Why Pound-Test For Fishing Line Is Important?


Many anglers, especially those who are getting started with fishing, are usually not sure what to get when they go shopping for fishing lines. If you have checked the fishing line package before, you have probably noticed the pound test fishing line specification.

To most people, the lbs test specification is confusing. In this article, we will be telling you everything you need to know about the pound test fishing line specification, as it applies to the different types of fishing lines in the market.

Understanding the Breaking Strength

Simply defined, the breaking strength refers to the amount of pressure that needs to be applied to an unknotted fishing line before it gives in and breaks. The pound test fishing line specification generally indicates this breaking strength. In the United States, the customary designation for the breaking strength is the pounds. Fishing lines do feature a secondary designation, in terms of metric kilograms.

To give you an example, a monofilament fishing line featuring a 12 lbs test designation will have a secondary designation of 5.4 kilograms. When converted to pounds, the 5.4 kilograms will be equal to 12 pounds.

It is worth noting that some fishing lines do feature diameter, in millimeters and inches, labeling. This can be important. However, most of the anglers who catch bass and other fish species in North America do ignore the line diameter.

The US anglers who visit fly fishing destinations regularly are, however, forced to consider the line diameter due to their use of the tippets and fine leaders. In Europe, most anglers consider the line diameter to be a primary designation of interest. To have the ability to compare different fishing lines, you must understand both the pound test fishing line specification (breaking strength) and the diameter.

Braided fishing lines feature an equivalent monofilament diameter, usually stated in pounds. For example, a braided line featuring a 20 lbs test may feature a .009-inch diameter. Its label will also state that this is the same as the diameter of a 6 lbs test monofilament line.

It is not uncommon for some braids to not mention the actual diameter. Some may simply indicate the equivalent nylon monofilament line.

Most fishing line manufacturers assume that because the monofilament line has been around for decades, most anglers are familiar with the fishing line. This is the main reason the manufacturers include the nylon monofilament information on the labels.

Since the microfilament fishing lines are newer, most anglers are not too familiar with the lines. The equivalence information allows the anglers to relate the microfilament fishing line to the more common monofilament lines.

Wet Breaking Strength Matters More Than the Dry Breaking Strength

The actual strength is determined by the amount of force it takes to break a fishing line when it is wet. How a line breaks in its dry state is generally irrelevant considering that no one uses their fishing rod and reel to fish on dry land. The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) tests each line they receive when it is wet.

Good labeling should indicate the pound test fishing line specification for when the fishing line is wet, not dry. Unfortunately, a large number of manufacturers rarely do include this lbs test specification. Also, it is uncommon to find a package explaining whether the pound test fishing line specification available on the package is for when the line is wet or dry.

Test and Class Lines – What Are They?


There are 2 main breaking strength categories. The categories are:

  • Test
  • Class

The class fishing lines are guaranteed to break under or at the metric strength available on its label, in a wet condition. The class lines conform to the IGFA metric-based world specifications. These types of lines are generally labeled IGFA-class or simply class.

Any line that is not labeled as a class line is generally a test line. While some of the manufacturers may put the word test on the label, most of the manufacturers do not.

Despite the indicated pound test fishing line specification, there is usually no guarantee as to the force which may end up breaking a test line, in either dry or wet condition. The indicated strength may not be the actual force needed to break the fishing line once you cast your spinning rod.

This tells you that the line may break over, at, or under the indicated lbs test specification. Most of the test lines generally break above the indicated strength.

Despite the pound test fishing line specification on the monofilament lines, most of them will experience significant strength loss once they are under the water. If you invest in a lower quality monofilament line, the line is likely to experience a 20 to 30% strength loss once it is wet.

Since microfilament and braided fishing lines do not absorb water, their strength when wet may be the same as when they are dry. Similarly, since the fluorocarbon fishing lines do not absorb water, their strength does not change when they get wet. It is, however, worth noting that fluorocarbon, microfilament, and braided fishing lines can also be subject to mislabeling.

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Understanding the importance of the pound test fishing line specification can help you make the right decision when purchasing a fishing line. The lbs test indicates the breaking strength. This tells you that fishing lines featuring a higher lbs test value may be able to withstand a bigger force.

It is worth noting that the pound test fishing line specifications are not always correct. It’s not uncommon for fishing lines to break under or above the lbs test value.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!