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March 17, 2016

How To Choose The Best Fishing Line For Bass

BassHoles know how to choose the best fishing line for bass.spooling line

They choose their favorite!

But why are some lines preferred over others? And what should you choose to start out?

Rod, Reel, Lure & Technique

What line you choose will depend on what type of rod, reel, and lure you choose. PLUS how you will fish that lure.

Here’s a quick list of bass fishing techniques:

  • Topwater (frogs, Jitterbug, PopR)maxresdefault
  • Crankbaits (deep water, shallow water, lipped & lipless)
  • Spinnerbaits (Colorado, willow leaf, Indiana, in-line)
  • Jerk baits (cold water, warm water, shallow water)
  • Swimbaits
  • Senkos
  • Plastic worms
  • Jigs (skipping, swimming, football, shaky heads)
  • Pitching (heavy cover, sparse cover)
  • Drop shot

That’s just for starters. And of course most everything above comes in various colors.


The 3 types of fishing line

For NON-fly fishing (that is a totally separate category and my recommendation is here), there are three main types of fishing line:

  • Monofilament
  • Fluorocarbon
  • Braided

Let’s examine each on in turn, then make a recommendation.

   1.  Monofilament Berkley trilene eco

The “mono” in monofilament refers to the fact it is a single (“mono”) fiber of nylon and sometimes other polymers. There are 3 variables in monofilament line you use to determine which line to use:

  • Pound test
  • Diameter
  • Stretch

Pound test corresponds to line diameter. The smaller the test, the thinner the line.

There are costs and benefits to the various pound tests of line, but one thing to be clear on is this: You can catch a HUGE fish on a small pound test line. The 2 lb. test line record (pending IGFA line test) is for a 35.5 pound shortfall spearfish. If you catch a 35+ pound bass, you’ve made bass fishing history (the record is 22 pounds, 4 ounces, set in 1932).

Not that I’m advising 2 lb. test line for bass!

Lighter lines have greater stretch. Which translates to fighting a big bass more (being more careful) rather than just hauling it in (watch the pros, they get those bass in fast!). Stretch CAN be an advantage of monofilament over other lines, since it’s more “forgiving.” When you set the hook hard, the line stretches rather than ripping the lure right out of the fish’s mouth.

But there are also advantages to smaller diameter (lighter test) lines.Largemouth

The lighter the line, the better it:

  • Casts (cast farther)
  • Sinks (sinks faster)

Mono has other advantages over the other types of lines:

  • Greater shock strength (when the fish thrashes and hauls on your line)
  • Greater abrasion resistance (mono is thicker, so has more bulk)
  • Colors (mono is easier to tint)
  • Knot-friendly (easy to tie knots in mono)
  • Inexpensive

I currently use monofilament on all of my reels. If I decide to try some other options, I’ll let you know what I learn. And if YOU use and love other options, please add a comment below! I love to learn from those with experience!

   2.  Fluorocarbon Berkley fluorocarbon

Fluorocarbon is made from polyvinylidene fluoride. It is similar to monofilament, but does have some distinct differences. Some good, some not so good.

Advantages of fluorocarbon

  • Reflects / refracts less light (less optically dense) = harder to see in water
  • Superior abrasion resistance (tougher)
  • Won’t absorb water (mono will)
  • Less stretch = more sensitive (feel bottom & fish bites better)
  • Sinks rather than floats (sometimes that’s good, sometimes not!)

Disadvantages of fluorocarbon

  • More rigid = less manageable, coils more and won’t stay limp
  • Sinks rather than floats (sometimes that’s good, sometimes not!)
  • Costs more
  • Knot tying is not as easy

Due to the increased cost of fluorocarbon, many anglers use backing to fill their reel spool, then add up to 100 yards of fluorocarbon at the end.

   3.  Braid B FireLine

Braided lines are created by weaving strands of material to make a strong line. Braided lines are actually the oldest type of fishing line. But they have been redesigned from braided natural materials — cotton and linen — to space age synthetics — Dacron, Spectra, and Dyneema.

As will most options, there are pluses and minuses to this type of line.

The Good about braid

  • Incredible tensile strength
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Resists twisting
  • Casts farther
  • No stretch (can be good or bad)

The Bad about braid

  • High visibility (you can’t hide this line)
  • Can dig into itself when reeling in a strong bass
  • Susceptible to tangles in certain conditions
  • No stretch (can be good or bad)

The knot you use with braided line may have to be different than what you use with either monofilament or fluorocarbon. The knot strengths and reliability simply don’t translate directly to braid.

A very common procedure is to include a fluorocarbon leader to a braided line, and connect the fluorocarbon to your swivel or lure.



Especially for the beginner, I recommend monofilament line. Not only because it’s the only type of line I’ve ever used (unless you count fluorocarbon leaders for my fly fishing line), but because it is easiest to use. Also, tying knots is easy with mono.B solutions

As you probably already guessed, I like Berkley lines. I’ve been using them for decades without any issues. And they come in a large assortment of colors, pound tests, types, and so forth. Of course there are many other fine lines out there, but my experience has primarily been with Berkley, so I trust them.

Pound Test

Assuming you are starting out fishing, and want to get the most “all around” fishing line, then I would recommend choosing between either:

  • 8 lb.
  • 10 lb.

I have 10 lb. on my reels, but also like 8 lb. (it casts farther).

I do a lot of top water fishing in the weeds, so prefer a bit stouter line.

Remember your fishing line is like the tires on your car: it’s your direct connection to the business!

Finally, don’t forget to check your line (the last yard or so) frequently. Put it between your fingers and pull. If you feel nicks or irregularities of any kind, but that part off and throw it away! I also cut off the last foot of line after fighting a big bass, or any sized pickerel or pike (they have razor teeth!).

Better to retie than break off the fish of a lifetime!

Update on monofilament!

Roger, The Smiling BassHole here. I just discovered an article from BassPro Shops explaining why monofilament is still a great choice for bass fishing!

==> Click here to read BassPro Shops article about monofilament line <==

So we’re talked about rods, reels, and fishing line. Coming soon are knots and lures!

Let me know your favorites of all these categories, and

Tight lines!

Roger, The Smiling BassHole


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The Smiling BassHole

I'm a BassHole!Kickin' Bass and lettin' them go.

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

    • Tyler,

      Florida fishing should be awesome! And you can no doubt start today (or last week!).

      You might even catch the world record out there!

      Are you fishing already? What is your favorite rod and reel? And what lures do you prefer?

      Maybe I’ll have a chance to visit you in sunny Florida! Just a couple of BassHoles having a good old time!

      Thanks for the comment.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

    • Thanks, Nikki!

      Once I’ve finished covering the basics, I’ll expand and speak to more experienced BassHoles. But for starters, I thought I’d introduce the topic to newcomers!

      Hope you love fishing as much as I do!

      Keep in touch and let me know about your fishing adventures.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

    • Glad to give you some starter hints, Darrik!

      And please let me know how your outings go, and feel free to ask questions. Bass fishing ain’t rocket science, but there are some very basic techniques that can really improve your success rate.

      For example, if you are fishing from a boat, and get a bite, fish that area very thoroughly! There are probably more bass there!

      Tight lines,

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Sweet!

    So, what gear did you choose?

    How are you fishing? Boat, shore?

    Have you fished for other types of fish before? Or is this an introduction?

    Let me know if you have any questions! Have fun!

    BassHoles want to know!

    Tight lines!

    Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Finally I found a website with all the information that I was looking for.
    You have some great information here! I am just learning about how to choose the best fishing line for bass, so I learned a lot.
    Very good info!
    You saved my day.

    • Emanuel,

      Glad to have been of help!

      If you have any questions, or need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to ask.

      Very happy to have been able to save your day!

      Tight lines, my friend!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • I’ve never done bass fishing or I would say, I’ve never fished before in my life. But I sure know where to look for advice if I decided to one day.

    • Thanks, Kenny!

      Fishing isn’t for everyone, of course, but if you DO decide to try it out, I’m happy to advise you on where to start. Even if it’s some OTHER kind of fishing!

      Most of my knowledge relates to freshwater (as opposed to saltwater) fishing, but I can even steer you in the right direction for salt.

      Thanks for the comment, and tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • now i know how to choose the best fishing line for bass and i hope it doesnt break because i want a big one, lol ! im remembering using the Zebco 33’s back when iza kid, “click” ha ha. great site Roger : )

    • Robert,

      No one wants their line to break!

      Luckily, with today’s manufacturing, line breaks are very rare. Those breaks that do happen typically “have user error written all over them.” Meaning, there are nicks in the line from abrasion while fishing, or the knot itself fails (breaks). Be sure and check out the post on knots as well! Click here.

      My fishing buddy still uses Zebco 33’s almost all the time! Click click!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Great read and post!

    I never knew that there is so much to choosing what line to use when trying to catch bass. I enjoy fishing and I will use what I have learned the next time I am out.


    • Derek,

      Monofilament has been around for a long time, though a type of braided line was the original (but now braided lines are quite different).

      The pros use all three, depending on their tactics and where the fish are holding.

      But I use mono all the time. Though I might try fluorocarbon one day!

      What kind of fishing do you do?

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

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