What Weight Line Do I Use for My Rod?

For some anglers, grabbing a cheap rod and any old fishing line will do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But for performance anglers selecting the right equipment, including the perfect line, is essential.

So what weight of line should you choose? That depends on a lot of factors, including what fish you want to catch, where you’re going to catch them, and how you’re planning to do it...


Redfish, or “red drums” as they are also known, are aggressive feeders that will take a large variety of baits, including lures and live baits. For saltwater fishing, they are not necessarily a large, heavy fish, so you can get by with a lighter line. Many anglers prefer to chase redfish using a line in the area of 30 pounds, but you can choose anything in the 10 to 40-pound range and you should be fine. If you’re fishing with artificial lures, especially lures that need flexibility for action and motion, you may want to go with something closer to 10 to 15 pounds. Also, water clarity can make a difference. If you are fishing clearer waters, you may want to consider a clear monofilament line over a more noticeable braided line.


These fish put up a strong, enthusiastic fight, and you need a line that can stand up to the challenge. Many anglers prefer a braided line in the range of 30 to 80-pound test for tarpon fishing. These lines will give you the strength you need to match these fish during all of their thrashing, running, and leaping. If you are fishing open areas like beaches and flats, you can probably go with a lighter line. However, if you are fishing for tarpon near structures like bridges or rocks, these active fish may pull themselves near the structure and damage the line, so you will need something stronger.


Tuna can get really big, and you need a line that can match these heavy, strong fish. Many tuna anglers choose something in the 130-pound range, but you can go as high as 200 pounds and it won’t be overkill. Some anglers also choose to have multiple reels rigged with different lines for fishing at different depths. If you do this, it’s a good idea to get different weights of line in different colors. Then you know that olive is 140-pound test, white is 180-pound test, etc.


It seems that there are just as many ways to fish for bass as there are bass fishermen, so getting everyone to agree on the right weight for your line is probably impossible. Generally, however, you will need something in the 10 to 25-pound range. If you are using crankbaits, most anglers would recommend something light, such as a 10-pound fluorocarbon. However, if you are topwater fishing around structures and lily pads, go with a heavier line like a 50-pound braid for extra strength when you’re pulling the bass back up.

Photo Courtesy of Ande Monofilament

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