Fishing and lead weights have gone together for as long as most anglers can remember. But there is a change that is occurring right now, and for a good reason. Have you ever wondered why we even use lead in our fishing? After all, lead is a well-known toxin that is harmful to wildlife and humans alike.
Lead is the popular choice for heavy sinkers and has been used for many centuries because it is abundant and easy to smelt. Its low cost and density have made it widely used, but lead is highly toxic and will pollute the environment. For humans, this toxicity means problems with major organ systems and is known to cause anemia and neurological impairment. According to studies, lead fishing weights can lead to lead poisoning and other health issues when it gets on your hands and in your body.
Low doses of lead exposure over time can lead to multiple health and cognitive impairments by simply handling lead tackles. For example, blood lead levels in a 4-year old child were found to exceed 65 µg/dl the day following ingestion of a single fishing sinker.
When it comes to the environment, lead can be extremely harmful to all species, but birds seem to get hit the hardest. Almost all birds, regardless of species, can get exposed to lead in the environment, which can be fatal. And it’s the primary cause of mortality of waterbirds like common loons and swans. For example, more than 3000 common loons in Maine have reported death from ingestion of lead tackle annually and 44% cause of mortality of common loons in New Hampshire.
The bird ingested lead fishing weight
This is the main reason that lead tackle is outlawed in many states around the country, as it continues to poison waterfowl when it gets ingested. States like New York, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, Vermont, Washington, and many others have regulations banning lead fishing products, with more states joining them every year.
So if you can’t use lead, what do you do? Luckily there are plenty of other options that are not only safe for you and the environment, but they work even better than lead! Tungsten is quickly becoming the best possible option for weights in fishing. Not only does tungsten make for an eco-friendly fishing weight, but it is better than lead in almost every aspect. These weights are denser than lead, giving you better sensitivity. This also makes them smaller in size when compared to lead (at the same exact weight).
Another unique advantage of tungsten is the distinct sound when it bumps into a hard bottom or structure. The tungsten weight sends out a loud ticking and clacking sound that will alert an angler and give them the knowledge they need to better fish an area. With so many different advantages, it is easy to see why more and more anglers are discovering that tungsten fishing weights are far superior for fishing and better for their health!
The only downside to tungsten is that it is slightly higher priced than lead. While many anglers will gladly spend the extra money for a higher quality product, this is why Nako has shown it is committed to the lead-free concept of fishing and has built its manufacturing facilities to cut down the tungsten price in fishing. With less cost, tungsten fishing weights are quickly becoming the best option for fishing gear and are making the lead based fishing weights more and more obsolete!