Topwater Line | What Type, Pound Test and Why

When it comes to topwater fishing, anglers are divided on the best line to use.

The most common choices are monofilament and braid with combining the two as another option.

Fluorocarbon, with its sinking properties, is out of the question for surface baits, but there are still many decisions to make when selecting the right line.

FLW Tour pros Matt Arey and Scott Canterbury weigh in on what line they spool up when fishing on top.

“I’ve experimented with it all; straight braid, straight mono and also braid with a mono leader. What I have learned is that it is highly situational,” begins Canterbury.  Depending on the type of topwater he is using as well as the cover present, he changes his line choice to fit the needs of that specific situation.

Line Selection for Frogs

Fishing topwater frogs in heavy cover is always best with braid if you want to land the fish. The decision to make is what type of braid and what pound test.

“I like the P-Line TCB 8 in 40 or 50-pound is my go-to. It is light enough to still get really long casts. The only time I will go up to 65 pound is late in the summer or in early fall when the grass is really thick,” says Canterbury. “That or if I am fishing around really big fish on somewhere like Guntersville or Lake Seminole.”

Arey agrees with the line choice and says 50-pound is what he spools up most. “Fishing a frog is one of the only times where I only use braid,” he says.

Line Selection  for Walking Baits

When it comes to walking topwater baits, both monofilament and braid will work. “I use 15-pound PF Original for a lot of my topwater baits. It won’t break and still casts very well,” says Arey. “I also like that it has very little memory and still has a little bit of stretch. I think that is important anytime you are fishing lures with treble hooks so you don’t rip the hooks out of the mouth of a fish.”

Canterbury also likes monofilament in most situations but opts for P-Line CXX. “That is what I use the majority of the time, but if I am fishing a walking bait over heavy grass I will use a 40-pound braid instead,” he says.

Line Selection for Poppers

Depending on the size of the popper used and the cover they are fishing it around, these pros mentioned everything from 12- to 20-pound test. Like with their walking baits, Arey likes the PF Original, while Canterbury prefers the CXX.

“If I am fishing down bare banks without much cover I will go as light as 12-pound, but generally it is going to be 15-pound. The only time I will go up to 17- or 20-pound is if I am making short casts under overhanging cover with a big popper,” shares Canterbury.

Arey, on the other hand, keeps it pretty simple. “I like 12-pound for the small poppers and 15-pound for the larger ones,” he says.

Line Selection for Buzzbaits

Buzzbaits are another topwater bait that is situational on line selection according to Arey and Canterbury.

“If I am fishing around grass, I like the 50-pound TCB 8 braid. It cuts through the grass and casts really well because it has a smooth Teflon coating,” he says. If he is making short casts to cover, mono is the way to go. “For close quarters I like 15 or 20-pound PF Original.”

Canterbury prefers straight braid all the time when fishing a buzzbait. “I use the same braid I will use for frogs, 40- or 50-pound TCB 8,” he says.

Line Selection for Prop Baits

These topwater baits require extra thought because straight braid will often wrap around the front propeller of the bait causing an angler headaches all day. “You want braid a lot of times because you are often fishing it over grass, so I will use braid with a very short leader of mono. I use micro guides on my rods so my leader knot can never go through the guides so I need to use a 12- to 16-inch leader of 17- or 20-pound mono tied to 30- or 40-pound braid,” says Canterbury.

Line Selection for Whopper Ploppers

The hefty Whopper Plopper is a favorite among weekend anglers and pros alike. Arey likes to fish it on the same line he uses for frogs, “I like to use 50-pound. It has the raw strength you need to cast these big baits and also get big fish to the boat.”

Horny Toads and other Buzzing Frogs

Since these baits are often fished over grass, braid is the way to go for Arey. “I use 50-pound TCB 8 because it casts the bait really well and you are almost always fishing these around heavy vegetation,” he says.

There are many different opinions on the question of which line is best for topwater fishing. Both Arey and Canterbury have their own preferences based on years of fishing surface baits and both can agree that it comes down to having the right line where you are fishing and what bait you are using.

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