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Which Fishing Line Strength Should You Choose?

Which Fishing Line Strength Should You Choose?

It’s quite a difficult task to choose the right fishing line strength. If the strength is wrong the angler finds that either the casting of line or the performance of the reel is poor, and eventually the catch is small. The reason for this is each reel is designed specifically to work at its best only when spooled with particular amounts of certain pound test of line, whichever line you use. Once the angler knows this well, he can pay heed to which line to use for a specific species, i.e. whether it should be braided line, fluorocarbon line, ice fishing line, titanium fishing wire or steel fishing wire. Fishing line strength which is also called Lb. test is a measurement to find out the maximum stress the line can bear before it breaks. How to do that? Let’s find out.

Decide the Species You Want to Catch

This is of prime importance necessary to decide upon the fishing line strength. Per se, for saltwater fishing, you need much heavier line, than that you need for freshwater fishing. This is simple to understand, because freshwater species are usually smaller than their saltwater cousins. Once you decide upon a particular species or a group of species, your decision about line strength becomes easier than before. Following chart will give you a good idea about which species will need which strength.


  • Tuna: 20-40 lb.
  • Scup: 4-8 lb.
  • Striper: 15-30 lb.
  • Flounder: 8-15 lb.
  • Bluefish: 15-25 lb.
  • Tautog: 10-20 lb.


  • Catfish: 8-15 lb.
  • Bluegill: 2-4 lb
  • Walleye: 10-20 lb.
  • Perch: 4-8 lb.
  • Pike: 10-20 lb.
  • Crappie: 4-8 lb.
  • Trout: 5-10 lb.
  • Bass: 5-12 lb.

Fishing Destination

This is the next factor to consider while choosing the right fishing line strength. It is also important to consider whether you will be fishing from a boat or from shore, and also whether it is a stagnant pond or a rapid flowing river. Answers to these questions will further refine your decision about line strength. For example, in case of shore fishing in which you want to cast frequently, a lighter fishing line will be perfect so that your cast can reach further. In case of boat fishing, your bait should reach the bottom directly so, you may want a heavier line. Also in case of a fast flowing river, a heavy line is a perfect choice because the current will be strong, and because if you catch a sizeable fish within such a river, you will need a strong line to cope up with the stress the fish and the water will put on your line.

What is Your Objective?

If you plan for a catch-and-release fishing, a lighter line is better, as you have more chances of action considering the fact that lighter line is less likely to scare the fish away. However, if you will be catching fish for your dinner, and do not want to take risk of snapping the line, heavier line should be your choice.

Strength of Rod and Reel

Most rod and reels have printed information about the recommended strength of line, either on the handle of the rod or the reel itself. As a rule of thumb it’s better to use heavy line strength initially in a pond or lake to avoid much aggravation, since the lighter lines tend to tangle easily.