Sinkers (weights) for bass fishing are relatively light in weight, small and the rule of thumb is to use the lightest weight that will effectively suit the depth you’re fishing and the presentation being used.
Most sinkers are made from lead. Bans exist in a few places in North America on the sale and/or use of lead weights of a certain size, which has lead to the development and use of non-toxic substitutes, including brass, steel, tin, and tungsten, which have slightly different attributes. Nevertheless, weights and sinkers made of lead make up an overwhelming share of the sinkers for bass fishing.
Types of Sinkers
Bass fishing weights come in two basic versions, fixed or free-sliding. Choice depends on fishing conditions, the depth to be fished, and presentation.
Fixed versions attach directly to a fishing line or leader by being pinched, twisted, or tied. They move whenever the bait or lure moves, and also when a fish takes the bait or lure. Fixed sinkers include split shot, rubber core sinkers and clinch-on versions. Fixed sinkers used in trolling include torpedo, bead chain, keel, and planing models, although such sinkers are less frequently used in bass fishing, as few bass anglers troll.
Free-sliding, or slip, sinkers ride along the line. They’re used primarily with bait and allow the line to move when a fish takes the bait without moving the sinker, which provides less resistance than a fixed sinker. Sliding or slip sinkers include ball, egg or barrel, cone or bullet, and some bottom-walking versions.
Bass fishing weights are often referred to by a specific application or associated with certain freshwater fishing rigs.
• Texas Rig – Features a soft-plastic worm with the hook buried in the worm body (“snag-less”) and a sliding sinker on the line ahead of the worm. The sinker is primarily cone- or bullet-shaped and is widely referred to as a “worm weight.”
• Carolina rigs (using sliding sinkers), are another type of bottom- and cover-probing setup for bass fishing in which the sinker slides on the main line ahead of a swivel and a following leader attached to a lure.
• There’s a variety of bottom-walking (or bottom-bouncing) sinkers used in bass fishing as well. These are fixed to the main line and sport a leader running to a following lure or bait.
• Drop Shot – For a vertical presentation, a drop shot or drop weight may be used. This weight is fixed to the main line below a suspended lure.
• Sometimes a piece of clamp-on lead is used to add weight to a hook used with plastic worms or soft jerk baits.
• Jerk Baits – Small lead weights, like a nail, may be used to add weight to a worm or jerk bait also that is inserted into the body of the lure.