When to Use Sinkers when Fishing?

When to Use Sinkers when Fishing?

Fishing sinkers are used to increase the rate of sink, anchoring ability, and casting distance. The smallest fishing sinkers, which can be around 1 gram, are used in shallow waters or fly fishing applications, while other sinkers may have several pounds, and they are used for deep-sea fishing.

They are weights usually made by lead, which can be tied or clamped onto fishing lines, to help your bait sink to certain depths. Since small lead weights can be poisonous in wildlife, some states have banned them, as such, anglers should always check fishing regulations beforehand.

Fishing sinkers exist in innumerable shapes, and they all have different applications. Depending on the fish that is pursued, the environment, and personal preferences, there is a wide variety of sinkers, and here are some tips about the best fishing sinkers, when to use them, and more. 

Where to Put Sinkers on Fishing Line

The complexity of the rig and the intended bait dictates the position of your fishing sinkers on the fishing line, however, there are many types of fishing sinkers, and a variety of ways that they can be rigged and used, as well.

Weight is also an important factor, maybe as important as employing the right lure or bait. Having the wrong type or size weight can end in turning off the fish, while the right weight may bring instant angling success. As such, here are 14 of the best fishing sinkers used out there, how to use them, when, and for what.

1. The Split-Shot Fishing Sinker

These sinkers are called split-shot since they are round and have a split cutting halfway through them. They are small and can be placed on a piece of fishing line and then crimpled closed.

This allows for an easy and quick adding or removing weights, making this sinker amongst the most versatile of its kind. The split-shot sinker is best when used in shallow-water applications or for weighing down a bait set below a bobber. Fish such as bass, bluegill, crappie, and trout are easy to tempt with this sinker.

2. Rubber-Core Sinkers

Rubber-core sinkers have a football shape, and they can be attached anywhere, with a good spot being above the swivel. They can be attached easily, and quickly, and unlike split-shot sinkers, rubber-core sinkers are gentle on your fishing line.

They come off easily as well, which prevents line breaking and thus saves your fishing tackle more. The inside of these sinkers is made out of rubber, and they are split to allow the fishing line to pass through. These sinkers are used when you need something larger than split-shots. 

3. Sliding Sinkers

Sliding sinkers are another versatile weight for fishing, with the egg, barrel, and worm weight being the most popular sinkers of this type. They have a narrow hole through which a fishing line is threaded.

These sinkers are good on a rock or debris-covered substrates, and they can be used by novice and professionals alike, year-round, especially in open waters.

4. Bullet Sinker

The bullet sinker is another great sinker, especially for freshwater bass fishing, in combination with soft plastic lures. They are great for rigging plastic worms Texas-style.

These sinkers should be relatively light to maintain bottom contact or to penetrate the cover. They must slide free in open water, similar to the egg/barrel sinkers.

5. Walking Sinker

The walking sinkers have an oversized hole which allows the fish to feel little to no resistance when bitting. This sinker is great for deep fishing.

Because of this, fish such as walleye or bass are easy to catch with the walking sinker, and these rigs work best when presented slowly to the fish, through slow drifting and rolling.

6. Flat, Coin, Disk, No-Roll Sinkers

These sinkers are also great for stationary fishing. They lay either horizontal or flat on the bottom, which makes them great against rolling or tumbling in the current.

Most of them are rigged with a swivel and leader, like a Carolina egg-sinker rig or a walking sinker set up. These are ideal when fishing in rivers or lakes with currents, and they are great for catfish fishing.

7. Pyramid Sinkers

Pyramid sinkers are also good for stationary bait-soaking purposes. They are attached to the terminal end of fishing lines by loops of brass.

When chasing for catfish, or holding your live baits for bass, stripers, trout, pike, or walleye, the pyramid sinker is among the best sinkers available.

8. No-Snag Flexi Weight

This is a fairly new sinker and it allows for a slender series of weights that can be added to the fishing line or leader to get into the depths. This sinker has many applications, from bass casting, trolling, and drift fishing for salmon, trout, and stripers.

9. Pencil Sinker

These sinkers are commonly used by salmon and steelhead anglers. It is designed to avoid snags in rivers and streams. Two or more at a time can be used to increase depth fishing.

Some of them are rigged with a piece of surgical tubing which allows the weight to be pushed into open tubing to take baits and lure deep. Different weights can be used for the pencil sinker, just remove the pencil lead.

10. No-Snagg Sinker

This sinker is the improved version of the Lindy Walking Sinker. This sinker glides over rocks, shells, and other obstructions when taking baits deep during drifting and slow-trolling.

11. Drop-Shot Sinker

A ball-shaped object with a looped wire attached to the top, this is what the drop-shot sinker is. It is used for deep fishing and the weight can be easily adjusted for different fishing depths. These sinkers are designed to resist bottom fouling.

12. Insert Weights

Also called nail weights, these sinkers are designed for soft plastic finesse bass fishing, however, they can be easily used for many other soft lure fishing purposes.

These objects can be inserted into natural baits, which makes the bait more desirable to gamefish. They give a lifelike action to soft-plastic jerk baits, making them more attractive, and the best place to use these sinkers is in very clear waters.

13. Hook Weights

These small weights are specifically made to fit hooks to get baits or lures deep. Since the hook will be more heavy using these objects, your lure will have more balance and thus offer a more natural action to tempt the fish.

Like the nail weights, these hook weights can be added to soft plastic worm or jerk bait hooks, spinner-baits, spoons, and hooks used with natural baits.

14. Claw Sinker

Claw sinkers are great for surf fishing on sandy bottoms with strong currents. When it is cast, the line is briefly tugged so that the claws will dig themselves into the sand, allowing the rig to stay in place.

A claw sinker usually consists of a round-shaped sinker weight, and several metal wire spikes grouped around the sinker weight acting as barbs.


Regardless of the fishing sinkers, you’re accustomed to, most anglers would agree that it is best to have a variety of sinkers, since some do well in certain areas, while others don’t. Keep your split-shots or other quick weight changing sinkers near though, as you never know when the time comes and you need to act fast!

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