Knowing what the best fishing line for bass is, unless you’re a seasoned pro with decades of experience under your belt, can take a lot of time to figure out. Given modern day technology’s impact on fishing tackle, the options are more numerous than ever.
Understanding the key features of a great line is one way to narrow down the hunt and speed up your success out on the water.
Getting an edge through education is what separates the pro from the amateur. In angling and with the subject of fishing line especially, it’s no different. It pays to know the different types available, when to use what, and what else to look out for.
Here we’ll get started discussing the three most common types: braided, monofilament, and fluorocarbon.
Braided line, comparative to other line types, has the longest history when it comes to its use in both industrial fishing and the sport itself. Originally made from natural fibers like cotton and linen, braided line has evolved during the years and is now most commonly constructed from man-made polymers.
Best characterized by its lack of stretch, high-knot strength, and power, braided lines are fit for use on any type of fishing reel, from baitcasting and spinners to trolling. In bass fishing, braided line is commonly used to punch mats, a technique that involves sinking a heavy weighted lure in a big patch of grass. That’s a common place that bass like to spawn.
Additionally, bass anglers also recommend using braid with lures like frogs and topwater walking baits. One reason for this is the large cast you can get on this line type, due to its flexibility and float. Another is the ease the line gives in helping to hook a bass without it pulling and breaking the line.
Braided line deserves its place as a contender among the best fishing line for bass due to delivering more “test” (tensile strength) at a smaller diameter. This makes it easier to fit on a spool (the part of the reel holding the line), which is something that helps drive down the size and weight of a rod.
Next up in the line-up is monofilament (AKA “mono”), one of the simplest of types given its composition from a single fiber or length of plastic. It’s also one of the most commonly used types, owing to its cheap production and variability.
Like braided, mono also comes in a range of diameters. However, it is generally not as strong as braided. Beginners often like mono because it comes in a wider variety of colors and tests than other line types, thus making it a safe bet for use in any fishing location no matter the weather conditions.
Monofilament is often used in bass fishing because its small line diameter makes it difficult to see in the water. This makes it a dependable line for use with all types of lures, safe in the knowledge that fish are unlikely to be spooked by its low visibility.
Although mono’s popularity has waned since its heyday several decades ago, it still has a worthy place in an anglers tackle box, especially if you plan on fishing topwater weights and need a little extra stretch from a line. Additionally, if you’re a beginner and you want to get used to casting and retrieving on a more “workable” line first, mono is a great option.
Where mono might fall short is when you want to fish deep. Its light weight can be something that can restrict the techniques you use.
Fluorocarbon is made from mixing and melting down polymers. Like mono, it’s also formed via the process of “extrusion,” which involves pulling the mixed polymers through tiny hole palettes to finish the line. The main material its made from is the polymer PVDF, which tends to give a bit more stretch and durability than the nylon that is commonly used in mono.
In terms of features, fluorocarbon also shares similarities with mono, especially in terms of its low visibility, toughness, and sensitivity. One way it differs is that it’s less likely to degrade, especially when left in storage. This can be important for many anglers, specifically because it delivers greater value compared to other line types.
Fluorocarbon is well-loved by bass anglers because of its tendency to sink. This is especially useful for crankbaiting (a technique used to “crank” a lure through the water), where getting the lure deep is necessary for catching big bass. Sensitivity is another quality that makes this a popular line among bass fishermen.
Other uses for fluorocarbon include lures like plastics and Texas rigs, fished in areas where there is open water with little cover. This is because its refraction of light and visibility is the lowest out of all common line types.
When Should I Use Each Type of Line?
Although briefly discussed, the use of each line differs depending on how you plan on fishing. As a general rule, it’s best to evaluate the conditions of the water first. That way you can identify whether the area is heavy on grass and mud or is open and clear.
From there, the next best thing to start thinking about is the line and lures (“rig”) that might best suit those conditions.
Fluorocarbon, for example, is best used when finesse fishing is required. This is when you can place your cast easily, see out into the water, and crank or jerk a lure in areas where you’re sure bass are waiting.
Braided line has its place in fishing vegetation and flipping and pitching (techniques of casting and jerking the lure) into heavy cover. That’s because it’s the most abrasion-resistant of all line types, as well as the strongest.
Due to its lack of stretch too, braided line can be very sensitive. That makes it the best fishing line for bass lures that have big hooks (like jigs) where feeling the bite is important.
Mono, although it can be used in varied circumstances, is recommended for beginners experiencing difficulties with hook-setting after a bass takes the lure. Its added stretch prolongs reaction time and lowers the risk of losing a fish.
On a final note, some anglers suggest that reel type is fairly line-dependent also. Spinning reels, for example, are argued to be best accommodated by braided line. Fluorocarbon and mono, on the other hand, go well with both baitcasting and spinning reels.
What Pound Test?
Pound test refers to line strength and is a fairly contentious topic in the world of angling. Simply put, pound test should roughly match the weight of the fish you plan on going after. In the world of bass fishing, that means using anything from 8-pound test and up.
The reason pound test is contentious surrounds the fact that big fish are routinely caught on smaller test lines. For some anglers, then, success is argued to be more dependent on the rig and skill of the angler rather than line strength. This is good news for the confused beginner.
Another thing to bear in mind is that breaking strength is not indicated by the pound test advertised on a line’s packaging. To really know when and how a line is going to break, there’s no substitute other than getting experience fishing with it.
Now that we’ve looked at the common types of line and when’s best to use them, let’s look at some of the other key questions involved in selecting the best fishing line for bass.
What Is Line Memory?
Rather than referring to a line’s possible “special sense,” line memory actually refers to a line’s tendency to develop “curling” when sitting on the spool.
Mainly the result of its reduced diameter and lighter weight, this can cause problems with cast distance while also increasing the chance of snags and tangles. Eliminating it is almost impossible, especially because you have to transfer it from the shop to your own reel.
That said, things like changing your line frequently–and not letting it sit on your reel for years–help. So does storing it at a normal temperature and stretching it frequently. Then there are more off-the-wall suggestions like boiling that may or may not actually work.
For a beginner, reducing complications with line memory is best done at the beginning of your line buying journey. Buying the highest quality possible is the simplest and most obvious way to minimize line memory problems.
Does Line Color Matter?
There is a lot of debate in bass angling circles surrounding the topic of line color. For braided line anglers, line color isn’t going to make a lot of difference (given its increased visibility anyway), for fluorocarbon and mono users bombarded by numerous options, it can be worth thinking about.
The debate becomes even more nuanced when thinking about whether fish can see line at all. Between manufacturing arguments and scientific research, the jury is still out. Bass fishermen use line color more in alignment with conditions (bright colored line in darkness, light in daytime) rather than whether the fish can see it or not.
Given its diameter and near invisibility, the color of fluorocarbon line should probably matter least to the beginner. That said, most anglers do have a preference. Pink line, for example, is said to lose its color at depth more than other line colors.
Depending on how you fish also factors in too. Topwater fishing, where the line is unlikely to sink, is not going to depend on color too much. Yellow line though, because of its brightness, is going to make it much easier to detect bites in this style of fishing.
Finally, clear, red, and green colors of line have their place in the market too. Clear works well for those concerned that line can be seen, while green blends into certain colored water. Red line, despite some producers saying it increased bites due to resembling “blood,” is more a matter of preference rather than advantage.
If you don’t want to think about it, just buy clear line and be done with it. It’s worked for generations before us. There’s no reason it won’t work now.
Do Different Types of Fishing Line Stretch More Than Others?
Line stretch is a massive factor when it comes to hook setting and retrieving a fish from the water. Beginners usually want more stretch than most, but it’s largely condition- and technique-dependent.
Braided line offers the least stretch to anglers and that’s why it’s preferred for weighted lures going after larger size bass. It’s also more likely to break suddenly, especially if snagged on an underwater rock or log.
Stretchier fluorocarbon and monofilament line, then, despite not being immune to breaking, can fit a wider range of techniques and lures. Crankbait and jerkbaits, for example, require the fishermen tugging and pulling the line with their hands. With increased stretch, there’s an added incentive in helping lures mimic prey, enticing a bass to strike.
What Is Abrasion Resistance?
Abrasion resistance is another factor, similar to pound test, that manufacturers can confuse beginner anglers with. The unreliable measure of testing for abrasion resistance is the biggest factor of contention.
The testing is best done by handling the line under tension and running it over the surface of a rock, but manufacturers have their own methods of measuring abrasion resistance.
A line’s tendency to break or snap when in contact with a friction-bearing surface while the fish runs and thrashes in the water is what this characteristic best refers to. Diameter, the general properties of a line’s materials, and its strength all contribute. The harder the line, the more resistant it will be.
Obviously, fishing location factors in too. Rocky streams are probably best confronted with durable braided line while water presenting fewer obstacles will be less of a concern for a thinner line.
How Does Where I’m Fishing Impact the Line Type I Should Choose?
Where you fish is probably the single most important factor, after lures, influencing a decision on the best fishing line for bass. Fishing in ponds and lakes where there’s no tide means a line is destined to sit relatively still in the water, which will reduce the risk of it snagging, breaking, or pulling.
Water that is more unpredictable, like a fast-flowing river or tidal reservoir, might call for something more heavy duty that’s less likely to get pulled around in a current. That way you can ensure your casting spot stays as close as possible to your aim. This is important if you’ve scouted an area and have a good idea of where the bass are likely to be.
Fluorocarbon, because of its ability to sink, is going to be better than mono in more active environments. Braided line, although some types are known to float, typically provides more resilience to the unpredictability of unstable waters.
How Do Different Lures Change What Fishing Line I’m Using?
Matching the right lure with the right line is all about weight. Heavy lures, those usually made of several metal components like jerkbaits, crankbaits, and jigs, are going to need heavier pound test line to better handle and cast them.
Topwater lures, those designed to stay on the surface, will call for lighter test line of a smaller diameter.
In order to help figure out the best setup for you, it’s useful to decide on a lure first before going shopping for line. That way you’ll narrow down the choice faster and more easily, saving time and effort that could otherwise be spent out on the water.
Asking experienced bass anglers for their own recommendations, especially if you plan to fish regularly at the same location, can also help you settle on the best lure and line combination as well. They can also help dispel the assumption that any line and lure can go together that some tackle sellers might claim.
Best Bass Fishing Line
After understanding more about line types and the important things to consider when it comes to buying line, it’s time to take a look at some specific choices. The following selections are safe bets when it comes to bettering your ability as a competent bass angler.
KastKing’s Superpower range is very versatile for all types of bass anglers, with pound test options ranging from 6 to 80 pounds. Coming in different colors like low-vis gray, moss gray, ocean blue, yellow, and multi-color, anglers can pick their own preference while enjoying smooth lure action thanks to a waxy coating that reduces friction through the rod guides.
- Low memory, reducing the complications of knots and tangles and enabling smoother and longer casts
- Small diameter allowing more line to be placed on the spool (more line for less money)
- High sensitivity and little stretch helps for powerful hook placement while reducing line breaks
- Might prove too stiff and heavy to use for a beginner
- Color dye on line has tendency to run and stain when wet
This monofilament option is great for newcomers looking for a manageable and easy to use line that’s still strong and very resistant to twisting and tangling. Pound test runs from 2- to 30-pound options, but most bass anglers will be well served in the 8- to 12-pound range.
- Performs almost as strong as braided, despite being a mono with a much smaller diameter
- Cheaper than braided options (but less durability – lasts up to 6 months)
- Clear line options offer very low visibility while being versatile for other species besides bass
- Prone to line memory issues if left on the spool for a prolonged period of time
- Lacks the abrasion resistance of other line types making stripping the lead end of the line off the spool necessary after a day of fishing
The first fluorocarbon on the list, the RUNCL is marketed as a “hybrid” line with a 100% fluorocarbon outer coating but featuring a copolymer core. Available from 5- to 30-pound power test, this 300-yard line’s greatest feature is its near invisibility in the water allowing for stealthy presentation.
- Strong performing line that can withstand sudden and aggressive strikes
- Low stretch with constant uniform diameter makes it very sensitive
- Fast sinking capability makes it great for crankbait and deeper water lures
- Only available in clear color; lacks the variety of other line ranges
- Not as resistant to line memory as braided options
The Power Pro Spectra line is one of the strongest braided line ranges available. The 10-pound option is particularly well-suited to bass anglers fishing in grassy areas where abrasion resistance is crucial. This line is manufactured in China, and it comes in several different diameters too.
- Very thin diameter for a braided line
- Three-end braided construction offers zero stretch and a high level of sensibility
- Suited for both fresh and saltwater bass fishing thanks to strong durability
- Only available in moss green, visibility might make it unsuitable for fishing in certain conditions
- 150-yard spools offer less line than other braided line alternatives
This clear color fluorocarbon option is another high-quality KastKing line. It is strongly recommended for bass anglers thanks to its low stretch and high abrasion resistance. Winning brand of the ICAST 2015 product awards, this line is an update on the company’s biggest selling copolymer line with a 100% fluorocarbon coating that dramatically decreases line visibility.
- Combination of two materials maximizes invisibility while reducing memory
- Fast sinking line with low absorption
- Great line for spinnerbait and jigs
- Lacks the accuracy and distance of braided line alternatives in the cast
- Produces some amount of line twist with certain lure types (underspin jigs)
There’s a lot of quality contenders out there when it comes to considering the best fishing line for bass. Monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided lines all have their uses. Armed with a greater understanding of what makes up a great line, hopefully you’ll see even more fishing success after selecting the best fit for you.