This is one of the main questions of many fisherman trying to save some money, and/or trying to figure out what to use! First off, lets start with where:
There are a few avenues of where to purchase from –
Before even answering this, it depends on you. Do you trust an online website, an online store, an online mega auction site, local store, or backyard hobbyist.
Those above mentioned are all places where you can buy lead fishing weights, and all have pros and cons. I personally used to go to the cheap local store. By visiting the local tackle shop, you do keep some money here in America. You can help small businesses if you choose a local shop over a Walmart (which rarely has a variety) or Bass Pro, cabellas etc. By visiting a local store, you can occasionally get some good fishing tips, or hear some interesting stories as well. The key factor with a local store is going to be how much are your weights going to cost, and do they have exactly what you want. Most tackle stores will charge between $3.75 ( on the low end price) to $7 per lb for weights. Are those good prices? Well if you can purchase fishing weights at a local shop for under $4 per lb, yes that’s a good place, and I would use it as your local go to when you are in need and cant online shop.
I would be Leary of going to a friend of a friend who does the backyard operation. Often they do not wear protective gear, and buying from them, only keeps them working in unsafe conditions damaging their health. Do your research if you’re going that route.
Big box stores – Bass Pro, Cabellas , Wal Mart, etc. Not a fan… They do enough in general sales, and id rather throw some crumbs to the local stores or small online stores.
Online stores – Many fisherman by default simply dont trust buying lead fishing weights online. There are several negative things that can happen by buying online. Some of them are –
*shipments get lost, with no compensation
*credit card numbers stolen, paypal account info stolen
*product is misrepresented, or the weights are inaccurate
*massively delayed shipping times
*products out of stock
*shipping costs may be high
*no customer service
Those are cons but what are the pros, if you find a good online store? For starters – the price. You can expect to see prices from under $3.50 per lb online at the right store. You can also expect low shipping costs due to flat rate shipping boxes from the USPS. ($7-$14 for up to 60 lbs of sinkers) In addition, you can sit at home, and your order will show up at your door step. Everyone wants the best of everything though always, not just one strong point. Things like accurate weight ratings, products in stock, good prices, and actual customer service are what can be achieved with the right online store. I have encountered about 3 online stores with good prices, relatively decent shipping times, and decent customer service. However, the best prices Ive seen are through Ocean-Angler in big bulk orders. Buying larger quantities of weights, you can expect prices as low as $2.20 per lb, which is simply unheard of. They have been in business for years now, and most of their sinkers are made from CNC ( computer controlled machines) molds, so the weights are extremely accurate. Also, there is decent customer service if there are any questions and a review system in place to let others know how different customers experiences have been. Ocean-Angler provides the cheapest lead fishing weights online period!
Which now brings us to our second point/question here – what kinds of weights are there , specifically the most common types of sinker varieties.
Bank sinkers Fishing Weight- are extremely popular due to a fast dropping aero dynamic shape, and low cost. These weights can easily roll, and are great for fishing on banks.
Commonly used for drifting, and wreck fishing for sea bass & porgies. Also used if you are codfishing on open bottom cast uptide and your bank sinker will slowly roll down tide on the bottom.
Often used in jettys and breakwalls.. the rounded edges ( no hard corners) helps keep them from being caught in rocks
Barrel sinkers Fishing Weight- are a great choice for those of you using large diameter mono or floro fishing line ( over 150lb) that cannot slip through the typical “sliding egg sinker”. These weights are often used in heavy trolling applications
Cannonball sinkers Fishing Weight– are the ideal choice for salmon fisherman, steelhead fisherman, and halibut fisherman. Commonly used for “bounce balling” and sometimes referred to as bounce balling sinkers, the cannonball sinker is a perfectly round shape and allows for snag free trolling, rigging, jigging, bouncing and quick drops.
The cannonball sinker is also ideal for breakwall and jetty fishing. By having a perfectly round sphere shape, it has no hard edges to snag in harsh rocky conditions. The brass eye at the top allows for easy tying!
Claw/Snag Sinkers Fishing Weight – Claw/Snag sinkers are an excellent choice for rough river currents as well as harsh Surf conditions. They have multiple spikes, and an open area. The spikes dig into the sand, and the open area in the middle allows sand to come in between different edge of the sinker
With an exceptional holding value, you cant beat these sinkers for surf conditions.
The claw sinkers are used on hard bottomed areas where other sinkers tend to tumble and roll around in a moderate current. These flat delta-shaped, lead sinkers have hollow centers for maximum surface area. They have corner claws that dig into the bottom to avoid tumbling and come in sizes up to eight ounces. They are not as aerodynamic as pyramid sinkers or storm sinkers so they don’t cast as far. Nevertheless, you will get the distance you need launching these into the surf.
Coin Sinker /Silver Dollar Sinker /Concave Disc Sinker Fishing weight – This is one of the most commonly used fishing sinker for river fishing. These fishing weights are used in riverbeds, surf fishing, deltas, banks, piers, jetties and pretty much anywhere.. However, the optimum choice would be in surf applications and riverbeds. The reason for riverbeds, is that the sinker will lay relatively still considering the current in rivers, due to the large flat surface area to weight ratio. In addition, because they are a rounded smooth shape, they tend to plane through the water upon retrieval with limited snagging.
There are slight variations to this sinker, giving it slightly different names
Cushion Sinkers Fishing Weight – Cushion sinkers are similar to their brother – the disc or coin sinker. However, there is really only one difference. Rather then being concave , or flat, the cushion sinker is convexed, or bulged out in the middle. The convexed shape, allows the cushion sinker to wobble and move a little easier through the water.
Downrigger Weights – Unlike all the aforementioned fishing weights and sinkers, the downrigger weight or downrigger ball, has a special purpose. This big bulky cannonball with a built in fin, is used for trolling. Specifically, it is used to bring your bait or lure down deep, and keep it at the specified depth during a slow troll. The downrigger weight will be attached to an outrigger, and your fishing line. The outrigger is what holds the weight of the ball, and keeps it low in the water column, while your fishing line is attached to the other eye on the downrigger weight doing the actual fishing. This allows you to hold your lure at a specific depth while the boat is moving. These are often used for salmon trolling, halibut trolling, and also for striped bass in freshwater lakes. Once you set the hook, the downrigger ball detaches from your main line, allowing you to fight the fish and bring them in . Downrigger weights come in a variety of sizes and slightly different shapes, depending on the application. Most people prefer a coated downrigger weight so as to prevent their boats from getting chalked up with lead, or to prevent the slow again process of the lead oxidizing . Some prefer plain lead for the cheaper price when they know they will be lowing downrigger weights more frequently, and its not worth the cost to constantly replace high priced coated downrigger weights, which average about $20 each for smaller ones.
Flat Bank Sinkers fishing weight – This style of sinker is similar to the bank sinker, and sometimes used for similar purposes. Both styles dont use brass or stainless wire eyes. They are made only of lead, which generally allows for a lower cost. The biggest difference is the flat bank sinker ( sometimes called coffin sinker) is flat, so holds a little better with rougher currents whereas the bank sinker would roll.
Frogs Tongue fishing weights – These fishing sinkers were designed to hold better in rough surf conditions then the traditional pyramid sinkers. They have a more aerodynamic shape which allows them to sail through the air faster when casted, and water as well. Once they settle in, and burrow their way into the sand, they hold much better then pyramid sinkers. They do become harder to pull out of the sand then a pyramid sinker, so it is a trade off, depending on the fisherman and what he is after.
No Roll Sinkers fishing weights – We will be adding more content to this blog soon, and more weights!