Fishing and also lead sinkers have gone together for as lengthy as I can remember. In fact, ns officially old sufficient to psychic a time when finding good lead load sinkers to be a complicated deal. As a an extremely young angler, I occasionally used little metal nuts together weights since split shoot were difficult to come by. In my so late teens and also early 20s, mine father and also I spent hrs heating up lead and also poring the molten ingredient into forms that produced egg sinkers. These specialty sinkers were a crucial part of ours steelhead fishing earlier then. However, the potential health concerns related to dealing with lead play a duty in finishing that tradition.

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Lead egg sinkers. | GORD ELLIS

Lead is a famous toxin. On height of that, recurring research has displayed that lead shot and also sinkers can have one adverse impact on aquatic birds favor loons and also eagles. The accidental ingesting of lead sinkers and also shots by birds is possibly lethal. So for those the don’t desire to use lead—or have been legislated to do so—what are the alternatives? I’ve had actually the possibility to shot nearly all of them, through varying levels of success. Below are a couple of thoughts ~ above what is easily accessible and why castle might—or can not—work because that you.

Steel and Tin

In many ways, steel fishing weights have a most pluses. Steel is fairly heavy and also does not have actually the negative health effects of lead. Steel is also reasonably cheap as contrasted to several of the various other lead alternatives. Ago in 1995, a company called Bulletweights got ahead that the move from lead and introduced Ultra stole fishing sinkers. They easily gained a foothold many thanks to the bass sector that embraced the product early. The company also make walleye sinkers and also jigs that were fine received. Several various other companies have because followed suit. Stole is a great choice for any kind of sinker the does not should be crimped top top a line, so a slip sinker that has actually a pre-fabricated feet in the weights, or a dropper weight that you can tie turn off to. Steel does not work for separation shot or any kind of weight that requirements to be pinched. One more non-toxic alternative is tin. Believe is lighter than steel, but additionally softer. Tin makes an excellent split shot material as result of that relative softness. Both tin and also steel also make a pretty kind jig head, return they additionally tend to be on the bigger side as compared to lead. Tin tends to it is in shinier 보다 both lead and steel, which part anglers feeling is a drawback.


This product has become the most famous non-toxic, lead alternate for anglers around the world. Tungsten to compare favorably to lead as soon as it comes to relative weight and density. In fact, most tungsten weights are smaller and compact than lead weights the a comparable weight (this varies relying on manufacturer). In my experience, tungsten weights seem a bit much more brittle 보다 lead, and also this can mean separation shot the breaks when pinched. The purity of the tungsten product can be component of the problem, as it can be combined with other alloys, consisting of nickel. Tungsten is also more expensive 보다 lead, sometimes significantly so. In places where command weights space still legal to use, this has proven a dis-incentive come the consumer. Overall, tungsten is the best as whole lead replacement.


Bismuth is another non-toxic alternative that is often discovered in a shooting form. The shoot is sometimes put inside parachute cord and made into what is popularly called a “slinky.” This slinky is affixed come the key line v a little steel clasp and also swivel. This style of load is popular among fly anglers and steelhead fisherman who use the slinky to drift on the bottom. There are various other bismuth fishing weight products around, consisting of jigs, yet they it seems to be ~ to be in restricted availability, at the very least in Canada. Prefer tungsten, bismuth weights are an ext expensive than lead.


The use of brass is not unusual in the fishing world. Bass anglers have actually used brass weights for some time, together it is a loud metal, especially when coupled with brass rattles. Bass anglers use brass weights in Texas rigs, and allow multiple weights come bang right into each other. This sound is said to draw fish the end of the thick weeds. Brass is supplied for some jigs and also used for some bigger weights, such together bottom bouncers and also walking sinkers. However, the price of brass and its hardness provides it a negative lead instead of for any kind of product that needs to be crimped.


There have actually been a variety of different clay/pottery-based weights that have actually been marketed; greatly with restricted success. Ns remember being at a sport show a few years ago and listening come a very fervent pitch from someone that was offering homemade clay sinkers. Needless come say, they were of a much larger size than those make of command or tungsten. I could not check out drifting because that steelhead v marble-sized sinkers. Clay sinkers also have to be made with something come tie off to, as there is no crimping. Some clay weights room marketed together eco-friendly due to the fact that they will breakdown over time when shed on the bottom.

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Lead remains a huge part of the fishing industry and will for the foreseeable future. Yet knowledge is power, and also knowing over there are choices out there is not a bad thing.