4 Things to Consider When Choosing Fishing Line Weight – Foundry Outdoors
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4 Things to Consider When Choosing Fishing Line Weight

While putting together your fishing gear for the upcoming year, keep these considerations in mind when choosing fishing line weight. 

New shoots of grass and budding trees are heralding the approach of spring. Robins have returned and the days are getting warmer and longer. The thick ice has melted and open water is now the norm. For outdoorsman, spring signals a transition in our yearly rituals. Away go the waterfowl equipment, deer hunting gear, and trapping supplies. Out come the turkey hunting decoys, camping gear, and summer fishing tackle. In a sense, this kind of annual cycle can re energize us as we shift gears out of the cold months.



If you are new to outdoor sports, you may not have all the gear you’ll need to enjoy the summer months ahead. One pastime that has been a popular way of spending summer evenings since the days of Adam is fishing. Even if you’ve not an experienced outdoorsman, odds are you’ve likely tossed out a line. Fishing can be a relaxing way to spend and evening, and can be done on a relatively low budget as well. Burgeoning sportsmen and women have a few gear considerations to make when putting their fishing rig together. One component of your gear you can’t afford to overlook is your fishing line, and choosing fishing line weight.

The pros rightly emphasize the importance of having the correct fishing line. It is the only link you have between you and your fish. Make the incorrect choice and you may wind up with a lot fewer fish on the stringer. If you are just beginning to assemble your fishing tackle, and need a few tips for correctly choosing your fishing line weight, here are 4 things to keep in mind.

1. Test Weight

Fishing LineFirst off, what is test weight? Test weight, line weight, and pound test, all reference one thing: the strength of your fishing line. Different lines are designed to catch different fish, and the test weight you choose should vary according to the species you’ll target. All line is designed to break at a certain tension. This measurement simply references that point. With a basic understanding of what test weight is, you can now begin to decide what line is right for you.

2. Species Specification

If you are new to the sport of fishing, you may want to consider targeting a specific species of fish right off the bat. Targeting a certain species, rather than just throwing a line in a hoping for the best, is good for several reasons. One, it helps you begin to learn the habits, hangouts, and feeding preferences of that fish. In the long run this sort of approach can make you much more successful fisherman. Secondly, this kind of approach can also make choosing gear easier in the beginning.  

Anglers that will be targeting bluegill, perch, crappie, or other panfish, can opt for a lighter test line. Lighter line, say 2-6 pound test, is a good option for all those species. These fish are small and hooking one on a light line makes the fight more enjoyable. Not only that, but the light line is good for the routine casting that you’ll be doing.

If you want to target larger fish, such as bass, catfish, or walleye, you might be better off choosing a line that is a bit heavier. 6-12 pound test is a good line weight for those kinds of fish. For larger fish like muskie and pike, going for line of greater than 14+ lbs. Would be a good idea.

Species-specific Catfish line


As mentioned, before buying any gear, think about what species of fish you’d like to catch. It will make choosing your fishing line weight easier.

3. Environment

Another thing you may need to consider when choosing fishing line weight is the environment you’ll be fishing in. If you’ve ever thrown out a line, there is a good chance you’ve gotten snagged. Certain fish, like bass, prefer to live in place of thick cover of weeds. If you target them you’ll likely spend more time snagged in the weeds and other gunk they hang out it. Therefore, you'll likely want to choose a line able to withstand a bit more tension. Constantly breaking your line off in weeds or tree limbs is not only frustrating, but can begin to get expensive when you frequently lose lures. Heavier line gives you a better chance to winch the lure back to you.

4. Reel Specification

Finally when choosing fishing line weight you’ll need to check out the reel mounted on your rod. All reels should have a series of numbers printed on them such as 260/6, 190/8, 130/10. These numbers represent the amount of line that can be spooled for particular line weights. The previous numbers were printed on my daughter’s reel and indicate that particular reel will accept 260 yards of 6 pound test, 190 yards of 8 pound test, and 130 yards of 10 pound test. After examining your reel you can see what options that particular reel will accommodate. This particular reel would allow me to use 6, 8, or 10 pound test. That may make my decision in choosing test line easier, or it may mean I’d need to buy a new reel if I’d like to target larger fish such as pike.  



If you are new to any outdoor pursuit, the gear decisions might seem a little overwhelming at first. In you are in that situation, it might be best to simplify your approach and target specific species. Not only will this make you more knowledgeable about the habits of fish, but it will also make choosing gear more simple. This approach will make deciding upon fishing line weight pretty straightforward. Make sure to get the correct line on your reel and you’ll be setting yourself up for some enjoyable summer evenings at your local fishing hole.


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