The strongest fishing lines

What is the Strongest Fishing Line?

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

When you begin angling, you will realize that there are occasions when you need light lines and at other times, you need the strongest fishing line that you can afford. With so many different brands on the market and with each one claiming to be the strongest, it can be overwhelming to choose one. So, what is the strongest fishing line? Well, that title is a little contentious as there are different types of lines that you can buy each comes with its test strength.

Out of three most commonly used fishing lines – monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided – The braided fishing line is the strongest. You can easily purchase a braided fishing line with the test strength of 500lb while a majority of monofilament lines tend to have the maximum strength of 300lb. However, even then it can be difficult to ascertain which fishing line is the best for your fishing needs. That is why you need to check so many other factors to decide which line can be conferred the title of the strongest fishing line.

Braided fishing line is the strongest

Don’t Get Taken in By Labels

Most people look at labels carefully before they buy anything. So, why should anglers be any different? However, instead of believing everything you see on the labels of fishing lines, try to look beyond what the labels tell you. While it is illegal to advertise a false claim or information on a product’s packaging, it does not stop manufacturers from making tall claims.

If the label of the fishing line claims that the line’s test strength is 20lb, you can state in your product review that the line keeps breaking at 17lb and not 20lb. If you do this, the onus lies on the manufacturer to prove that the line actually can withstand pressure and load until 20lb.

Remember, manufacturers will not label the packaging just like that. But, most tests are conducted in a lab and the conditions are very different from what the line experiences in the real world. So, when a manufacturer tests the strength of a line, the test sample is carefully inspected to ensure that it is free from moisture as well as defects. In a lab, testing factors can be controlled to optimize them. Also, the lab will use a clamp to connect the line to the testing device. This is where the difference occurs. In the real world, you will be tying a knot and not using a clamp and you will not be able to control factors, like temperature and moisture.

So, if a line is tested in the real world for strength, the results would be very different. Hence, you should not blindly believe what the fishing line label says about the strength of the line. It is always better to opt for a line with the maximum strength and one that is ideal for the kind of fishing you want to do. That is when you will get the strongest fishing line for yourself.

Wet Breaking Strength

wet fishing line

When fishing lines are wet, they become weaker than what they were when dry. So, the fact that fishing line manufacturers test their lines under controlled dry conditions is something to be wary of.

It may come as a surprise to learn that the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) knows that the information on fishing line package labels is collected in a lab and hence, lines can have significantly different strengths when they are wet. That is the reason that competitors have to submit their fishing lines to IGFA before competitions so that the association can conduct its own tests to ascertain the line strength using real-world conditions.

For IGFA tests, the lines are wet when they are tested for strength. In some competitions, IGFA may also tie knots to the lines as knots are considered the weakest point of a fishing line. By testing under wet conditions, IGFA focuses on the wet breaking strength of fishing lines and it is this test that gives the correct picture and provides the right information about the strength of a fishing line.

Understanding Line Test and Line Class

Sometimes, in your search for the strongest fishing line, you may come across labels that state the class of the line. It can get confusing if you do not understand this designation. The good news is that line test and line class are two different ways to mention the strength of fishing lines.

If the label states line class, it means that the manufacturer tested the strength of the line using the parameters used by the IGFA. When you see line class, you should know that the line will snap once it is under the pressure mentioned. On the other hand, if the label mentions just line test, there is no guarantee that the fishing line will snap under the weight mentioned. In other words, the line could break before it reaches the weight or at the weight mentioned, or even above the weight stated on the packaging.

Different Lines Have Different Line Strengths

You already know that the most popular fishing lines are monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided fishing lines. Each type of line has a different wet breaking strength under the same line testing conditions.

Out of all the lines, monofilament lines have the lowest line strength. That is because this line tends to absorb water when you cast it and as a result, the line weakens and can easily snap under the weight of a fish. You may not know this but experts reckon that monofilament lines witness a decrease in strength by 20% to 30% when they are wet.

On the other hand, fluorocarbon and braided fishing lines do not absorb water. So, you may find that they have the same line strength when they are wet or dry.

However, you should not blindly choose a braided or fluorocarbon line just because you are looking for the strongest fishing line. It does not automatically mean that if a fishing line does not see a reduction in strength, it is a strong line. You should also look at the properties of braided and fluorocarbon fishing lines. You may find that these lines may not be as desirable for your fishing needs as a monofilament line.

It can be confusing to select the right fishing line for your rod if you are a beginner. The confusion can compound if you are shopping online as there is no one to advise you as to which fishing line strength is the right choice for the fish you want to catch and your fishing rod. If you choose a line that is not strong enough, it will snap and you will lose your line and the catch. On the other hand, if the line is too heavy, it will not be sensitive enough for you to feel the bite.

What is Fishing Line Strength?

Fishing line strength refers to the number of pounds of force you can exert on a line for it to break. This can sometimes be misleading as you can catch 10lb fish with a 6lb test line. However, understanding the fishing line strength is not that simple. A lot of science goes into understanding fishing line strength and a lot depends on the drag, the size and weight of the fish, and how you toy with the fish once it bites the bait. Ultimately, if you go to see, you will realize that it boils down to the fishing technique and how you handle the fish if it decides to fight.

Fishing line strength is stated as pound test or lb test on the packaging. The reason for using pound is the pressure required to break the line. For instance, if a fishing line comes with a pound test rate of 4lb, it will snap if you hook a fish of 4lb or more. Keeping this in mind, the higher the pound test rating of a line, the more pressure it will need to snap.

It is prudent to remember that catching a fish is not that easy. Once it takes the bait and realizes it has been hooked, the fish will try and bolt while you are reeling the line. The thrashing tends to tire out the fish and you will have a moment of peace when you do not have to fight the fish. You may feel that the fish has given up when suddenly it starts thrashing again. It is during this period that most lines break and snap. And, that is when you need to focus on drag.

Understanding the Importance of Drag

strongest fishing line

Most new reel models come with automatic drag prevention – the moment pressure or force is exerted on the line, the reel will automatically release the line to handle the pressure and force better so that the fishing line does not get damaged.

If you check your fishing reel, you will see that the drag button is located on the top of the reel. You can turn it clockwise to tighten the drag on the fishing line and counter-clockwise to decrease the drag.

If you reduce the drag on the fishing line, it will not be subject to more pressure. Anglers usually do this when they catch a bigger fish that is a fighter. So, if you happen to catch a fish that weighs more than the fishing line’s pound test, you will be able to handle the fish better and increase the likelihood of reel it in without a problem. It also reduces the chances of breaking the line.

Types of Fishing Line and Their Line Strengths

While there are many different kinds of fishing lines on the market, the three most commonly used are monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided lines. Each type of line has its own strength and you should be aware of it.

Braided Fishing Line

Several strands of lines are braided to form a single braided line. That means the fishing line is stronger compared to mono and fluoro lines. You will find that most braided lines come with a high pound test rate, making them the perfect choice for anglers who want to reel in heavy fish. Braided lines are highly sensitive and come with a thin diameter. So, you can wrap more line on your reel and that gives you a longer casting distance.

See the best braided fishing lines here

Monofilament Fishing Line

As the name suggests, it comprises a single nylon strand. This line is affordable compared to fluorocarbon and braided lines. It has great stretch and knot-holding ability. However, it absorbs water and that increases the pressure on the line. That can cause the line to snap if you catch a fish that weighs more than the pound test of the line. It is also invisible in the water and comes with a low sink rate. You will be able to find a monofilament in a range of colors. So, you can choose the color based on where and what time you are fishing.

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

This line is made using organic compounds like fluorine, carbon, and chlorine as well as hydrocarbons. A fluorocarbon line is also a single strand line but it is heavier and denser than a monofilament line. Hence, it sinks faster and tends to be more visible in the water. The good news is that it does not absorb water and as a result, the line does not get heavy when you are fishing. So, you do not have to worry about the line snapping and breaking if you catch a fighter. If you are an occasional angler, a fluorocarbon line could be too much for you but if you are looking to catch a fish of a lifetime, this line is what you should go in for.

Fishing Line Strength Charts

Now that you know more about pound test and the different fishing lines, here is a look at the fishing line strength chart. It will give you a clearer picture of the strength of different types of fishing lines and that will help you select lines that are right for you.

Fishing Line Diameter Strength Chart

Line Monofilament DiameterFlurocarbon DiameterBraided Line Diameter
2lb0.005inN/AN/A
4lb0.008in0.007inN/A
6lb0.009in0.0090.005in
8lb0.010in0.010in0.007in
10lb0.011in0.011in0.008in
12lb0.013in0.012inN/A
14lb0.014in0.013in0.009in
17lb0.015in0.015inN/A
20lb0.016in0.016in0.010in
30lb0.020in0.020in0.012in
40lb0.024in0.022in0.013in
50lb0.028in0.029in0.014in
60lb0.030in0.032in0.015in

Here is a look at the most common fish species that people catch using fishing lines of varying strengths.

Fishing Line Strength Chart

Fishing Line Test (lb)Fish Species
2lb to 4lbPanfish, smallmouth bass, trout, and bluegill
6lb to 12lbLargemouth bass, smaller salmon, walleye, and catfish
14lb to 20lbCarp, musky, pike, catfish, and stripers
8lb to 14lbSea bass, sea trout, and flounder
16lb to 25 lbRedfish, salmon, and stripers
30lb and higherShark, tuna, marlin, and other large sea fish

Strength Chart – The Bottom Line

To ensure you enjoy optimal line casting, retrieval, and handling a fighting fish, it is important you check out a fishing line strength chart and stay within the line strength range. Your choice of line strength will also depend on the kind of fishing rod you have. For instance, for heavy fishing line strength, you will need a heavy rod and lure weight. So, while selecting a fishing line with the right pound test rating, it is always better to go with a higher rating so that you do not have to worry about the line breaking and you will learn to play with the drag when the fish surges. Practicing this will make you perfect!

How to Choose the Strongest Fishing Line

If you want to know what is the strongest fishing line, you need to consider many different factors that can affect the strength of a line. Some of these are as follows:

  • Knot Strength: As stated earlier, a knot is the weakest point in a fishing line. Knots have the potent to reduce the strength of a line by 1/3rd at the point where the knot is located. Hence, when you are looking for the strongest fishing line, you should also focus on your ability to tie different kinds of knots. If you select the right knot, it will reduce the effect of the knot on the strength of the line.
  • Resistance to Shock: When you go fishing and the fish bites the bait, it will exert a lot of force on the line. This is especially true if you are fishing in strong currents. When that happens, the line can snap if it cannot withstand this force. Hence, if you are looking for a line that is strong and can resist the shock it experiences, you should select a line with a higher line test rating.
  • The Kind of Fish You Want to Catch: When you go fishing, you will have an aim to catch a specific species. Hence, make sure that the line test rating is higher than the weight of the species that you want to catch. Also, if the species is aggressive and you know that it will fight when you are reeling it in, it is advisable to select a line that is has a much higher line test.

When you are selecting a fishing line and want to ensure that it is strong, choose a line that has at least a 50% higher line test rating compared to the average weight of the fish you want to catch. For instance, if the fish you want to catch is 20lb, your fishing line should have a line test rating of at least 30lb. When you do this, you can rest assured knowing that the line strength will be high enough to overcome the factors that have an adverse effect on the line strength.

At the same time, you need to be careful that you do not end up with a line that is too strong. Why? The answer is simpler than you think. Should this line get snagged and you are unable to free it, you will have to cut it. That means you will waste the line that you cut off and it is a loss for you.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, now you know what is the strongest fishing line. Do not let labels fool you. Rather, select a fishing line based on your fishing technique and the fish species you want to catch. That way, you will always have the strongest line.