Tungsten bass fishing weights are a “must have” part of my bass tackle. It’s a no brainer to me. The sensitivity, reduced size, noise, and colors available make tungsten weights the only weights I fish with now. The only drawback is the cost. Yes, tungsten weights are more expensive than traditional lead weights. However, when it comes down to putting more fish in the boat, I don’t mind spending a few extra dollars over the course of a fishing season.
Tungsten weights offer the most sensitivity of all products on the market right now. It’s truly amazing what you can feel when you switch, from lead weights, to tungsten weights. Because they are more dense than lead, vibrations are transmitted to the line, instead of deadened in the softness of lead. For example, when you get a strike with a lead weight you can often see teeth marks in the lead. This is because the lead moves or spreads, thus absorbing the feel of the strike. With Tungsten, the strike is instantly transmitted to your line, the tungsten weight doesn’t absorb anything.
Take getting a strike out of the equation. Tungsten weights will improve many of your bass fishing presentations. From Carolina rigs, to punching, to the most basic Texas rig. When dragging a lead weight across the bottom, you mostly feel a heavy sensation when you hit things or if the bottom changes from gravel to mud. With tungsten, you can feel the density of objects you run your bait across. Working a gravel point is a perfect example. With a lead weight, you can feel that it’s gravel simply because of experience, you feel it load up occasionally as it drags across bigger pieces of gravel. However, with tungsten weights, the gravel with shake your rod tip like you just stuck it in a ceiling fan. Gravel will produce constant vibrations being sent up the line to your rod.
Tungsten weights are much smaller in size than lead counterpart. This is a huge advantage for several reasons. First and foremost for me, a smaller weight means it’s easier to get through vegetation and debris. This allows me to up size my weight without creating a bigger object that will wedge in limbs or have trouble falling through matted vegetation. I like using 1 through 2 ounce weights for punching. Lead versions of these sizes are very large and will snag vegetation on the way through the surface mat covering up your bait once it’s through. Tungsten is much smaller in the same sizes and allows the bait to get through the surface mat without dragging pieces of vegetation with it. Weight size can also effect your hook set, and the ability of the hook to penetrate the mouth of a bass. A large weight at the top of your bait will force the mouth of a bass open preventing a solid hook set. With the smaller tungsten, you don’t force the mouth of a bass as wide, and your hook has a much better chance of penetrating.
For those of you that like to camouflage your weights, tungsten is the only way to go. Not only can you get them in a variety of colors, but the smaller sizes make for less visible mass. So, smaller weights in colors that match baits, are less visible. I’m not one to spend of lot of thought on color. I use just two basic colors, black and red. I use the standard black weights the majority of the time. However, if I decide I would like some contrast to my offering I will use a red weight. Does it help, I really don’t know, other than confidence for me, and that’s what matters most.
Tungsten, because it’s dense, makes a phenomenal amount of noise when banged against a glass bead. For those that use the old “Brass and Glass” set up to create a clicking noise to attract bass, tungsten makes even more. I have found this very effective when using punch skirts for bass under thick vegetation. Once your bait is through you can shake it and the weight will tap the bead that the punch skirt was wrapped around and create outstanding noise. You can hear it like a rattle trap coming to the boat. Which makes tungsten a fantastic choice for Carolina rigs. As you’re dragging a Carolina rig across the bottom, the weight will contact the bead every time you hit something and create a bang. Or, when you pull your bait through key spots you can shake it and really get the noise going.
Price is a down fall to using tungsten weights. Many anglers have a hard time spending the two to three times as much for bass fishing weights they feel are expendable and will lose eventually anyway. I can’t tell you that you won’t lose a few. However, I can tell you, that because you can feel what your bait is doing so much better you won’t hang up as much. Because I was buying fewer replacements, I was actually saving money with tungsten weights.
Lead comes with environmental and health issues, not a concern with tungsten. I’m not going to get into the debate on this subject, but, the Federal government has banned lead shot in hunting shot gun shells, and the state of California makes manufacturers put warning labels on lead products to include fishing tackle. Anglers can take this for what it is and make a personal decision.
After weighing (pun intended) everything that tungsten has to offer over lead, it’s an obvious choice to me.