A fishing sinker is a special type of tackle used to add weight to a line or lure. Anglers attach a sinker to draw bait down to depths where fish tend to congregate. Because the exact depth can vary by species, location and conditions, fishing enthusiasts often use a variety of sinkers to add different amounts of weight.The traditional fishing sinkers are made of lead. However, lead is harmful to an enormous variety of wildlife, and lead fishing sinkers and other lead tackle contribute significantly to the risk.
The shapes of traditional lead fishing sinkers are as follows:.
The split shot is a small ball of lead with a slit cut into one side. To use this type of sinker, simply wrap the slit in the ball around your line and clamp down on the metal to secure it to the line. Some split shots feature small handles on the opposite side of the opening, allowing them to be removed and reused. A clam shot is a variation of a split shot. It maintains a groove for holding line and is an oval shape, making it more snag resistant. Despite their popularity, split shots pose some serious health and environmental risks, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Loons and other wildlife often swallow abandoned split shots, then suffer illness or death due to the lead content. When large numbers of these sinkers are abandoned, they may increase the lead content in a body of water, which may eventually impact the drinking water for area residents.
The dipsy bell sinker features a bell-shaped design with a swiveling hook fastened to the top. These sinkers cast well in the wind, making them a favorite for shore anglers. The rounded profile of the sinkers also reduces its chance of snagging. For boat anglers, bell sinkers are often used on a three-way rig. This rig is designed to get baits deep without needing any extra equipment, like downriggers. The rig consists of a three-way swivel with one eye for the main line. The next loop holds a drop line with a bell sinker at its end. Finally, the last loop holds a leader and a lure or a live bait rig. The rig is effective when bounced along the bottom or lowered to a desired depth and trolled in open water.
Rubber Core Sinkers
Like a split shot, rubber grip sinkers feature grooves in their center to hold line. These oval, or football shaped, sinkers have a rubber core that has two tabs (also called ears) on each end of the sinker. The line is placed in the sinker's groove, and then the tabs are twisted in opposite directions, wrapping the line around the rubber core. When the tabs are twisted in reverse, the line is released.
These sinkers can quickly be added or removed and do not nick the line. They come in a range of sizes and weights. Some common applications include: using a small 1/8 ounce version for live bait offerings, or adding a large sinker when trolling long-lines to help baits run at greater depths. These sinkers have a range of applications and can be used in several fishing situations.
These sinkers are the bread and butter of many live-bait, walleye fisherman. They resemble a rectangle with rounded, outside edges. The top features an eye for the line. The sinker's bottom is slightly wider and larger in size than the top, holding more weight. The bottom is also slightly rounded and bent upwards. This weight distribution positions the sinker with its round edge on bottom, so it will easily glide over rocks, greatly reducing its changes of snagging on the bottom. The semi-flat design also prevents it from rolling along bottom in fast currents.
These sinkers are often used to drag live bait rigs along the bottom, and are sometimes called a live bait rig. To tie the rig, first thread the sinker on the line with the bottom bend pointing to the line's tag end. Next select a swivel large enough so it will not pass through the sinker's eye. Tie one end to your main line to the swivel. Then, you can add anything from a floating jig head, a plain hook, or a worm harness to complete the rig.
This rig is not only snag-resistant, but it also allows line to slide through its eye when a fish picks up the bait. This latter feature prevents a fish from feeling weight. Yet, when an angler keeps a tight line on the rig, the swivel will stop at the sinker's opening, allowing the leader's length to remain consistent and in the strike zone.
Before the walking sinker was born, the egg sinker was used in its place for live bait presentations and is still a favorite among catfish anglers. The egg-shape makes these sinkers fairly snag resistant and able to roll along the bottom. These sinkers slip on the line, which is threaded through a hole that runs lengthwise though the sinkers. The sinker can be used with a rig (like the walking sinker described above) and some anglers hold the sinkers in place using a split shot instead of a swivel. Once the fish takes the bait and becomes ensnared on the hook, the attached line slides through the sinker with little to no resistance. Because the fish is unable to feel the weight of the sinker, the angler has a better chance of reeling him in successfully.
This sinker also has a line eye which sits at its base, giving it an inverted pyramid profile when tied. These sinkers are often used in fast currents. Their streamline profile causes them to sink quickly, and their flat edges prevent them from being rolled along bottom in fast currents. When used in water bodies with sand- or mud-floors, the sinker will bury itself into the soft bottom. These two traits make it a staple piece of tackle for striper bass and surf fishing.
Bank or Reef Sinkers
These sinkers are like pyramid and egg sinkers in their usage on rigs, yet the sinker does not feature a brass loop to hold line, rather the sinker's top usually has a lead-molded eye. These tapered, egg-shaped sinkers feature hexagon sides instead of a smooth round surface. The flat sides of the sinker help prevent it from rolling in current and the tapered shape helps prevent it from snagging in rocks.
Cone Sinkers and Bullet Shots
Cone (also called bullet) sinkers follow the same premise as egg sinkers in that they are threaded onto the line, with the narrow point facing towards the rod. The cone-shape of these sinkers makes them ideal for gliding through weeds. These sliding sinkers can be used on a live bait rig to replace a walking sinker when used in weedy areas. A weedless hook will also greatly enhance the effectiveness of this weed-rig.
The above overview is just a small sampling of lead fishing sinkers. If you are interested in environment friendly fising sinkers, please try tungsten fising sinkers.
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