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Angler’s Guide to Fishing Sinkers

Angler’s Guide to Fishing Sinkers

Angler’s Guide to Fishing Sinkers

Sinkers are an essential in every angler’s tackle box, but why are they so necessary? Today, we’re bringing you a guide to help you determine when to use a sinker and what type is best. If you choose the wrong one, your chances of catching that smallmouth bass or catfish might just sink along with it…

What Are Sinkers?

Sinkers, or fishing weights, attach to an angler’s lure to help the bait reach the desired depth in the water. Typically made of lead, sinkers can range in weight from a gram to several pounds depending on the water’s depth. 

While most anglers agree that the terms sinker and weight are interchangeable, some believe that sinker is a term reserved for live bait, while weight is used with artificial lures. Either way, weights and sinkers are essential to many anglers’ pursuits and serve more purposes than meet the eye!

Why Use a Sinker?

The primary use of sinkers is simple: to weigh the bait or lure down far enough into the water to reach the fish you crave. In deep water especially, fish may be lurking significantly deeper than your light lure can sink. Adding a sinker of your desired weight can help you control exactly how deep your bait will float, capturing any fish in its sight. 

Some anglers may be unaware of the other ways in which these little chunks of metal can be useful. Sinkers can help anchor bait in one place, move bait along currents at a particular speed, and navigate through rough obstacles at the bottom of the water. 

Types of Sinkers and Their Purpose

One of the biggest considerations when choosing a sinker is its weight. You’ll want to make sure it’s just heavy enough to reach your desired depth without sinking to the bottom. The consensus is to choose the lightest possible weight that will reach the fish you aim to catch. Sinkers that are too heavy can ruin your fishing prospects and may even damage your line. Here’s a quick video detailing how to select your sinker weight. 

There are other differences in fishing weights that may influence your decision. To help you out, we have compiled a list of the most common types of fishing weights and when to use them. 

Split Shot Sinker

Split shot sinkers are arguably the most versatile and widely used fishing weights out there. Their rounded design with a groove running through the middle allows anglers to simply pinch the weight into place on their line. This makes them perfect for situations when you need to add just a bit more weight to your lure and you can easily remove them if they’re not working out. 

Split shot sinkers come in a range of sizes and can be used at almost any depth of water, but anglers tend to prefer these for shallow endeavors. Because they’re so light and easy to use, split shots are perfect for young or beginner anglers, but can also be used for sophisticated techniques like weighting bait to control its movement down a stream or current. 

Bell Sinkers

Bell sinkers are shaped like… you guessed it…a bell! These are tapered at the top and have a metal loop or ring to attach them to your line. Some bell sinkers have snaps that allow anglers to take the sinker on and off at ease. 

Sometimes called casting sinkers, these weights are known to be great for casting long distances and casting in the wind. This makes them very popular amongst shore anglers. Bell sinkers can also be great assets from a boat, though, particularly when used on a 3-way rig

Rubber-Core Sinkers

Rubber-core sinkers are similar to split shot sinkers in that they have a groove for easy attachment to the line. However, these weights are oval-shaped like a football with rubber tabs on each end to hold them in place. 

Rubber-core sinkers are often used when anglers need something heavier than a split shot because rubber-core weights are able to sink a lure fairly deep. The drawback to these sinkers is they can sometimes cause monofilament line twist and can jam into rocks or obstacles easily.  

Barrell Sinker (Egg Sinker)

Barrell sinkers are egg-shaped weights that slip onto the line almost like a bead. These weights are a favorite amongst deep water anglers and anglers who fish in rocky waters. The egg-shaped exterior helps the sinker glide over obstacles without getting snagged or caught in mud and rubble. These sinkers are used by a variety of anglers but are especially popular amongst catfish and bass fishermen. 

Pyramid Sinker

Pyramid sinkers are triangular weights that attach to your line through a loop, similar to the bell sinker. The unique pyramid shape allows these weights to sink into soft surfaces including sand or mud which is perfect for bottom fishing. This makes pyramid sinkers ideal for waters with fast currents in order to keep the bait stabilized in one spot. Surf fishermen love pyramid sinkers for these reasons!

Pyramid sinkers are also able to sink to the bottom quickly, which causes some anglers to choose them over split shots. In this case, the weight serves to both pull the bait deeper and anchor it in place. 


Should I Wear Performance Fishing Apparel? 

Yes! People often forget about the importance of wearing performance fishing shirts when you plan to spend hours on the water in the heat, rain, or cold. The fishing apparel you choose ultimately affects your performance and health. Long sleeve fishing shirts should have UV protection, moisture-wicking, anti-odor, quick-dry, and ventilated features. You should also have fishing shorts with multiple deep pockets, 4-way stretch, moisture-wicking, and stain-resistant fabrics. Sun protection is extremely important, especially if you fish frequently.

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