Sinkers – the ins and outs

Sinkers are designed to get bait down deep and to provide weight for casting. They are typically made of lead or other heavier alloys. Since lead has been found to be harmful to the environment many sinkers are now coming out made of metals such as brass, tin, steel and tungsten.

Below is a list of some common sinkers and a brief description of their uses:

  1. Bass, bass-casting, or dipsy sinker: A basic sinker used to hold on the bottom or as a weight in a float rig. Often made with eyes that allows easy snap-on attachment and removal.
  2. Bank sinker: Has an eye molded in place, used for holding on rocky bottoms.
  3. Egg sinker: Features a hole through the center of the egg for line to run. Useful when you want a fish to run with a bait without dragging the sinkers, as in carp fishing and surf fishing finder rigs. Also used as a general trolling sinker.
  4. Split shot: Pinches onto the line. Sometimes used in fly fishing to get nymphs, wet flies, or streamers down deep. Often used in multiples to distribute weight and control sink rate.
  5. Pyramid sinkers: Used primarily in surf fishing. Its three or four sides work into the sand and prevent the sinker from rolling or the baits from dragging. Some variations have longer bodies protruding wires for additional holding power.
  6. Torpedo sinker: Used in trolling, or for dragging lures or bait behind a boat. The line is tied to one eye of the sinker; the leader, to the eye on the other end of the torpedo. Some are equipped with a bead chain on each end to act as a swivel and help prevent a line twist.
  7. Keel sinker: Trolling sinker shaped like the keel of a sailboat to prevent line twist. The line is tied to one side; a long leader ending with a baited hook or lure; to the other. Some banana-shaped or crescent-shaped sinkers are variations of this style and work the same way to prevent line twist.
  8. Cannonball sinker: Shaped like a cannonball and used for deep fishing and drifting. Sometimes dragged along the bottom.
  9. Mushroom sinker: Shaped like an inverted mushroom to hold on a soft and slimy bottom.
  10. Dollar, or disc, sinker: Shaped like a thick coin, with an eye for tying to the line. These lie flat on the bottom when you are bait fishing.
  11. Grapnel sinker: Comes in many bottom-sinker shapes (often bank or pyramid), all with metal prongs on the side to help hold on a rough bottom.
  12. Triangle sinker: Shaped like an open triangle to hold on sandy bottoms when surf fishing.
  13. Longhorn sinker: Shaped like a Y with an eye in the top center, to prevent pulling or dragging on sandy bottoms. A surf fishing sinker.
  14. Pencil sinker: Used for drift fishing and often sold in coils. Pencils are cut to the length needed for the current and fishing situation, and slipped into a piece of surgical hose easily attached to the line with a snap.
  15. Bait walker: A long sinker molded onto a wire ending in an eye, and tied to the line to prevent snagging the bait when drift fishing.
  16. Worm weight: Tapered or cone-shaped weight with a hole through the center to thread onto the line ahead of a worm rig. Provides weight for casting, and helps get a worm deep.
  17. Clasp, clinch, or pinch-on weights: A long-taper sinker (like a cigar) with a lengthwise slot and a tab or ear at each end. The lines runs through the slot and often around the sinker a few times to prevent sliding; it is then clinched in place with the two ears.
  18. Rubber-grip sinker: Another long cigarlike tapered sinker, but with a core of firm rubber fitted into the center slot. The line is attached by placing it into the slot and then twisting the rubber tabs at each end to secure it.
  19. Diving sinker: Used on-line (or between the line and a long leader) and equipped with wings to help keep it down while trolling.

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