What Pound Test to Use for Bass [Complete Guide]

Fishing line is probably one of the most important pieces of equipment in any bass fishing setup. After all its your direct connection to the fish and it allows you to present different lures and bait. Having the right type and size of line is extremely important and can ultimately make a huge difference. 

If you are new to bass fishing or are trying out a new lure or technique you might be wondering what pound test of line you should be using. This is an important question and the right answer may vary depending upon a variety of factors.

When fishing for bass the best pound test line to use is 12lb test. It’s the most versatile line strength and will be effective in most fishing situations. For finesse bass fishing techniques like the Drop Shot or Ned Rig 6-8lb test is ideal. If you are targeting bigger bass or fishing around cover 15-20lb test typically best. When throwing frogs and or fishing in heavy cover like mats or thick grass 50-80lb braided line is more effective.

However, each bass fishing technique 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 bass fishing techniques, lures, and situations.

What Pound Test to Use When Targeting Bass

Having the right type and strength of line while bass fishing is extremely important and can be the difference between catching and loosing fish.

As I mentioned above the right pound test and line type to use for bass is dependent upon the lures you are throwing, water clarity, what type of cover you are fishing and the size of bass you are planning on catching.   

At the end of this article you’ll know exactly what you need to know about the different line types, how to choose the right line, the importance of pound test, and which line you should use for each bass fishing rig and technique.

Let’s get started.


Before we discuss the different line types you can choose and which ones you should pair with the different bass fishing lures and techniques, let’s talk about what does pound test actually mean for fishing line.

The strength of a fishing line is measured by how many pounds of force it takes to break the line. The larger the pound test of the line means the more force it can take without breaking.

The downside to larger line is that has a bigger in diameter, is more visible and tends to make baits look unnatural. On the other hand, if you choose fishing line that has too small of pound test you can easily break off and loose fish. That’s why having the right balance is key.


First things first, let’s talk about the different bass fishing lines and when to use each type of line before we discuss what pound test you should use.

There are three main types of fishing line that are used in bass fishing. Monofilament, fluorocarbon and braid. Each one proving anglers with different advantages and disadvantages.

Here are the type of bass fishing line you should consider using:


Monofilament has been the original fishing line material and has been around for what seems like forever. It has the largest diameter when compared to the other bass fishing line types and also has the most stretch. Monofilament is also a floating line and is pretty good at abrasion resistance.

When to Use

What really separates monofilament from the other line types is that it floats and its less expensive. For this reason, monofilament works great for top water lures like walking baits and poppers. It also works for shallow water crankbaits and as a leader material when paired with braid.


The fishing line I probably use the most is fluorocarbon. It has a smaller diameter when compared to monofilament, has less stretch, it sinks, and is a lot more sensitive. Fluorocarbon is also nearly invisible in the water which makes it a great choice in clear water.

When to Use

I use fluorocarbon line for just about every bass fishing technique with a few exceptions. I don’t recommend using it for top water lures, frogs or when fishing around thick grass, trees or heavy structure. Outside of that fluorocarbon is a great line to choose for any other bass fishing lure or technique.


Braided fishing line gives you the ultimate strength with zero stretch and has a really small diameter given its strength. This combination makes it great as a main line and when fishing heavy lures around grass and other cover.

When to Use

Braid is best utilized for throwing big lures or when fishing around heavy cover. It’s also ideal for techniques like frogs and punching where you have to pull bass out of thick grass, brush or heavy cover.  

Many anglers also use braid as a main line and pair it with either a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader in clear water situations. The leader makes the line connected to the lure less visible while still giving you the sensitivity and low stretch benefits of braid.

If you plan on using braid make sure to check out this post to see our favorite braided fishing line: Best Braided Fishing Line for Bass

Now that we have gone over the basic line types let’s talk about how you can decide which line is right for you.

How to Choose Bass Fishing Line

When deciding what pound test and line type you should use while bass fishing there a several things you should first consider. There are times when the fishing conditions can play a big role in determining what’s the best line to use.


Here are a few things you should think about before deciding what pound test you should use.

Fish Caliber

If you know what the caliber of fish are in your body of water it can be super helpful when deciding what line to use. For example, here in Utah a good size bass is 2-5lbs and you’ll rarely catch something much bigger. As a result, I like to use lighter line in most of our reservoirs because I know I’m not going to be hooking into monsters and it will get me a few more bites.

If I was fishing on the California Delta or at Clear Lake where there is trophy bass, I would upsize my line size just in case I hook into a big one.

Water Clarity

The water clarity or lack thereof can give you a big clue on what size of line you should consider using while bass fishing. If I’m fishing in clear water, I like to use as light of line as possible. This will make my line less visible, look more natural, and will result in more bites. Conversely, when I’m fishing in muddy or stained water I like to upsize my line size because the invisibility of my line isn’t much of a factor.

Lure Size & Weight

Another important thing to consider when choosing the right pound test is your lure size and weight. The bigger your lure or bait is the heavier pound test you should use. Think about it, when your throwing giant baits the force that your line takes when you rip it back and let it go is much great than if you were using a smaller lure.


Each bass fishing technique has a general pound test that you should use in order for it to be the most effective. When fishing with a Drop Shot, Ned Rig, or other finesse bass fishing techniques lighter line between 4-8lb test well help you catch more fish. If are throwing a Carolina Rig and Texas Rig or are around structure a heavier line is best. 

Type of Cover

The type of cover or lack of cover is probably the main thing that helps me determine what pound test I should use while bass fishing. If there really isn’t much structure/cover, I can get away with using lighter line. If I’m fishing in thick grass, tree’s or heavy cover than I know I’m going to need larger pound test to be able to pull fish out. 

Knowing these things can go a long way in helping you decide on what pound test you should be using while fishing for bass.

Bass Fishing Line Recommendations by Technique

In effort to help you decide exactly the kind of fishing line you need for your bass fishing lures and techniques, I’ve put together the following bass fishing line recommendation guide that you can use to make sure you get the right pound test and line for your fishing presentation.

Sparse Cover15- to 20-poundFluorocarbon
Heavy Cover20 to 65-poundFluorocarbon or Braid
Matted Grass or Frogs65-poundBraid
Small Topwater10 to 15-poundMonofilament
Big Topwater15-pound or 30-poundMonofilament or Braid
Buzzbaits15-pound or 30-poundMonofilament or Braid
Spinnerbaits15 to 20-poundFluorocarbon or Monofilament
Chatterbaits15 to 20-poundFluorocarbon or Monofilament
Lipless Crankbaits12 to 20-poundFluorocarbon or Monofilament
Small Crankbaits10 to 15-pound Fluorocarbon or Monofilament
Big Crankbaits8 to 17-poundFluorocarbon or Monofilament
Finesse Swimbaits6 to 8-poundFluorocarbon
Small Swimbaits10 to 15-poundFluorocarbon
Big Swimbaits15 to 25-pound or 65-poundFluorocarbon or Braid
Jerk Bait/Rip Bait8 to 12-poundFluorocarbon or Monofilament
Fluke8 to 12-poundFluorocarbon or Monofilament
Umbrella Rig65 to 80-poundBraid
Jigs15 to 20-poundFluorocarbon
Swim Jig30 to 65-poundFluorocarbon or Braid
Texas Rig15-25 or 40-60-poundFluorocarbon or Braid
Drop Shot6 to 8-poundFluorocarbon
Ned Rig6 to 8-poundFluorocarbon
Neko Rig6 to 10-poundFluorocarbon
Shaky Head6 to 10-poundFluorocarbon
Spoons10 to 20-poundFluorocarbon
Carolina Rig15 to 20lb or 20 to 30lb Fluorocarbon or Braid
Wacky Rig10 to 15-poundFluorocarbon
Pitching & Flipping15 to 25-pound or 65-poundFluorocarbon or Braid
Punching65 to 80-poundBraid
Underspin’s10 to 15-poundFluorocarbon
Senko’s8 to 20-poundFluorocarbon

Check out this article for more guidance on how to choose the right fishing line for each species and fishing technique: What Pound Test of Fishing Line to Use [Complete Guide]

Bass Fishing Line by Reel Type

Another thing that you need to thing about is choosing the right line for your specific fishing reel. There are certain line sizes that tend to work better depending upon what type of fishing reel you are using.

Here is a general guide:

Spinning Reel

When fishing for bass with a spinning reel the best pound test line to use is between 6-10lbs or with 10-20lb braid with a fluorocarbon leader. In bass fishing spinning reels are typically used for more finesse bass fishing techniques like a Shaky Head or Drop Shot. If you are throwing Neko Rigs, Wacky Rigs or small swimbaits upsizing your line size to 8-10lb test is best.

Baitcasting Reel

In bass fishing baitcasters are typically built to handle heavier line and to throw larger baits and lures. The most versatile line to use for a baicaster is 12-15lb test. The extra line strength allows you to fish around cover and to throw heavier baits and lures. Lighter line on a baitcaster can be difficult to manage and isn’t ideal.

Best Bass Fishing Line

As bass fishing addict I love trying new fishing gear and have tried just about every line and brand out there. There are a lot of great options but some anglers like myself are on a limited budget and can’t afford to always buy the high end line.

Here are some of my favorite bass fishing lines that I believe offer the best balance of value and performance.

Make sure to check out our review article on the Best Bass Fishing Line for Baitcaster & Spinning Reels for more information on what specific line you should buy.

Bass Fishing Line Q&A

Is 10-pound line good for bass fishing? Ten-pound line is a good overall line to use while bass fishing. It will allow you to throw small crankbaits, jigs, senko’s and other small baits and lures. 

What color line is best for bass fishing? The best overall color of line to use for bass fishing is clear or green fishing line. These colors will make your line blend it with its surrounds and look invisible to the fish. If you do use a bright colored line like yellow make sure use a clear leader, it will help you catch more fish.

Can you catch bass on 6lb line? Yes, you can catch bass with 6-pound fishing line. In fact, this is my favorite line size when fishing finesse presentations like the Drop Shot and Ned Rig. This is especially true when fishing in clear water.

Bottom Line

Choosing the right size and type of line while fishing for bass is extremely important and can make a huge difference in your overall success.

The right lb. test line will allow you to effective work certain baits, lures and technique that can maximize your bites while ensuring you have enough strength to real in those monster bass.

I would encourage you use this article as a resource and reference it as you make important line decisions. 

Tight lines

Aaron Warner

Aaron Warner is an avid angler with over 15 years of experience. He has participated and won fishing tournaments all over the country and enjoys fishing for bass, trout, walleye and other species.

Recent Posts