Weights, or sinkers are needed to get your bait, lures, flies, or plugs deep enough to get to the fish. Without weights, you may be fishing too shallow or with too much weight, you will be too deep. It is important to locate the depth of your targeted fish and get there.
Most weights are made of lead. Lead can be toxic to living creatures. Studies are still ongoing as to how and in what form. Government agencies are working to make lead illegal. Other materials like tin, Tungsten, Bismuth, Zinc, Stainless Steel, or reusable putty that hardens when it contacts the water. Their sink rates are different than lead and need to be compensated for. Using the wrong outlawed weight could sink your fishing plans.
Adding weight can be done in several ways. You can weight he flies or lures, add weight above the rigs, on the line, or use weights as a dropper to go below your rigs. Each allows for a different presentation. You can also use planers to guide your rigs to a certain depth.
Halibut fishing in Alaska requires heavy cannonballs to go deep. These fish are bottom dwellers so that’s where you need to be. The tide and currents impact how much weight you will need. A fast running tide means more weight. Our Halibut rigs were a minimum of 16 ounces of lead. We also used 7 oz. baited jig heads to get down to business. When fishing in 100 foot of water, heavy cranking was needed to bring up the rigs.
Lead has always been a cheap, natural, and simple solution. It can be made soft so you can twist it on, wrap it onto flies and lures, or shape it into split shot, eggs, leaves, bullets, walkers, coins, pyramids, banks, snag less, cones, rubber cores, keels, sliders, in lines, wrappers, pinchers, reusables, cylinders, or snap on dipsy sinkers. Each has a special use and application. Some lures and jigs are also made of lead molded onto a hook.
In 1994, lead sinkers were banned in Yellowstone Park. The most common substitute is tin. It can be used in tying flies and, though not as dense, can be a reasonable option. Evidence that waterfowl were dying from lead poisoning was the reason. Ingesting small lead weights can be toxic. This “Test Ban” is still the law. Lead pipes and paint are also regulated, or outlawed.
Lead substitutes must be cheap, malleable, and be non-toxic. Tin was settled on by anglers from England. These same lead substitutes may also replace traditional shotgun pellets. Large sinkers, too big for birds to eat, do not seem to be a concern.
Making your own lead lures, jigs, and sinkers is easy to do at home. Making a mold, melting tire weights, and manufacturing them is relatively easy. This practice might make fishermen become Moonshiners, that make their fishing weights by the light of the moon.
It’s a heavy choice!
For more Montana Grant, find him weighting at www.montanagrantfishing.com.