A fishing weight or sinker to most people is simply a way for you to “sink” a bait on a hook or a lure to the bottom. But really a sinker can be added to give you more casting distance, a sinker can be added to hold the bait in place in current and of course it can be added to cause a lure that floats to go to the bottom and then maybe stand up. So really it’s more about an addition you can make to your hook or lure to present your bait better to the fish.
In freshwater fishing there are really three types of fishing sinkers generally speaking. There are slip sinkers that the line goes through and the weight slides up and down the line. There are weights that you tie to the end of your line to hold the hook or lure near the bottom. And then there are weights that attach to a lure or line via a clip or pinching onto the line like split shot.
All of these various types of weights serve a purpose. We will cover the types of sinkers later in this article but first we’ll talk about some of our favorite fishing weights specifically for bass fishing and then speak more generally about weight materials, weight types and weight choices for better presenting lures and live bait to a variety of fish.
OUR TOP PICKS FOR BASS FISHING WEIGHTS
- Best Tungsten Bullet Sinkers – WOO! Tungsten Never Chip Flipping Weights
- Best Lead Bullet Sinkers – Jenko Fishing Creature Weight
- Best Split Shot – Eagle Claw Round Split Shot Weights
- Best Barrel Weights – Mustad Tungsten TitanX Carolina Weights
- Best Inline Weights – VMC Tungsten Slider Weights
- Best Drop Shot Weights – WOO! Tungsten Cylinder Closed Eye Drop Shot Weight
- Best Nail Weights – Ark Fishing No Chip Tungsten Nail Weights
- Best Add-on Weight – Varivas Nogales TG Grenade and Slim Sinkers
- Best Hard bait Weights – Zappu Board Weights
BEST TUNGSTEN BULLET SINKERS – WOO! Tungsten Never Chip Flipping Weights
WOO! Tungsten appears to have answered all of the issues anglers don’t like in tungsten weights with their Never Chip Flipping Weights. They created a patented process that puts color in the weight, so it’s not painted and powder coated like other weights. It is smooth throughout, so no sharp edges. They even went as far as to stamp the weight size on the side of the weight. Read our full review of the WOO! Never Chip Flipping Weights.
BEST LEAD BULLET SINKERS – Jenko Fishing Creature Weight
The head on the Jenko Fishing Creature Weight is designed so that it rights itself to fall with its chin down and eyes on the side giving the bait a more natural and gliding, spiraling action as it goes through the water. Because of the way it rights itself, it can be fished more like a jig or even swam through the water rather than just lifting and dropping it because you don’t have to worry with the bait spiraling in the water like it does with a traditional Texas rig when you reel it in.
The big heavy duty red eyes give it a more natural appeal and they are put together very well. I haven’t lost an eye out of one yet. The nose is tapered to avoid any sharp edges and the paint on it seems very durable. Read our full review of the Jenko Fishing Creature Weight.
BEST SPLIT SHOT – Eagle Claw Round Split Shot Weights
Maybe as simple as fishing weights get is good old Eagle Claw Round Split Shot. Pinch it on your line and go. We still use split shot in a lot of applications from live bait fishing to just adding a little more weight to your line to get a little more casting distance. A split shot can do wonders for both. And they are so affordable, every angler should have a couple sizes in their tackle box.
BEST CAROLINA WEIGHT – Mustad Tungsten TitanX Carolina Weights
The Mustad Tungsten TitanX Carolina weight is compact, durable and crawls nicely around on the bottom when dragging a Carolina rig. It doesn’t have any sharp edges so it comes over and through stuff easily when being drug around. We like the shape of these weights as they have proven to really transmit the bottom substrate. We can tell when we are in sand, rock, gravel and more with these weights which is nice if you like to use your Carolina rig to map out your area as you fish. These weights are also some of the best priced weights for bigger Carolina rig Tungsten weights.
BEST INLINE WEIGHT – VMC Tungsten Slider Weights
VMC’s Tungsten Slider Weights were specifically designed to be used with their Tokyo Rig system but they can serve other purposes as well. You can put the on your line as finesse version of a Carolina rig. In fact, I’ve fished these with two bobber stops and the Slider weight to make a quick simple finesse Carolina rig. I do this some when fishing in clear water, around grass, etc. I also have inserted these weights into the belly of big soft swimbaits to keep them on bottom. And of course on a Tokyo rig even with different dimensions like a swimbait instead of a standard flipping plastic.
BEST DROP-SHOT WEIGHT – WOO! Tungsten Cylinder Closed Eye Drop Shot Weight
Personally I’m not a fan of the clip style drop shot weights. Especially if you fish around smallmouth as their violent nature tends to sling off a lot of those types of drop shot weights. Instead I like WOO! Tungstens Cylinder Closed Eye Drop Shot weight that I can tie direct to. And recently I’ve been incorporating these with the finesse clips from Great Lakes Finesse to be able to swap weight sizes on the fly quickly but not worry about losing my weights every time a fish jumps.
BEST NAIL WEIGHT – Ark Fishing No Chip Tungsten Nail Weights
We are big fans of Ark Fishing and the way they build their tackle. Their nail weights are sharp pointed and small which makes them easier to get into plastics. I use these a lot on swimbaits, stickbaits, and even recently jerkbaits for hover strolling big smallmouths. I’ve used most of the nail weight brands out there now and this is the one I keep coming back to. A lot of size options, a good price, a good build and dependable fishing. That’s sort of become synonymous with their brand.
BEST ADD-ON WEIGHT – Varivas Nogales TG Grenade Sinkers
So I experiment with soft plastic rigs a lot and I’ve been really experimenting on the finesse side a lot this year with bait finesse system setups. One of my new favorite systems are small finesse hooks with weights that clip onto the hooks. I’m able to rig small plastics completely weedless on an offset finesse hook and then add these Varivas Nogales TG Grenade and Slim Sinkers. Varivas is high quality line maker out of Japan that also has been branching into BFS terminal tackle. Their new hook and weight interchange system is really awesome and gives anglers a ton of flexibility on new ways to rig finesse plastics. We’ll have a feature soon on this system for more in-depth information, but for now trust us when I say this is a fun new way to rig your baits.
BEST HARD BAIT WEIGHTS – Zappu Board Weights
I’ve used these board weights for a lot of years. I grew up weighting jerkbaits with Storm Suspend Strips and these are a more refined version with precise weights and reflective coatings to more mimic the baits white bellies you stick them to. The weights stick and stay on well and I’ve been able to use them on jerkbaits, crankbaits and swimbaits in a variety of situations. I keep this in my rigging kit at all times.
TYPES OF FISHING SINKERS
As we stated early there are really just three types of sinkers that all fishing weights fall into. They are one of the following:
- slip weights
- tie on weights
- add-on weights (pinch, clip or stick)
Now inside of each of these broad categories are myriads of other options. In the slip on weights we have bullet sinkers for Texas-rigging worms. Next, we have barrel weights for Carolina-rigging baits. Finally, we have inline weights for adding to things like Tokyo rigs or finesse Mojo rigs.
On the tie on weights, these are generally end of line weights like bell sinkers, pyramid sinkers and walking sinkers that are popular with live bait fishermen like anglers who use various catfish rigs with live bait. On the bass fishing side you are usually talking about bell sinkers or more refined versions of the bell sinker most commonly known as drop shot weights. These are tied on the end of the line after tying a hook up the line from weight first. This enables you to drag the sinker on the bottom while hopping your bait up off the bottom.
With add-on weights, a lot of manufacturers, especially in the JDM space, have created many subcategories of weights. You have weight boards that can be stuck to the underbelly of hard plastic or wooden lures to make them sink or even neutrally buoyant if the lure was a slow floater. You have clip on weights that can be added to the belly of a lure or to the eye of a hook to give you a Jika type rig or a belly weighted rig where the plastic on your hook will sit more horizontal than nose down. This has opened up some finesse applications like BFS anglers who have been adding these clip weights to tiny hooks to fish micro plastics for bass and panfish.
You also have your more traditional split shot weights that can be pinched onto your line or even the shank of a hook if you want to add a slight bit of weight to smaller lures or rigs to keep the bait from floating or to give you just a hair more casting distance. I’ve pinched a split shot on a line a lot while panfishing or trout fishing with ultra light lures to make them a bit easier to get more distance in clear water.
LEAD FISHING WEIGHTS
Most weights and sinkers were originally lead. It’s an easy material to heat up and shape into different sizes and shapes to fit a wide variety of fishing applications. While lead is not the most ideal substance because it can be soft, lose its shape and is not as dense as newer materials like tungsten. It’s a lot more affordable, and easier to work with to make lures, jigheads, and fishing sinkers.
Lead weights tend to be much larger than their tungsten counterparts for the same weight. So the trade off is cost, for size and durability.
TUNGSTEN FISHING WEIGHTS
Tungsten weights will be a bit more expensive but they are much harder and denser than lead so they not only can be made much smaller, but they will not deform, chip or get worn out like lead. And Tungsten weights will show up much better on traditional sonar as the denser material gives a better return on 2D Sonar. A lot of your JDM add on weights are made out of tungsten to keep the footprint smaller for using with finesse baits and smaller live bait.
A lot of fly tiers will add a tungsten bead to fly to turn it into a nymph or sinking bug type lure instead of a dry floating fly. A good many of the panfish bugs I use now are tied on tungsten bead fly hooks.
Certain weights are better for certain situations. Certain weights are also crafted and shaped for chasing specific species or fishing with specific types of live bait. Many of our modern catfish rigs call for specific weights that present the lures on bottom, in current, with larger baits. Whereas our weights for trout and panfish are completely opposite for making a live bait or lure look as natural to the finicky fish in cleaner water as possible.
BEST FISHING WEIGHT BRANDS
If you’re just looking for generally what brands can you trust when shopping for fishing weights at your local retailers to either make the very best fishing weights or very affordable and good working weights for fishing, then we can help with that as well. There are several good makers of fishing weights, and we’ve listed a few of the ones we’ve used for decades with success as well as some of the newcomers we really like right now.
The good makers of fishing weights and sinkers would include the following:
- Eagle Claw
- Freedom Tackle
- WOO! Tungsten
There are more we’re sure but these are the brands we are most familiar with and trust from our own fishing experiences.