Sea Fishing Tackle - Heavy Thinking
By Frazer Mellis
We all have used lead weights of different shapes and sizes and yet many Sea Anglers don't know the proper use for them, they just grab any old weight out of the tackle box and sling it out. This is a big mistake as you are not increasing your chances of catching. In this article I will go through some basic leads and their uses and also ways to improve your catch rate!
Starting with the basic "Beach Bomb Lead" or known as a Pear Lead. This fishing weight is used by a lot of anglers it's fairly aerodynamic and has smooth sides and has multiple uses. Most common use is for sticking on the end of a set of feathers in the summer! This style also has the great advantage of not holding ground or gripping. When bottom fishing with a basic ledger rig from a pier or beach this lead can be one of the best leads for covering ground. Covering ground by means of not having static bait pinned to the sea bed whilst you wait for the fish to pass! By allowing your bait to move along the sea bead it will drop into gully's or sand formations that you can't see, this is where fish hold tight too, normally because its where food deposits and easy snacks end up due to the currents or underwater features.
The classic Grip Lead is the complete opposite to a beach bomb because it comes with grip wires which dig into the sea bed. There are a few variations of the "Grip Lead" you have Standard, Long Tail, Short Tail, Long Wire, Softy and Breakout but they all do the same job. These are great when you want to hold ground especially when there is a strong tide and you want to pin your bait down next to a feature or stop your rig getting dragged into a snag! A good size for a grip lead would be 3-4oz however when I went on a fishing week in the Isle of Scilly even a 7oz+ lead won't hold the bottom there due to vast amounts of water pushing through the islands, so remember to take a good selection of weights with you, especially if you have never fished the venue before.
Watch Lead or Clock Leads. It's the lead weight you get with a crab line when you were a child, yes they are used for crab lines however they are fantastic leads for anglers that like to target Flatfish. For Estuary fishing and Beach fishing this lead is a good choice to use as it is a fairly flat lead and partially grips the sea bed with its lead bumps. The bumps provide just enough resistance to guide your rig on the bottom but also to stir up the sandy seabed attracting curious bottom dwelling fish. With this lead design you will have more control than the Beach Bomb method however it won't cover the ground as quickly which can be an advantage and a disadvantage depending on your methods. Also there are leads that are very close to the watch leads in their uses. These are the Breakaway Flattie Leads with built in Impact Bait Clips, Coffin Leads and Star Leads which look like a medieval club.
Egg Leads, Bullet Leads, Ball Leads! Most anglers refer to them as Float Leads; it's a simple weight with a drilled center, they can be used as said before with Sea Floats but also they are very handy for extra weight when lure fishing by placing them behind a trace line or they can be used for basic ledgering for Wrasse when you just need that little extra weight. I always have a selection of egg leads ranging from 1-3oz which covers most needs when I'm out fishing new marks "very handy". The great advantage with these is they are probably the cheapest lead weight on the market so if you lose some it's not a problem!
Thinking outside the lead box!
Here are some useful tips for lead weights that I have picked up over the years and recently.
Paint the leads
That's right paint the leads a colour of your choice with a can of spray! Some angler's recon that painting the lead acts like an attractor or lure which they believe helps the fish locate the bait. A method that is defiantly worth trying out.
Soft baits at range
There is a lead design which some of you may have already used or have heard of, it's the new "Dvice", a hook bait delivery capsule with the lead built in. This is becoming a popular choice for anglers around the UK. We sell them here at Monster Fishing under Rig Components or the Lead Weight Section.
Some anglers dip there lead weights in Rag worm or Lug worm oils that you can get on the market as a attractant and then place the weights in the freezer, they repeat the process until they have built up two or three layers of frozen oil around the lead. Bit like dipping a candle. Then they place their lead weights into a thermos flask to take to the venue. The idea is that when the lead is cast out with your rig attached of course, the oil defrosts under your rig thus releasing the oily scent trail which fish lock onto to locate your bait quicker. Maybe worth a try!
Next time you walk into you tackle shop or purchase tackle online, take the time to think about what lead weights you really need and how they could improve your chances. Yes there are no hard and fast rules about choosing leads but each lead weight design has its own special features which can be tailored into your individual fishing style and needs.
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