Like most, I was absolutely shocked when I saw how much these new tungsten sinkers cost. “These new tungsten sinkers are nothing more than tackle manufacturers attempt at re-inventing the wheel,” I told myself. “There is no way that people are going to pay this much money for something that can’t possibly be THAT much better than plain lead sinkers.” Although it took a while, I eventually realized that I was very wrong on both points.
While my “dinosaur mentality” (as some of today’s Young Guns like to call it) initially prevented me from jumping on-board what I perceived was a money wasting tungsten weight bandwagon, I soon came to realize that my reluctance to do so put me at a distinct disadvantage when fishing against guys who were more than willing to fork out (about) a buck apiece for their tungsten sinkers. I eventually learned that there were several huge advantages to using tungsten sinkers instead of lead sinkers. Tungsten, as we now know, is considerably denser than lead, which means that we get the same weight, but at nearly half the size of lead. This alone is a huge advantage in that you will hang up far less with a tungsten sinker than with a lead sinker because of its smaller size. This equates to more casts over the course of a day (i.e. less time wasted re-tying); which will likely mean more fish, as well. Or, as my father taught me at a very young age: “You’re not going to catch any fish if you don’t have your bait in the water”.
Another huge advantage to using tungsten sinkers is that, because tungsten is a very hard material, it is extremely sensitive and can actually help you “feel” what the bottom is made of and what your bait is bumping into, such as rocks, brush, mud, etc. And if all of this isn’t enough, using tungsten weights will (or at least should) keep environmentalists off our backs, as tungsten is far more “environmentally friendly” than is lead, which will probably be banned entirely some day.
When tungsten sinkers first made their way onto the pegs in our favorite tackle stores (actually they were usually locked up in display cases next to the high-end reels), we were more or less held hostage by the one or two companies that manufactured them. I say this because many of these early tungsten sinkers were junk, however, if you wanted tungsten sinkers, you had no choice but to buy theirs. These early sinkers had small plastic inserts in them, which frequently fell out. When this happened, the sharp edge of the sinker would occasionally fray or even cut your line. This meant a lot of lost sinkers and frequent re-tying (good for them - bad for us) or worse – lost fish. In addition to this, the holes in these weights were extremely small, which made pegging them with a toothpick or a Peg-It nearly impossible (something that I frequently do when flipping or pitching plastic worms). I also had problems with their dropshot weights. The line clips would frequently cut my line while attaching the weight to my line. I even had a number of these line clips come completely out of the weight while casting. This REALLY sucks at a buck (or more) a piece! I mention these things in the past tense, but a couple of these companies are still in business making tungsten weights today and have made little or no improvements to them.
Fortunately, at last summer’s J&T Tackle Night Team Tournament Series at Lake Casitas in Southern California (which my tournament staff and I ran), Tru-Tungsten came on board as a series sponsors. They provided free samples of their tungsten bullet and dropshot weights for each contestant (and even gave me a few!). Since that time, I have heard nothing but positive feedback on Tru-Tungsten sinkers and I now use them exclusively. My reasons for this are: They have a larger hole (which means that you can peg them), they do not have a plastic insert, they will not fray or cut your line, and they come in nine colors (a Doodler’s dream come true). They are also more streamline in shape than any other brand of tungsten sinker, which takes us back to that fewer hang ups, more casts, more fish thing. Tru-Tungsten weights are available in 1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 3/4, 1oz, and 1 1/2 oz sizes – more than any other brand on the market today.
Just for kicks, I did a little research into the Tru-Tungsten company and discovered that ALL of their products are 97% tungsten, the highest percentage available on the market. Some tungsten weight manufacturers use as little as 70% tungsten (or less), which accounts for their larger size.
In addition to tungsten weights, Tru-Tungsten also has a new line of jig heads called “Ikey Head Jigs” designed by (you guessed it) former BASSMASTER Classic champion Mike Icaonelli. They also make jigs, spinnerbaits, and buzzbaits, all of which (of course) have tungsten heads. They will soon be releasing a new tungsten dropshot weight designed by defending B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year and Tru-Tungsten pro staffer Aaron Martens.
Ikey Jig Heads
Ball Buster - - - - - Ike’s Spike - - - - - Weed Wacker
While having both Aaron Martens and Mike Icaonelli on your pro staff is a dream come true for any sponsor, the rest of the Tru-Tungsten pro staff ain’t too shabby either. Joining the country’s hottest two sticks and forming what can arguably be described as the “Dream Team” of professional bass fishing are Larry Nixon, Denny Brauer, Gerald Swindle, Jason Quinn, Peter T, Marty Stone, Ken Cook, and California’s own Gary Dobyns, Jared Lintner, Matt Newman, and Shaun Bailey. With a batting order like this, and with a full line of great products, it is easy to see why Tru-Tungsten is gaining momentum and rapidly becoming the largest manufacturer of tungsten fishing products in the world.
For more information on Tru-Tungsten products, check out their website at: www.tru-tungsten.com.
Thanks for your time and always remember: “The shortest distance between two points is a reef!”