Or maybe it’s not lead after all?
The lead from which the heads are poured is rarely close to chemically pure. As a rule, we are dealing with an alloy, which, in addition to lead, includes some other components, and different ones. As a result, different heads differ in their physical properties, including hardness. Lead becomes harder, in particular, with the addition of antimony. Here, the problem of sticking teeth completely loses its relevance. But still more often the question of an alternative to lead is raised in connection with the need to use a heavier metal, and most often we are talking about tungsten-based alloys. You probably won’t buy spinning leads made from this material in the store, except those used with spinning lures. But with certain opportunities, you can get them or even make them. At one time I had tungsten “eared” sinkers made of tungsten – someone from my acquaintances “fitted” it.
The general impression is that in at least 95% of the cases in which we have to fish, there are no fundamental differences from ordinary lead ones at all. If somewhere a tungsten “head” can play a positive role, then in situations where you have to “break through” the depth and current, as, for example, when fishing in pits with a significant current on large rivers. But many of us do not face such conditions at all, and for most others it rarely happens. Therefore, you should not be particularly puzzled by the question of where to get tungsten heads. If you have a dozen – well, let them lie and wait for their release, no – you won’t lose so much.
In our village you cannot buy “eared” sinkers, and there is no desire to cast it yourself. Is there a sensible alternative?
When several years ago information about the “Russian miracle” – the foam rubber fish – began to reach our foreign colleagues, many of them were already on fire, it was the idea of fishing with foam rubber. But every time the idea died on the vine, because in Europe during the day with fire you will not find such an important element of the “foam rubber” as the “eared” weight, and casting the weights yourself is not in the tradition of monsieur and seniors. The question is similar, isn’t it? However, almost the same weight is used in Draskovic’s tackle, known throughout Europe. The only difference is that it is not cast, but a half-cut lead ball is taken and it is clamped with pliers on the wire frame of the “ears” – approximately the same way as a pellet weight known to any floater is clamped on a fishing line. In size, only one thing differs from the other – in our case it is closer to a large buckshot or even a bullet. The last phrase contains a hint. Take the desired weight of buckshot or a round bullet, cut to half with a chisel. Further – it is clear. Thus, it is also possible to avoid lead melting, which is an obvious plus for home conditions due to the toxicity of this process.
What should you pay attention to first when choosing “eared” sinkers?
All other things being equal, it is better to choose dull leads rather than shiny ones. On dull ones, it is easier to notice the marks of the predator’s teeth. Brilliant, however, can be “made” to fade by keeping them in a relatively aggressive environment, but this is, firstly, an additional operation, which is not particularly in our plans, and secondly, lead due to some additives may be inert to oxidation and remain shiny. But shine is still secondary. Much more important is the main “family” feature of our sinkers – the “ears” themselves, and, more specifically, their strength. That twisted “ear” that you see in the photo cost me a victory in the competition: the pike that sat on the foam rubber was somewhere in the “five”, but the “foundry master” who produced the same sinker turned out to be not only not a master, but not even an apprentice … The most offensive thing is that this happens most often in those relatively rare cases when we are given a chance to catch a “crocodile”. Therefore, the most biased attention should be paid to the strength of the “ears”.
A year and a half ago, I even had the idea to publish a “black list” of outlets where sinkers with frail “ears” are sold, but then the state of affairs began to change for the better, and now there are much fewer “weak-eared” sinkers. However, relapses of this unpleasant disease cannot be ruled out, so my advice to you is: if you intend to buy a large batch of “eared ears” somewhere, take five to ten pieces for a start and check them for “lice” with a balance. They must keep a dozen kilograms in any case. And if you intend to catch “crocodiles”, then the acceptable strength is at least one and a half times more.
Which “ears” are preferable – large or smaller?
The best option – “ears” of different sizes, one – more, the other – smaller. Usually we attach the foam rubber (or something else) through the winding ring to the vertical “ear”. This “ear” should be small. If through the winding ring we attach the bait on a single hook, then the “ear” is preferable to a horizontal one. We achieve this by gently twisting the usual horizontal “ear” with pliers ninety degrees. This operation is more convenient to carry out with a relatively large “ear”. It is worth noting here that now some manufacturers of “ears” are doing this manipulation for us, and sinkers come to the store with different “ears”: one is vertical, the other is deployed horizontally. Not a bad example of customer care.
On the “birdie” the man sold (and praised them very much) “eared” weights, with a double soldered on top between the “ears”. He said it was a killer option for walleye. He’s right?
I once tried such sinkers myself, and some of my friends too. The result was somewhat unexpected. For four or five pike perch, caught on a hook located in the usual place (that is, on the body of the foam rubber about a third of the head), there was one, which clung to a hook soldered directly to the sinker. This is really strange, since the rare gossip bite does not show up as scratches on the lead. Nevertheless, the noted ratio was repeated with minor variations on different days, so I eventually gave up the “eared ears” with an additional hook.
author: Konstantin Kuzmin
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