What Pound Test Should I Use For Saltwater Fishing

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A fishing line is what connects a road and reel to a hook and a bait. It is what you cast to catch and reel in fish. There are many dozen fishing line choices on the market. 

This makes it somewhat difficult for individuals to choose the best one among them. 

The best fishing line is that which has all the right characteristics. In this post, I will share with you some of the characteristics you need to consider when choosing a fishing line for saltwater fishing.

I will specifically focus on fishing line strength and touch on several other related fishing line characteristics.

What Is Line Strength?

400;”>Line strength aka fishing line strength is a measure of how strong a fishing line strength is.

In other words, it is a measure of the quantity of stress a line can handle before snapping.

Based on this definition, when you go fishing targeting a certain type of fish, you should make sure the fishing line you are carrying has the strength to handle the fish you are targeting especially if it is a big fish.

If your line does not have the right strength it will snap and you will come back from your fishing expedition empty-handed.

So fishing line strength is the quantity of stress a line can. The stress is measured in terms of pounds unit. The strength of a fishing line is typically indicated on its label. It is usually written something like a “10-lb test”. This is read as a 10-pound test. 

The best pound test strength for the fish species you are targeting should be roughly equal to the average weight of the species.

For example, experienced anglers use the 4-pound test strength lines to catch trout because trout averagely weighs 4 pounds.

For bigger fish like tuna, experienced anglers use higher pound test lines to catch them. In case you are wondering, the best fishing line strength for tuna is the 30-pound strength. 

Why You Need To Consider Fishing Line Strength

You need a fishing line strength that is roughly the weight of the fish you want to catch.

If the pound test strength for the fishing line you choose is lower than the weight of the fish you end up hook, the stress on the line will be too much and the line will break probably before you even attempt to reel in the fish.

And while a line with a significant pound test than the fish you end up catching won’t snap or break, it will be heavier and it will make fishing unnecessarily tiring and boring for you.

So to have maximum fun and to ensure your line does not break, choose a pound test that is roughly the same weight as the average weight of the fish species you hope to catch. 

What To Consider When Choosing Fishing Line Strength

The number one thing you need to consider when choosing a fishing line strength is the average weight/ size of the fish species you are targeting.

If the fish you are targeting has an average weight of less than 8 pounds, then an 8-pound test or 10-pound test line will be appropriate for landing it.

And if it has a larger average weight, then a larger pound test strength line will be more suitable. 

The second thing you need to consider is the aggressiveness of the fish you are targeting. If you are targeting an aggressive fish, you should get a line with a pound test strength of about 1.5X its weight.

For example, for a fast-swimming fish such as a Dorado (average weight of 30 pounds), you should get a 45-pound test line to increase your chances of hooking it up and landing it. 

The Best Pound Test Strength For Saltwater Fishing

As I mentioned in the section above, weight is the number one thing to consider when choosing fishing line strength.

Now I am sure you are well aware that not all saltwater fish have the same weight or size; some saltwater fish are small-sized, while others are bigger.

Small size saltwater fish can be handled by low-strength fishing lines, while big size saltwater fish require high-strength fishing lines.

Small-size saltwater fish include sea bass, flounder, and sea trout. They weigh about 8 to 10 pounds on average.

The best line pound test for catching them is the 12 to 14-pound test.

400;”>Red drums, blues, small tuna, and stripers are regarded as medium-size saltwater fish and they weigh between 12 and 20 pounds on average.

The best line pound test strength for landing them is anything between 20-25 lbs.

Big saltwater fish such as sharks, marlins, large kingfish, and large tuna weigh more than 30 pounds on average and hence require more than 30 + pound test fishing lines to catch.

Some saltwater fish can weigh as much as 100 pounds and, therefore, require similarly high pound test fishing lines to catch.

Everything Else You Need To Know About Fishing Line Strength

While the strength of a fishing line will largely determine whether you catch a certain type of fish or not, the experience is also a big determinant.

As I mentioned earlier, if you go fishing a big size fish with a low-strength line, the line will snap or break and you will go back home with nothing.

While this is true most of the time, it is not always the case, especially among experienced anglers.  

Because experienced anglers who are careful can easily land fish slightly heavier than their pound lines.

For example, an experienced trout angler can land a 10-pound trout utilizing an 8-pound line.

This is possible because such an individual will know how to enable the fish to travel periodically and how to use the drag setting to their advantage to avoid straining their fishing line and breaking it. 

In fact, the experience of landing a fish heavier than your pound test strength is one of the most satisfying experiences you can ever have as an angler! Probably the only more exciting experience is winning tournaments and competitions.

One more thing you need to know about fishing line strength is reel capacity. Reel capacity is the total length of a fishing line that a reel can hold.

Generally, reels store less of heavy pound lines and more of low pound fishing lines. For example, some fishing lines can hold up to 250 yards of 5-pound lines but only 150 yards of 10-pound lines.

So when choosing a fishing line strength, you should consider the reel capacity of your fishing rod. Avoid lines beyond your fishing rod’s reel capacity. 


For successful angling, you need to make sure your fishing line strength is more than the average size/ weight of the fish you are targeting. If it is less, your line will most likely break and you won’t land any fish.