2lb vs 4lb vs 6lb — What’s The Best Ultralight Fishing Line?

By Joshua / August 24, 2016

When it comes to ultralight fishing lines, you’ve really got 3 choices.  Now, there is some debate as to what actually qualifies a line as ultralight, which we’re not really here to settle today.  What we will say, though, is that if you’re catching a fish that weighs more than the line you’re using, you can generally consider yourself an ultralight angler.

With that being said, for the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus specifically on ultralight rods, ultralight reels, and 3 different types of lines: 2lb, 4lb, and 6lb test.

In most circles, these are considered ultralight, and anglers use them to either get in front of really spooky fish, when they’re fishing in clear water, or times when they want to give the fish a fighting chance.

Nothing, to me, is more exciting than reeling in a 6lb fish when you’re using 2lb or 4lb test and an ultralight reel.

2lb Test Lines

2lb test is considered “true” ultralight fishing line by most purists.  I don’t necessarily agree with them, and when times are tough, you really need the thinnest line you can get your hands on.  This is especially true when you’re fishing for skittish trout and in ultra clear water.

2lb test lines require you to really be on top of your game, and check your line after every cast.  Any nick, cut, or gouge in the line can cause you to break off a fish at the worst possible time.

Your drag is the same way.  If you have your drag set at 2 ½ pounds, and you’re using 2lb line, the fish is going to break you off.  And telling the difference between 1lb of drag, and 2lbs of drag is pretty hard to do.

4lb Test Lines

When it comes to my tacklebox, I usually stock 4lb test as my ultimate choice for ultralight lines.  It gives you the same thrill (close) that you get when you’re fishing with 2lb test, but gives you a much larger margin of error in case you have small nicks in the line, or your drag is set too tight.

Most ultralight reels will hold at least 120 yards of 4lb test, making it an excellent choice if you like to cut your line and switch lures a lot.  It’s also great for fishing in bigger bodies of water where the fish have a chance to take off and run with your lure.

6lb Test Lines

Most people would argue that 6lb test isn’t exactly an ultralight line, but I’d say it really depends on what you’re trying to catch.  If you’re catching a 10lb trout on 6lb line, and doing it in a rocky riverbed, I’d consider you to be “ultralight fishing”.

Of the 3 we’ve mentioned here, 6lb test lines give you the greatest margin of error, and do not require nearly as much attention to detail as 2lb and 4lb lines.  You can also get away with fishing in slightly heavier cover than you would with the previous two weights.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you start fishing in the logs, or thick weeds with 6lb test, but you don’t have to worry nearly as much if you do happen to end up in those areas and you hook into a decent sized fish.

What’s The Best Ultralight Fishing Line?

UntitledRegardless which thickness or lb test line I’m using, there’s one brand and model line I rely on more than any others.  That’s Bass Pro Shops Tourney Tough line of monofilament fishing lines.

I’ve tested a lot throughout the years, and Tourney Tough is among the thinnest, while also providing great sensitivity, cut abrasion, and minimal visibility under the water.

It’s available in all 3 — 2lb, 4lb, and 6lb test — along with both clear and green colors.  I recommend clear for clear water, and green for stained water.  The thinner profile lets it easily disappear so you don’t have to worry about it being too visible when the fish are easily spooked.

The debate rages on… what are your thoughts?

You’ve heard where I stand, and the line I use.  What about you?

What’s your preferred line weight, and brand?

I’d love to know!  Tell me by leaving a comment below, along with why you think it’s the best!

About the author

Joshua

What's up guys and gals? Glad to have you here with us. I'm Joshua, the founder of the Get Kids Fishing blog! Our goal is to help you catch more fish, and get more kids interested in the sport so they'll pass it onto future generations. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or get in touch with us using our contact page! Tight lines!

1 comment
Jim sullivan - May 8, 2017

I fish alot with 2lb. Test on a 4 1/2 ft. Ultralight rod with an old french reel . I use SOS line exclusively. I don’t really have much trouble with broken line, but I’ll caution you that your knots need to be better on two pound test. I wrap myknot at the hook, at least 9 times, then go back thru the loop.
I think very few people let a fish tire himself out with a very light drag setting. By the time I land a 20inch brown trout, he’s tuckered out. I think that’s the biggest mistake in ultralight fishing. Patience ! After all, when you land him, the fun’s over !

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