How to Choose the Right Fishing Line Strength

How to Choose the Right Fishing Line StrengthCorrectly choosing the right fishing line strength is a bit more difficult than it looks. An angler who rigs her reel with a fishing line that is not appropriate for that type of set-up may find that the line does not cast well or the reel performs poorly. This is because every reel has a design that allows it to work its best when spooled with specific amounts of a specific pound test of fishing line. Once the fisherman understands this he can focus his attention on which line to use for a particular species.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rod and reel
  • Various strength fishing lines
Step 1
Look on your reel for its line capacity. This series of numbers indicates what pound test line to put on your reel and how much of it to put on. For example, if your reel line's capacity says 4/165 and 8/110 this means that you can put as much as 165 yards of 4 lb. test on or up to 110 yards of an 8 lb. test. The line capacity is typically located somewhere on the side of the reel and sometimes gives you the line diameter in fractions of an inch instead of the pound-test number.
Step 2
Avoid putting a high numbered pound test on a reel meant for light line. Putting 20 lb. test on an ultralight reel for instance will result in not being able to cast for any distance.
Step 3
Choose a braided line between 2 lb. and a 4 lb. test when fishing for panfish, such as crappies and perch. Remember that braided line is so sensitive it will detect the delicate nibbles of these fish and the 2 to 4 lb. strength is more than enough to handle fish this size.
Step 4
Put 12 lb. test line on a rig that targets a variety of freshwater species. Berkley Trilene XL Smooth Casting Line is an excellent example of an all-purpose line that is supple enough to catch an 8 oz. bluegill but strong enough to withstand the fight from a 15 lb. carp.
Step 5
Opt for higher pound-tests when using a bait casting reel to lower lures down into heavy cover. Braided superlines that are at least 12 to 15 lb. tests allow you to in essence winch large fish like the largemouth bass out of concentrated patches of aquatic plants.
Step 6
Spool your reel with 6 lb.d test fluorocarbon line if you want to catch trout. This strength line is enough to catch trout, and fluorocarbon's refractive powers in the water make it undetectable for fish as normally wary as trout.
Step 7
Rig your ice fishing tilts with at least 30 lb. test braided Dacron line if you are after large fish like northern pike. These fish often tip the scales at weights well over 20 lb. in many states, so having as strong a line as possible only makes sense.

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