Bottom Weights

Pick the right weights for bottom fishing and you will dramatically improve your chances of getting strikes.

Many anglers tie their own flies or build their own rods, and a lot of anglers are also passionate about creating their own (sinkers) leads. This great video about making pyramid sinkers, aka “Place Sinkers,” might get you making your own, too. Thank the guy who made it by sharing it with your friends!

Fishing Weights

This is an article about sinkers designed to stick to the bottom where you drop or cast them. One of three types of fishing weights, they include pyramid sinkers and other sinkers called “Place Sinkers.”

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Types of Sinkers

Fishermen have been around since – literally – the dawn of time. If you think about it, our sport is populated by what could be the last “hunter-gatherer” social collective remaining outside school (e?)books. We catch fish and often eat the fish we catch. And there are more fish on mankind’s tables caught by the people at the table then there are verizon steaks or wild boar sausage hunted and dressed by the same family. An interesting fact about fishing is that the tackle has sure evolved, but in many ways, fishing remains the same. Sinkers are a good example. Fishing sinkers designed to keep a bait stuck in one place are one of three kinds of fishing weights.

Fishing Place Weights

There are a lot of different kinds of sinkers and fishing weights, but they all fall into one of three categories. They either stick to the bottom, bounce in the tide or river flow, or they are meant to troll or cast-and-retrieve.

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The “Ball” sinker (second on the top row) is like the specialty weights used for trolling. They are connected to a downrigger and hold an exact depth below the boat while the line – connected with a release clip – trolls a distance behind the rig. It is not a true fishing sinker, but maintains a role as an important fishing weight for the right situations.

These three categories include weights designed for:

  • to be cast or trolled (inline),
  • weights designed to be suspended in the water column or to bounce on the bottom and move with the flow (of the water) and the one’s we are talking about now,
  • Weights designed to stick on the bottom and not move; Place sinkers.

There is actually a fourth category of weights, but they fall into two of these categories. They are designed to be inline, yet remain exactly where you put them in the water column. These are the weights used on downriggers; specialized weights dragged underneath a moving boat and connected via a release clip to the fishing line. They are heavy – five pounds is a small one – but they are only used to hold the depth and let go of the line instantly when the fish strikes.

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Selecting Effective Place Sinkers

Since they are designed to grab the bottom, a conservation-minded angler needs to consider a few things. One is about conserving the environment and one is about conserving your fishing budget. Since they grab the bottom, they get stuck in structure. We would not tell you to use them fishing a sea wall or a coral ridge. They work best in sand. Round and egg shapes – often used as bouncers where you want the bait to move with the water – work better in complex structure and can be kept from sliding with swivels, snaps, or even a toothpick shoved in the hole through which your line goes. We have used twigs jammed in there to keep a small egg sinker from sliding up the fishing line.

The lesson? If you have to keep your bait in exactly one place and there is a chance you are gonna’ drop or cast it onto coral or complex rock structure, use a round or egg sinker or even a bell sinker like we use on Sabiki rigs heavy-enough to keep it from rolling with the tides.

Surf-fishing with Pyramid Sinkers

If you are fishing in places where the bottom is sandy or gravel rich, the most common – and probably the most effective of all the ‘place sinkers’ is a pyramid sinker. They are the ones the guy is making in the video that started this article. They obviously got their name from their four-sided shape, but if you turn them upside down you can see that they are taller than they are wide at their square tops. The shape is designed so that water friction on the four faces points them down as they drop to the bottom.

The best place to use a pyramid sinker is when you are fishing on the beach. Surf anglers love pyramid sinkers and for good reason -- they cast easily, and they behave perfectly when they sink to the bottom. The point is the first part to touch the sand because of the friction on their four sides, and even if they do not sink deeply into the sand, it will not be long before water flowing over their effective design will bury them a little bit. Once they “bite” the bottom, they will not move. They sort of bury themselves in the surrounding sand.

How sinkers work

Obviously sinkers work because they sink. But sinkers that are designed to be trolled behind a boat work differently than sinkers meant to stick to the bottom. Sinkers for static bottom fishing are generally shaped to stick to the bottom or lie flat enough that their weight keeps them stuck. They are generally made in a mold that catches and shapes molten lead as it cools. They often have small brass rings positioned to be part of the sinker once the lead cools and solidifies. That is where you tie your line or leader before putting them in the water.

The Online Fisherman

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