Fishing line is an important part of any bass fishing setup. After all, it’s your direct connection to the fish and it allows you to present lures and baits effectively. Having the right type and size of line is especially important when fishing with topwater lures and can make a huge difference in your overall success.
The best all purpose fishing line to use for topwater lures is 50 lb braided line or 17 lb monofilament. Braided line floats, has no stretch and will help anglers make long casts. Monofilament also floats, is forgiving and perfect as a main line or leader when throwing topwater baits.
With that being said, each topwater technique and situation and condition may call for a slightly different line size and type. Please continue reading below for more information on what pound test of line you should use for the different topwater fishing techniques, lures, and situations.
Selecting Topwater Fishing Line
When it comes to topwater fishing, bass fishing anglers are divided on what’s the best fishing line to use. The two most common line choices for topwater anglers are monofilament and braid. Some anglers also use a braided line with a monofilament leader. Fluorocarbon is another popular line in bass fishing, but it should never be used for topwater techniques.
Oftentimes the right topwater fishing line to use comes down to personal preference and the type of lure and conditions you may be fishing with. Many professional anglers use straight braid, mono or braid with a mono leader.
Here are the strengths and weaknesses of each of the line types and when it makes sense to use each.
Monofilament (Mono) is a popular choice for anglers fishing topwater lures because it floats and it’s very forgiving. Mono has quite a bit of stretch which is good in the sense that it’s much more forgiving then braid. This is helpful when fishing with treble hook baits and during close combat fishing. The downside to mono’s stretch is that it can be more difficult to get a good hook set on long casts. Monofilament is a good overall line to use for fishing topwater and is also an excellent leader material to use when fishing braid.
Why You Should use Monofilament
- Most forgiving line
- Great at shock absorption
- Great leader material
The most popular main line to use when fishing topwater lures by avid anglers and bass fishing professionals is braid. Braid floats like monofilament, is smaller in diameter, has no stretch and is a much stronger line. Braid is a no brainer when fishing a frog or buzzbait around heavy cover and vegetation. The strength will allow you to pull the biggest bass out of the thick stuff. Braid is also ideal for getting a good hook set on those long casts.
The downside to braid is that it’s a bit more expensive and isn’t as forgiving as mono due to the no stretch.. This can cause problems with treble hooked baits if you’re not careful. That’s why many anglers opt to use braid as their main line and pair that up with a monofilament leader.
Why You Should Use Braid
- No stretch
- Super strong
- Small diameter per pound test
- Easier to make long casts
- Lasts longer
Braid with Monofilament Leader
Many anglers will use braid as their main line and pair it with a monofilament leader. The idea here is that you get the best of both worlds. You get the casting ability, longevity and no stretch of the braid while also getting the forgiveness with a mono leader. This combination is perhaps the ultimate topwater line setup.
Although fluorocarbon line is popular to use for many bass fishing lures like crankbaits, swimbaits, and other techniques, it should be never used when throwing topwater lures. The main reason why is because fluorocarbon sinks. A sinking line will make it hard to keep your baits on the surface while maintaining the proper action. I love using fluorocarbon for many things, but it’s not a great topwater fishing line to use.
Best Topwater Line to Use by Lure
|Topwater Lure||Recommended Line|
|Buzz Baits||Braid (50-65lb)|
|Walking Baits||Braid (30lb) or Monofilament (17-20lb)|
|Prop Baits||Braid (30lb) or Monofilament (17-20lb)|
|Whopper Ploppers||Braid (30-50lb) or Monofilament (17-20lb)|
|Wake Baits||Braid (30-60lb) or Monofilament (20-25lb)|
|Poppers||Monofilament (12-15lb) or Braid (30lb)|
It’s no secret. The topwater frog is ideal around heavy vegetation and cover. It excels in the thick stuff and heavy line will be required to pull giant bass out the cover. The best fishing line to use when throwing a topwater frog is 50-65 lb. braid. This line size and type will give you the ability to work it over cover and the strength to pull big bass out of the thick vegetation. No leader is needed with a frog, I’ll tie my braid directly to the lure.
The best line to use when fishing with a buzzbait is 50-65 lb braided line. Buzzbaits are primarily fishing around vegetation and cover and come equipped with a stout hook. This combination makes using braided fishing line an obvious choice. With a stout hook you won’t have to worry about overpowering your hook with the braided line and the low stretch will allow you to capitalize on each hook set. Straight braid is the only way to go when fishing a buzzbait.
The best fishing line to use for whopper ploppers is either 30 or 50lb braid depending upon the size of the bait you are using. If you are fishing bigger sizes like the 130 I like to use 50 or 60 lb braid. This larger diameter line will help the braid sit on the surface better and will give your lure better action. When throwing the 110 whopper plopper or smaller I like to use a 30lb braid. I have also thrown the whopper plopper on straight monofilament and that can work as well. However, I’ve found that using braided line, I can make longer casts, and I get a better hook up ratio.
When it comes to walking baits there are two popular opinions on what line should be used. Some anglers prefer to use a heavier monofilament line like 20lb while others opt to use 30 lb braid. In my opinion the best line to use for walking baits like the zara spook is 30lb braid. I’ve found it’s easier to work the bait without having any stretch in the line and I can get a longer cast while getting that instant connection on hook sets.
The best line to use when fishing with prop baits is 30-50lb braid as your main line and 15-17 lb monofilament as a leader. Adding a monofilament leader will prevent your line from getting caught up in the props and will also still give you the advantages of braid. For larger prop baits, I’d recommend using 50lb braid and for smaller ones I’d stick with 30lb as your main line. You can also adjust the size of your mono leader depending on the size of your lure.
Although most wake baits are fished just below the surface I consider them to be in the topwater lure category. The best all around fishing line to use for wake baits is 30-50lb braid with monofilament leader 15-30lb). When throwing those large wake baits 80lb braid paired with a 30lb monofilament leader is ideal. With throwing average size wake baits I like throwing them on 30-50lb braid with a 15-17 mono leader.
The best line to use when topwater fishing with a popper is either monofilament (12-15lb) or braid (30lb) with a mono leader. Poppers come equipped with treble hooks so it’s important to remember not to use too heavy of a line so you don’t bend out the hooks. I have always liked using monofilament when throwing a popper. It floats, it’s more forgiving than braid and I tend to have a lot of success with it.
With that being said, I know many other anglers prefer using either straight braid or braid with a monofilament leader. Braid has less stretch and will allow you to make longer casts. The only downside is it’s less forgiving and if you are not careful you’ll pull the hooks right out of the fish’s mouth.
Best Topwater Fishing Lines
One thing that I’ve learned over the years fishing topwater lures is not all lines are created equal. Fishing with a quality, high performing fishing line is extremely important.
I’ve experimented with tons of different lines and have come up with the following list of what I would consider to be the best lines to use when throwing topwater lures.
Why I Like It
I’ve been using the Power Pro line ever since I can remember. This line has been helping anglers catch bass for decades. It’s proven, affordable and a great overall line to use for topwater lures.
Power Pro MaxCuatro (Best Overall)
Why I Like It
If you are willing to spend a little more to get a stronger and thinner line, I would recommend using the Power Pro Maxcuatro. It’s 25% thinner and offers maximum strength and ultimate casting distance. This is my go to the main line for any topwater lure.
Maxima Ultra Green (Best Leader)
Why I Like It
Why should you pair your braided main line with a leader? Shock absorption and to prevent your braid from snagging your hook with walking baits. There is no better shock absorber and leader material than the Maxima Ultra green. This is a great leader line for any topwater lure.
One of the biggest mistakes I see anglers of all levels make, especially beginner anglers, is not choosing the right line for fishing topwater baits. Having the right line can have a big impact on the action of your lure, ensure you land those big blow ups and will allow you to have success. I hope you have found value in this article and you refer to it anytime you have questions about what type of line you should use while throwing topwater lures for bass.