Leading the Charge on Lead Alternatives

“Not everybody is fishing weeds and thick mats where they need more weight,” Joe Crumrine theorizes. “Guys fishing brush want a smaller weight that’s going to get their bait down, but is not quite so big.” The third-generation president of Bullet Weights is busy rattling off the trends his company is adapting to this year. In the midst of this, he strikes a chord— tungsten is hotter than ever, and its rising popularity can be seen in the warehouses of Bullet Weights.

“We are getting calls for that denser, tungsten material,” Crumrine details. “We’re selling more and more tungsten each year, and we continue to expand that line and add new products. What started off as 1/2- and 1 1/2-ounce flipping weights led to smaller sizes last year. In 2015, we added 1/8-, 1/4- and 3/8-ounce sizes. On the opposite end, we went bigger for 2016. This year, we’re adding a 2 ounce flipping-style tungsten sinker.

In the midst of his spill, Crumrine lets slip a secret for savvy retailers: the 2 ounce tungsten flipping weight that’s debuting at ICAST is already in stock. “It came in a couple of weeks ago at the warehouse,” Crumrine says. “You can get it for this season.”

You heard it first here. (Contact Bullet Weights for the scoop on how to get them in your store right now.)

Tungsten makes sense for a lot of fishing applications. It’s heavier than lead, so a tungsten sinker of the same weight will be smaller than a lead sinker. And since tungsten sinkers are smaller than comparable lead or brass or tin or just about anything else, it’s a better choice for penetrating vegetation mats and may escape snags more readily. It adds less to the profile of baits, and anglers who believe that “less is more” when it comes to terminal tackle will appreciate that. Also, tungsten is denser than lead, so it’s going to be a little more sensitive and transmit more information to the angler through the fishing line and rod.

All of those traits, combined with increased regulations on traditional lead weights, have led to the rise of tungsten. But Crumrine is quick to note that, while it’s certainly among the hottest materials at Bullet Weights—a one-stop shop for sinkers whose catalog encompasses more than 3,400 products—tungsten isn’t the only lead alternative taking off.

The company’s Ultra Steel has been gaining popularity since its introduction in 1995. “We heard rumblings of regulations then. That was before there were any lead laws,” Crumrine tells. “My father wanted to be ahead of the game and be ready for something in case a ban did happen.”

Shortly after Ultra Steel hit the market, New Hampshire became the first state in the union to ban lead weights.

Crumrine says Ultra Steel remains popular. Anglers are also turning to other Bullet Weights materials like Ultra Tin as an alternative to lead. “We have depth to our product line,” he notes. “Our outlook has always been that we make fish sinkers and we want to provide whatever sinker a fisherman needs. Bullet Weights is the place to go for all of your sinker needs. You can get it all here in one place, whether it’s a traditional lead product or a high-quality alternative like tungsten, tin or Ultra Steel.”