Tag Archives: eco weights

Lead free weights for fly fishing

Conservation is a key component to fly fishing, and few things are more important to conservation than clean water and healthy fish and wildlife.

For fly fishing, there are a variety of materials and products on the market that work great, and will also improve your catch rate. Tungsten weights, bead heads, tungsten putty, tin split shot, brass beads and eyes, and more all work great as lead substitutes for fly fishing.

Fly tying

Lucent Tungsten Beads

Lucent Tungsten Beads

Many lead alternative materials are in use today for fly tying. Tungsten beads, brass beads and eyes, lead alternative wire, copper wire, and more all have their use. When weighting a fly, tungsten has an advantage over lead because it is heavier and denser. This means that a smaller bead can be used on nymphs and other wet flies to help sink them to the strike zone. Tungsten beads also come in a variety of fish attracting colors.

Lead alternative wire is great for streamers and nymphs that require extra weight and is completely non toxic. Simply replace your old lead wire with a selection of different size non toxic lead alternative wire to keep on hand when tying your flies. Not only is this better for the eco systems that you fish, but it’s safer for you and your family. Lead free wire means no lead dust or residue left over contaminating your hands and anything you touch after a busy session at the tying table.

On the water fly fishing uses for lead free weights

Many lead alternative weights can be attached to the leader, much like traditional split shot, to help sink the fly to the bottom. Tin split shot, Steel split shot and soft tungsten putties all work great when extra weight is needed to sink your nymph or egg pattern to the bottom.

TungFu Tungsten Putty

Tungsten Putty

Tungsten putty is particularly useful as the amount of weight can be fine tuned to your needs. Simply add a little, or remove a little to get the right amount. Most often, soft putties like these will soften when warmed slightly between the fingers. This allows the fly angler to attach and remove the putty from the leader easily. Once the putty is formed on the leader, the coolness of the water will harden it so that it will not fall off while fishing. After fishing, the putty can be completely removed from the line with no mess.

Tin split shot comes in the same form as old lead split shot, and can be reused many times. The handy thing about tin, or other lead alternative split shot, is that is won’t foul up the waterways and your hands. Have you ever eaten a snack while fishing after handling lead split shot? With lead alternatives like tin, steel, or other alternatives, you don’t have to worry about ingesting lead residue.

Other advantages to lead alternative weights

There are many advantages to fly fishing with lead alternative weights. Besides the practical reasons, like tungsten being heaver and denser than lead, there are the environmental and safety issues to think about. Our waterways are fragile, and if we don’t take steps to safeguard them for future generations, we may lose out.

Wildlife and birds, like Loons, can oftentimes ingest lead weights that have been lost or left in the stream or along the banks of the lake. By using a lead alternative you eliminate the risk.

Lead free weights are vital in keeping our waterways clean, and our fish healthy.

Lead free fly fishing weights

Tungsten Weights

Brass Weights


Brass fishing weights for fishing jigs and bass sinkers

Lead has been the staple for years in fishing weights but brass is set to take it’s place in some instances. With lead free weights becoming more popular and available there are numerous options available. Brass is one of the options that not only is better for the environment, but has some distinct benefits that can increase your catch rate.

For bass fishing, brass bullet sinkers and egg sinkers have distinct advantages over lead fishing sinkers. The main advantage is that brass fishing weights are loud and create an underwater attraction for bass. When brass bullet sinkers are rigged Texas style with a glass bead the vibration and sound of the brass weight banging tends to add extra attraction for large bass and helps create reaction strikes. When brass egg weights are rigged Carolina style the same sound and vibration attracts fish.

Brass Bead steelhead jig

Brass Bead steelhead jig

For jigs, brass beads work well as an alternative to poured lead jig heads. The reason why brass or nickel plated brass is a good material for  jig heads is that it is hard, doesn’t chip like painted heads will, and is shiny so works as an attractant. Brass bead jigs have proven themselves to work equally well to their painted lead counterparts and are much better for the lake or river if lost on a snag. Brass bead jigs are proven to work well for crappie jigs, bluegill jigs, bass jigs, salmon jigs, steelhead jigs, and trout. Since brass beads are available in various sizes they can be paired with the appropriate size hook and tied with feathers, hair or synthetic materials like rubber or plastic worms, grubs, and more.

Overall, brass fishing sinkers have several distinct advantages over lead, and that’s besides being more environmentally friendly and less harmful to birds, wildlife, and fish.

Brass Beads work great for Jig Heads

Brass Beads work great for Jig Heads

ECO lead free BANK fishing SINKER

The Effects of Lead on Humans, Why Lead Free Fishing Weights are Important

Lead is considered a toxic chemical that can be lead to lead poisoning through ingestion or through airborne particles. Lead can cause severe damage to the brain, slow growth in children and reproductive problems in adults. It is highly important to handle lead carefully and help children avoid contact with lead at all times. Never bite down on lead split shot or any other lead fishing sinker to close them.

If you absolutely must handle lead there are some steps to take to minimize your exposure. A few things to keep in mind are to use gloves when handling lead or to wash your hands well after handling lead. If making your own lead fishing weights and jigs be sure to wear a respirator with a filter and use a fume hood to capture airborne particles. It’s not advised to work with lead at home because the particles can attach themselves to clothes and can move themselves around your work space and into your home, affecting your family.

Alternative non lead rubbercore half oz fishing sinker

Alternative non lead fishing sinker

The best way to avoid lead poisoning of any kind is to use lead alternative fishing weights and sinkers. There are many alternatives to using lead sinkers that are readily available on the market now. Bismuth, Tin, Tungsten, Brass, Steel, and Lead Free compounds are all available in various sizes of fishing weights and sinkers. Split shot often be found in tin or bismuth and Tungsten fishing weights make excellent worm weights for bass. The South Bend company makes ECO biodegradable fishing weights and sinkers which are completely nontoxic and decompose over time if lost in the water.

The bottom line is that not only is lead bad for the environment, fish, and wildlife, but it’s highly toxic to humans and should be avoided.

nonlead rubbercore fishing weight

The Importance of ECO Lead Free Fishing Weights and Sinkers

Lead fishing weights are highly toxic and contaminate our rivers, streams and lakes. Not only are they bad for the fish that we catch for sport and food, but lead sinkers kill birds and other aquatic species, such as insects that the fish depend on as a food source, as well.

Several states have begun banning the use of lead fishing sinkers and weights altogether in lakes and rivers. As a result of these bans, or possibly because of a continuing increase in conservation awareness, many companies have begun marketing lead alternatives and lead free fishing weights and sinkers. Many times these companies brand these fishing weights and sinkers as eco weights or eco fishing sinkers to let the consumer know that they are better for the environment and will not harm fish, birds, and other aquatic species. One of the largest concerns of state and wildlife agencies is the effect that lead sinkers have on bird populations. Loons for example, have been found to ingest lead sinkers, like split shot, and become ill and die.

Lead free fishing sinkers

Lead Free Fishing Sinkers - Egg Weights

Many eco weights on the market are created from alternative materials like tin, bismuth, iron, tungsten, brass and more. Often times these materials, like tungsten for example, are denser, harder and heavier than lead so it is actually advantageous to the angler to use it in place of lead. Other materials like brass beads work well to replace jig heads with. Not only are there real fishing advantages to using alternative lead materials like tungsten and brass, but the environmental advantage is an extra bonus.

Another great alternative to lead weights are the eco weights that South Bend, and other companies, manufacture. They are created from a harmless biodegradable compound so if the weight is lost under water it will eventually decompose and leave no harmful or toxic after effects. Since the weight is an organic compound it literally will leave no waste behind or have harmful effects on wildlife and fish.

Lead alternative or lead free fishing weights work just as well as lead weights in many cases and offer the angler peace of mind in knowing that they are not contributing to the pollution and intoxication of our fishing waterways. There are now lead free products on the market that have a distinct advantage over lead as well, such as tungsten putty that molds into the size and shape of weight that the angler wishes to use. With the way that many of our fisheries, lakes, rivers and stream are declining it is important that each and every one of us does our part to keep them clean.  The availability of lead free fishing weights gives us the ability to do our part in taking greater responsibility for the environment, ecology, and nature.