Everyone has their own preference, but I’m going to break down the best lines to use when you’re starting to build your tackle box. These three lines can get you from spinning rods to baitcasting gear to fishing heavy cover to spinning tackle and even finesse style baits and presentation.
These are the three different pound tests to have if you are starting from scratch.
I rarely use anything smaller than 8-pound test. The fluorocarbon line is usually very small with little to no light refraction. This means it is less visible than other lines, so I rarely need to go smaller.
Fluorocarbon is a very stiff line so when using a spinning reel, it can spring off very easily. If I try to use 10 or 12-pound line, it will be too hard to manage and try to come off the spool too easily. What I like about it is I can use straight 8-pound fluorocarbon on a spinning reel and not have to worry about too much coming off.
I tend to use the 8-pound test because it is very manageable. The drag system on a spinner reel allows for easier use when using such a thin line. When using 8-pound test on baitcasting equipment the drag system isn’t as smooth and can cause you to break your line more often.
Favorite 8-Pound Test Baits: ned rigs, drop shots, shaky heads, small crankbaits
Generally, 15-pound test is only used for baitcasting equipment. If I am beginning my baitcasting equipment, this is the pound test I would use. This is because 15-pound test is strong enough to throw a spinner bait and pull fish out of structures, yet small enough to throw a small crankbait, square bill, or a Texas rig.
This is going to be the most versatile test to use on a baitcasting reel. It is strong enough to use spinners and manageable enough to use some very light weight lures. 15-pound test is the happy medium where it is strong enough to power fish with, small enough to get distance with light lures, and thin enough to fish in clear waters.
Favorite 15-Pound Test Baits: spinnerbait, small crankbait, square bill, Texas rig, almost anything
For situations where you need big line--like when you’re fishing heavy cover, a lot of laydowns, or lots of rocks--this is going to be your line. It’s best when you have a heavy bait and you really need to whip your line and have power behind it.
Keep in mind, with a higher test line, you do not want to fill your spool all the way. I like to have it about half full when using heavier line. This ensures the metal on the reel touches the line and then it won’t spring out and give me backlash.
Favorite 20-Pound Test Baits: swimbait (5,6,7,8 inch), heavy crankbait
Smaller test line for lighter baits, a spinning setup, or clear water.
Larger test line for heavier baits, shorter casts, or when you want less line on your reel.