Our editors at Finn’s Fishing Tips independently research, test, and recommend the best products to help you make purchase decisions. You can learn more about our review process here. We sometimes get a commission through purchases made via our links.
Bass are one of the most fished for gamefish in the United States. They live in many different freshwater habitats and go after many types of lures and bait. You can even fly fish for them! The most common types are largemouth and smallmouth, but white bass are also super fun to catch. We’ve reviewed our favorite bass lures for summer as well as bass spinning reels, but what types of fishing lines work best for bass spinning reels?
In this article, we’ll cover the best fishing line for bass spinning reels spanning from expensive fluorocarbon fishing line to colored braided line. We’ll also do a quick review of what exactly bass are, where they live, and how to use different types of line fish for them.
The fishing line we recommend in this article is also great for other fish that live in similar habitats – like snakehead. After finishing our detailed article on the best fishing line for bass spinning reels, you’ll know exactly which type of line to get!
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Favorites
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read about the specifics, we recommend the following fishing lune for bass spinning reels:
For smaller bass: 4lb to 8lb monofilament colored in dark green or clear.
For larger bass: 8lb to 20lb fluorocarbon or braided line colored in dark green or brown.
What Are Bass?
Bass are common freshwater fish that live in both the northern and southern hemispheres of North America. Despite common beliefs, there are actually many different types of bass. The two most popular kinds are largemouth and smallmouth bass, but there are several other types that are fun to catch. Here’s a quick summary of the different types of bass.
- Largemouth bass.
- Smallmouth bass.
- Spotted bass.
- White bass.
- Yellow bass.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass are actually members of the sunfish family and are closely related to bluegills and their cousins, while the white bass is more closely related to perch.
Where Do Bass Live?
Bass varieties are split into two categories: still water (such as lakes, swamps, and ponds) and moving water (like streams, rivers, and creeks). Both habitats need to have cool, clean water, an abundance of bass food (nymphs, insects, frogs, and baitfish), and underwater structures to hide from predators.
Authors Note: Bass love to be able to hunt in weeded areas early in the morning, then swim to deeper water mid-day when the water temperature increases. If you want to learn more about catching bass in ponds during the winter, check out our article on the winter pond bass lures.
Types of Bass Fishing Line
So how many different types of bass fishing line for spinning reels are there? fishing lines are broken up into three categories: monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided line. Each type has its pros and cons with spinning reels.
Monofilament tends to be the cheapest and most flexible, while fluorocarbon is more expensive and harder. Fluorocarbon works great in small diameters, but anything above 14 lb test will limit casting distance when using smaller lures .
Braided is around the same price as fluorocarbon, but has an even stronger tensile strength per diameter. Braided line, however, is susceptible to tearing if it gets tangled around rocks or other underwater structure.
If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between fluorocarbon and monofilament, check out our monofilament vs. fluorocarbon article on which we like for different situations.
Monofilament line is the cheapest of all three fishing line types, making it an affordable option for anglers.
Best Monofilament Fishing Line for Bass Spinning Reels
The most common type of fishing line that works well for bass is monofilament. As we detailed in our monofilament vs fluorocarbon article, the line called monofilament because it’s extruded as a single strand of material – as opposed to multiple strands that can then be fused or braided together. Monofilament can be made from several different materials, but the most common is nylon plastic.
Usually, brands use multiple different types of nylon that they blend together before extruding. These polymers are engineered to have different specifications depending on the application. Monofilament’s smooth surface helps it cast really well too.
For bass, the best kind of monofilament to use is dependent on the size of bass you’re fishing for. For smaller species like white and young smallmouth bass, 4lb to 8lb monofilament is ideal. You want to use a lighter test monofilament line so the fish can’t see it underwater. It also works best with light and ultra-light rods that are more fun to catch smaller bass on.
For larger species of bass (like largemouth or older smallmouth bass)we recommend using 10lb to 15lb test. This ensures that if you hook into a tournament-sized largemouth you’ll have enough strength in your line that you won’t risk losing the fish.
Top Tip: If you are worried 10lb test line isn’t going to be enough, feel free to bump up to 12lb.
When picking out the color of monofilament, check the color of the water where you’re planning on fishing. You’ll want to match your line to the color of the water. When fishing in weeds, brown and green lines work well. If the water is clear, use a clear line. If in doubt, pick a dark translucent green.
Monofilament is visible in the water, but it doesn’t stand out greatly, as a result, it can be used successfully in clear water and will work just fine in stained water.
Many bass anglers choose to use monofilament lines with spinning reel setups, which are commonly used for some dock fishing situations as well as fishing rigs like drop shot rigs.
Best Fluorocarbon Fishing Line for Bass Spinning Reels
Fluorocarbon also works well for fishing for smaller bass. Fluorocarbon used to only be used for intense industrial saltwater applications, but in recent years it’s become more common for casual fishermen to use it.
It’s made from a variety of compounds, including fluorine, chlorine, carbon, and various hydrocarbons. The most frequent combination used for making fluorocarbon fishing line is polyvinylidene difluoride. Like monofilament, the mixture is extruded in a single strand.
Fluorocarbon molecules are packed tightly together so the line is more dense and heavy than monofilament. This density also adds to its strength and decreases stretch, but also means the line will sink, while monofilament floats or is neutrally buoyant.
For bass spinning reels, we recommend sticking with a fluorocarbon line lower than 14 lb test. Anything higher than that can drastically minimize casting distance when using light lures.
If you’re fishing for large bass, using fluorocarbon, monofilament, or braided line. Look at the color of the water where you’re planning on fishing and match your fluorocarbon line to a similar color. If you’re not sure, pick a dark translucent green or blue.
Best Braided Bass Fishing Line for Spinning Reels
Unlike monofilament and fluorocarbon, braided line is made by braiding filaments of synthetic plastic.
A braided fishing line can be great for bass due to its high tensile strength to diameter ratios. The drawbacks of braided line are that it doesn’t have any stretch and can tear on rocks or logs if it gets snagged, but the abrasion resistance is much higher than fluorocarbon or monofilament.
Authors Note: For bass spinning reels set for smaller bass, we actually don’t recommend using braided line. Braided line is the most visible type of fishing line and for smaller fish, it makes sense to use monofilament or fluorocarbon.
Larger bass, however, are a great match for braided line. 8lb to 20lb test braided line is much thinner than the equivalent monofilament or fluorocarbon line and larger fish cannot see it as well underwater.
It also helps if you’re fishing in opaque water or near weeds. Bass won’t be able to see the line due to the visibility in the water. As with the other line types, consider the color of the water you’ll be fishing in before picking out your color of braided line.
Due to the much smaller diameter compared to the two other types of lines, many anglers will use a braided line that has a high lb test strength, and while you might think it’s overkill, it doesn’t really matter.
It is not uncommon to see anglers use braided lines rated at 20 to 30-pound test for average bass angling.
Depending on the type of bass fishing you’re doing there are many types of fishing line that work well for bass spinning reels. If you’re going for large bass with a spinning reel, use monofilament or braided line. For smaller bass spinning reels or frog fishing in heavy cover, use monofilament or fluorocarbon. Got a specific combination of color and bass fishing line type that works really well? Leave us a note below in the comments!