Fishing Line Strength: How to Choose the Right Line

Fishing Line Strength: How to Choose the Right Line

Every single person that has been fishing before has a story about a catch that seemingly got away. The majority of the time it’s because your line might have broken, which is a frustrating situation in itself. You’ll be faced with the feeling of never knowing what size fish you were about to catch; especially if it were to break what you thought was a high tensile line.

There are some factors to take into consideration when it comes to choosing the right fishing line, the most important being weight. In this guide, we will help you figure out which line would be the best for your fishing needs.

Understanding the Concept of Fishing Line Strength

When you start shopping around for fishing line, you’ll notice that packages have a label with “Pound Test” on it. This is because the strength of a particular wire is signified by its “Test” amount and it is typically measured in pounds.

The pound test essentially determines how much stress can be put on the fishing line before it reaches its breaking point.

The 4 Fishing Line Factors

Another thing you’ll notice when you start shopping around for fishing line is some brands will boast different features from other brands. Even though a product may list 20 different features, there are four main things you need to worry about when choosing a line.

You need to know your target species, your fishing location, potential weather conditions, and the restrictions on your gear.

Thinking About Target Species:

The most important thing you need to think about is the type of fish you’ll be going after. This is because you won’t need a line with a huge pound test for smaller species and you need to make sure our line is strong enough for bigger fish.

You’ll find that if you’re going saltwater fishing for redfish, the line strength is going to be completely different than if you were looking at panfish.

Determining a Fishing Location:

It’s also important for you to consider what the environment will be in the place where you choose to fish. If you’re in an area where there is abrasive covering, then you’re going to need a heavier line whereas open water requires a lower pound test.

Inspect Upcoming Weather Conditions:

We all know that it’s relatively impossible to predict the weather, but it is important to consider what the skies are going to bring when you set out on your fishing trip. Different types of weather mean different types of fishing line will be required. For example, colder temperatures can impact different lines in many ways.

Your Gear Specifications:

One thing you’ll notice when you start shopping around for reels and rods is they typically have line weight specifications printed on their label. In order to ensure that you don’t completely destroy your basic fishing equipment, you need to choose line weights that fall within those parameters.

If you choose the wrong weight, you’re going to be stuck trying to play around with a line that’s only going to give you a headache.

Recommended Test Weights for Fresh and Saltwater Fishing

Be sure to take a look at this general guide to get an idea of what test weights are recommended for popular target species and specific types of fishing.

Freshwater Fishing

  • 2-6 LB Test Weight – Panfish and Trout
  • 6-2 LB Test Weight – Bass, Walleye, Catfish, and Salmon
  • 14-20+ LB Test Weight – Stripers, Pike, and Larger Catfish

Saltwater Fishing

  • 8-14 LB Test Weight – Flounder, Sea Trout, and Sea Bass
  • 16-25 LB Test Weight – Stripers, Sea Trout, Redfish, and Blues
  • 30+ LB Test Weight – Shark, Tuna, and Marlin

Other Important Features of Fishing Line

Aside from understanding what fishing line strength would be the best for your time outdoors, there are plenty of other features you should also take into consideration. Sure, you may be equipped with all of the right lines in terms of weight, but you’ll also want to take flexibility, buoyancy, stretch potential, and durability into account.


If you’re looking for a line that is going to give you the best performance possible, you’re going to want to find a wire that is incredibly flexible. The easier it is to manipulate, the farther it will travel when it is cast.

Also, it offers more precision, which is essential for reaching your target area. Commonly referred to as line with “low memory” or “no memory,” flexible fishing line doesn’t remember a specific shape, allowing it to twist at will and cast easily.


Depending on the type of lures you intend on using, the level of buoyancy of your fishing line will differ. For example, monofilament (also known as “mono”) line has a higher level of buoyancy than other types of fishing line.

This makes it phenomenal for bait that needs to stay on top of the water. Whereas if you’re interested in getting your bait to fall deeper into the water, you’ll be looking for fluorocarbon lines.

Stretch Potential:

Deciding on the stretch potential of your line is mostly up to personal preference, as some fishermen prefer lines that are more elastic than others. One important thing to remember is the more elastic a line is, the harder it’s going to be to tie knots.

If you know that you’re going to be fishing for fighting fish, opting for a line with less stretch would be preferable.


At the end of the day, you’re going to want to have the most durable line possible. You need to select a brand that is going to be protected from abrasion from weeds, things underwater, and rocks.

This will vary depending on how the line is manufactured and in all honesty, durability is something that can only be tested with regular use.

Fishing line strength is an important characteristic to think about when you start searching for tools for your tackle box. You need to make sure you choose the perfect line for all types of fish that you might encounter when you get out on the water.

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