Choosing line for Bass Part 2

Choosing line for Bass Part 2


In this installment on line selection, I’m going to talk about the next techniques, crankbaits and jerkbaits.  My previous installment covering the different lines types and selections for topwaters can be found here  

Starting with crankbaits today we are including all lipped and non lipped baits and breaking them up in the 4 categories so I can include line size selections.  We’ll call those categories shallow (0-6ft) mid range (6-10ft) deep (12-16ft) and magnums (those that get 20+). 

Starting with shallow crankbaits, I will include lipless style baits in this category since this his the depth most lipless crankbaits are fished.  This is one area where I would use monofilament quite a bit including lipless unless we are fishing vegetation which I will expound on in a second.  In shallow water I’m typically fishing a wake bait, square bill or short round bill bait all of which buoyancy is a plus.  With mono being a buoyant line that can be an advantage, especially in heavy cover situation where I need help with the bait bouncing or backing up.  Another is mono’s stretch helps with a little extra give to keep baits from tearing out around heavy cover.  Bank fisherpersons for sure need to error on the side of mono in my opinion since the bait is still diving as you are retrieving into the bank.  I just think mono will handle that situation better.  Now, if I need my baits to get to the lower end of this range (6 feet or so) or if I’m snapping lipless crankbaits out of vegetation, then I’m opting for fluorocarbon again.  The smaller diameter and built in sink of the line will aid in keeping baits down, plus less stretch means I get a better snap to keep baits clean.  Day in and day out shallow cranking I’m using 15 pound test unless again I want to get down a little deeper then I go with 12.  If I’m using a small bait like a 0.5 square bill or little flat side balsa then I may actually go down to 10.  On the flip side ripping crankbaits and lipless out of grass I tend towards 17 to 20 pound test.

Mid range crankbaits I’m going to throw them on 12 pound fluorocarbon 99% of the time.  The exception would be if I’m grinding bottom and need the bait to not dig to it’s max I might lean towards mono.  And certainly mono will work here because we aren’t talking about that much surface drag on the line that is going to effect the baits depth and action.  But I’m convinced baits are livelier on fluorocarbon and I certainly like the abrasion resistance fluorocarbon has. 

Deep crankbaits are where I’m pretty hard core fluorocarbon for a couple reasons.  One, I need my baits to max depth now which is going to towards that 16 plus or minus 2 feet range.  Fluorocarbon just helps baits perform at their max.  I also am getting in to the area where visibility can be an issue so I want a transparent line.  And I need that added abrasion resistance because I’m fishing some kind of cover with a crankbait whether it’s shell, brush piles or root systems.  One word of caution with deep crankbaits is to retie often.  That first inch of line above the tie on the bait takes a lot of abuse and we typically put a lot into a cast on these baits.  That hard snap cast will send baits flying into the unknown!

For my magnum crankbaits (I’m talking 10XD size) I come back up to 15 to 20 pound test line.  I can still get the depth I want out of these with the added protection in heavy cover.  I throw these in trees a lot and even though I really don’t hang that much I don’t trust 12 pound test.  These are heavy baits and larger line just handles them better with less breaks.  Plus you are using a large rod, usually around 8 foot that are rated for a higher pound tests. 

Lastly, for jerkbaits I’m again going fluorocarbon 99% of the time.  The exception is floaters which I fish quite a bit in the post spawn period, then I like mono so the bait stays buoyant and higher in the water column.  But day in day out I’m using 10 or 12 pound test depending on the cover and depth I want to fish.  I like 10 the best as I feel my baits perform better there especially in clear water but 12 will work.  In gin clear water on deep lakes you probably need to go to 8 pound test.  Don’t be scared of that lighter line even around cover, I’ve caught some really big fish on Lake Fork on a jerkbait on 10 pound test line.  You just have to be patient during the fight and use the boat to steer fish away from cover. 

In the next installment, we will start look at a couple more technique categories spinnerbaits and swimjigs.

Hey, please comment below or drop me a comment in my email at if you have questions or suggestions.  I would love to hear from you!  You can even reach me via text at 903-975-4909.

Brant King

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