Fishing and also lead sinkers have gone with each other for as long as I have the right to remember. In fact, i’m officially old enough to mental a time as soon as finding good lead weight sinkers to be a complicated deal. Together a very young angler, I occasionally used small metal nuts as weights since split shoot were difficult to come by. In my late teens and also early 20s, my father and also I spent hrs heating up lead and also poring the molten stuff into creates that developed egg sinkers. This specialty sinkers to be a key part of ours steelhead fishing earlier then. However, the potential health concerns related to handling lead played a duty in finishing that tradition.

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Lead egg sinkers. | GORD ELLIS

Lead is a popular toxin. On optimal of that, continuous research has presented that command shot and also sinkers deserve to have one adverse affect on aquatic birds favor loons and eagles. The inadvertently ingesting of command sinkers and shots by birds is perhaps lethal. So for those that don’t desire to use lead—or have actually been legislated to perform so—what room the alternatives? I’ve had actually the chance to shot nearly all of them, with varying degrees of success. Right here are a couple of thoughts on what is obtainable and why they might—or can not—work because that you.

Steel and also Tin

In many ways, steel fishing weights have a lot of pluses. Stole is relatively heavy and also does not have actually the an adverse health impacts of lead. Steel is also fairly cheap as contrasted to some of the various other lead alternatives. Ago in 1995, a agency called Bulletweights obtained ahead that the relocate from lead and also introduced Ultra stole fishing sinkers. They quickly gained a foothold many thanks to the bass industry that taken on the product early. The company also made walleye sinkers and jigs the were fine received. Several various other companies have due to the fact that followed suit. Steel is a good choice for any sinker the does not have to be crimped top top a line, for this reason a on slide sinker that has a pre-fabricated hole in the weights, or a dropper weight the you can tie off to. Steel does not work-related for separation shot or any kind of weight that needs to be pinched. An additional non-toxic choice is tin. Believe is lighter 보다 steel, but likewise softer. Believe makes great split shooting material as result of that relative softness. Both tin and also steel likewise make a pretty kind jig head, although they also tend to be on the bigger side as compared to lead. Tin tends to be shinier than both lead and steel, which some anglers feel is a drawback.


This product has come to be the most well-known non-toxic, lead alternative for anglers about the world. Tungsten compares favorably come lead when it involves relative weight and density. In fact, many tungsten weights space smaller and also compact than lead weights of a comparable weight (this varies relying on manufacturer). In my experience, tungsten weights it seems to be ~ a bit much more brittle 보다 lead, and this can mean separation shot the breaks as soon as pinched. The purity of the tungsten product deserve to be part of the problem, as it can be combined with various other alloys, consisting of nickel. Tungsten is also much more expensive 보다 lead, sometimes drastically so. In locations where command weights space still legal come use, this has proven a dis-incentive to the consumer. Overall, tungsten is the best overall lead replacement.


Bismuth is an additional non-toxic different that is often discovered in a shoot form. The shot is occasionally put within parachute cord and made right into what is popularly dubbed a “slinky.” This slinky is affixed come the main line through a little steel clasp and also swivel. This layout of load is popular among fly anglers and also steelhead fisherman who usage the slinky come drift ~ above the bottom. There are various other bismuth fishing weight commodities around, consisting of jigs, however they seem to it is in in minimal availability, at the very least in Canada. Like tungsten, bismuth weights are much more expensive 보다 lead.


The usage of brass is not uncommon in the fishing world. Base anglers have used brass weights for some time, as it is a according to metal, especially when coupled with brass rattles. Bass anglers usage brass weights in Texas rigs, and permit multiple weights to bang right into each other. This sound is stated to attract fish the end of the thick weeds. Brass is offered for some jigs and likewise used because that some bigger weights, such as bottom bouncers and also walking sinkers. However, the expense of brass and its hardness makes it a poor lead substitute for any product that demands to it is in crimped.


There have been a selection of different clay/pottery-based weights that have been marketed; mainly with minimal success. I remember being at a sport show a few years back and listening to a an extremely fervent key from someone who was marketing homemade clay sinkers. Needless come say, they were of a much bigger size 보다 those made of command or tungsten. I could not see drifting because that steelhead through marble-sized sinkers. Clay sinkers also have to be made v something to tie turn off to, as there is no crimping. Part clay weights space marketed together eco-friendly due to the fact that they will breakdown over time when lost on the bottom.

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Lead remains a huge component of the fishing industry and also will because that the foreseeable future. Yet understanding is power, and knowing over there are choices out over there is no a bad thing.