fishing involves slower, lighter, and more subtle techniques, typically used when other approaches fail. The following finesse fishing techniques prioritize the action of soft plastics and benefit from using lighter lines:
For these techniques, fluorocarbon fishing line is going to be your best option, thanks to its ability to maintain breaking strength and minimal strength even with lighter, lower pound test lines.
You're going to be within the 6-10lb range for these techniques.
- 6-8lb is best for open water scenarios, such as a fishing a drop shot offshore for smallmouth bass
- 8-10lb would be your go-to option if you're fishing finesse techniques in and around shore-based cover and isolated structure.
Choosing the best pound test line for bass fishing involves considering multiple factors and the specific techniques you plan to use. Versatility is key, as different line strengths are needed to optimize bait presentation and handle various fishing conditions. Understanding the impact of line strength on bait action, fishing cover, fishery pressure, and depth will help you master your favorite techniques and adapt to new ones.