Fishing for answers: Is lead dead?

Over the years I have spent several hours in front of a lead smelting pot pouring custom ¼-ounce lead headed jigs, which offer the perfect profile topped off with a heavy wire Gamakatsu jig hook.

Between melting of the lead, pouring the jigs, and then spending a few hours powder coating the perfect jig, I am sure I had been exposed to some unwanted fumes given off by the lead. We have been raised to understand that heavy metals are not good to be exposed to, and lead is a prime example of this.

Call me old-fashioned, but I am kind of partial to lead and its use for jigs, weights and other fishing related uses. There is just something about catching fish on something that you have created yourself that was once a pot of hot metal.

Other heavy metals are slowly taking over as “lead replacements.” Tungsten is right there on top of the list and with due reason. It is much denser than lead and heavier in comparison to its size. This is a great advantage in many ways to the angler as it has properties that lead doesn’t.

One of these properties is the hurting that it puts on the money clip of the average angler. The cost of these lead substitutes can be overwhelming, and just the thought of trying to replace all of my current lead-style baits makes my head spin.

From a practical standpoint, some of these lead substitutes actually offer an angler some great advantages. The smaller size allows the angler to drop down and use a finesse presentation with the same weight and still keep a good, positive feel for the bait in heavier wind or rougher water. The density of the heavier metal also changes the drop rate of many baits to allow the angler to get down to the fish much faster.

If you had to list all the advantages and disadvantages of lead vs. tungsten, I am sure you will have a list that balances each metal out. Each of these different styles of baits have their time and place and I will never rule out the use of either. However, if I had to choose sides, then I choose lead.

Everyone will have their opinions, and everyone is entitled to them. What it all boils down to is I just keep using what works best for me, and if that is lead or tungsten or both, then that is what I will use.

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