Fishing line test is not a challenge of your fishing know-how. Line test refers to the amount of weight a fishing line can hold before breaking. Manufacturers rate their fishing lines independently and are not held to a universal standard. Most lines will not break, under load, for three or more pounds above where they are rated.
2- to 10-Pound-Test
Lighter-test fishing lines typically fall into the 2- to 10-pound range. Stream trout, for example, will usually require line no heavier than 4- or perhaps 6-pound-test. Large crappie or smaller-size smallmouth bass may require 8- to 10-pound-test. When choosing lightweight lines, it is necessary to not only consider the pound test that may be needed but also the line diameter. Lower-pound test lines will typically have small diameters, making them more desirable for smaller prey. Small lures designed for wily trout or panfish require small line and that usually translates into lighter-test lines.
12- to 20-Pound-Test
Midweight lines in the 12- to 20-pound-test range are used for freshwater species such as largemouth bass, pike and muskie. Saltwater species include snapper, flounder, speckled trout and other similar-size fish. Oftentimes it is necessary to go up a few pounds in test when fishing saltwater, especially along the surf or from a pier when rough surf and heavy weights are in use. In the last several years, fishermen have been on the receiving end of technological advancements in polymers. Today, lines such as Spider Wire monofilament allow for higher break strength in a smaller diameter. This is a win-win scenario for largemouth bass fishermen especially. Taking this a step further are braided lines that feature woven strands instead of a single piece of line material. Braids allow up to 1 1/2 times the pound test of a similar-size line in some cases.
22-Pound-Test and Up
Lines of 22-pound-test and higher are often referred to as big-game lines. The diameter of these lines begins to increase significantly and there is nothing stealthlike in a bait or lure presentation utilizing them. Big-game lines are designed to withstand the fighting force of big freshwater fish species such as muskie and large catfish. Saltwater species such as marlin and large grouper require the use of heavy lines, especially when the additional weight required to get bait down to deeper water depths in the ocean is attached.
Article Written By Keith Dooley
Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.