Lead Weights Shapes, Sizes And Applications


Lead weights come in hundreds of different shapes and are each made for specific fishing techniques, because it is often decisive for success which shape my lead has. This is especially true in currents, where coffin lead or a plate lead are ideal. A Tyrolean wood, on the other hand, is ideal for fishing spots with a high risk of stones getting caught. A ball lead rolls very easily over the bottom which can be desirable or undesirable.

Weights for fishing are available in different sizes and shapes for different conditions. Lead and weights for fishing have two purposes: on the one hand they serve as casting weights so that the rod is loaded and you can cast far, on the other hand they serve to keep the bait in one place in the water. In addition, floats must be weighted down to ensure that they stand properly in the water, usually with a lead weight. The lead in the water sinks, I guess I don’t have to tell anyone.

Table of Contents Choosing the right weight of leadThe most important types of lead for anglingPear leadSarg leadTrag leadPlate leadBall leadWalker leadDrop leadLead for carp fishingMeat redRoad leadTirolean woodBurning lead / claw leadAlternatives to lead: Lead-free weights

Selecting the right weight of lead

The right choice of lead depends on the conditions found in water. The lead should be able to withstand any current during bottom fishing and always remain in place. Otherwise it will drift to the next stone where it will be stuck. The result of this is, of course, that it hangs and every angler has certainly been annoyed by one of these.

Here are some examples of weights that are suitable for different waters:

  • For lakes light weights up to 20 grams are ideal
  • For flowing waters the conditions are too different a lead assortment of 20-80 grams is often sufficient
  • In large streams, such as the Rhine, weights around 180 grams are required in places,
  • When shore angling, weights of 80-300 grams are fished
  • When carp angling with self-hooking, weights of at least 80 grams should be chosen to achieve the self-hooking effect.

The most important lead forms presented for fishing

Pear lead

Pear lead is very universal and the standard form with which you are never completely wrong. Therefore they should not be missing in any fishing box. They stay in place relatively well when bottom fishing and their shape allows for long casts. Most pear-leads are equipped with swivels, but they are also available without one.    Another version with flattened sides can be seen on the right side of the picture. This one stays a bit better on the bottom in flowing waters.

Coffin Lead

Coffin Lead

Coffin Lead are designed for bottom fishing and with their flat shape they keep the assembly reliably in place even in the current, and they are also easy to cast. A standard lead which should not be missing in any box.

Trolling lead

There are different shapes of lead for trolling – the simplest is shown in the picture and can be easily wrapped into the line without changing the mounting.

For trolling with the downrigger you sometimes fish extra large lead balls with up to several kilograms.


Plate-lead behave similar to a flat stone in the current and therefore stay very well in place. The casting characteristics are not as good as with most other forms.

Ball lead

You can roll over the bottom of the water when the current is blowing, so when you are bottom fishing you are looking for a larger area to fish. Ball lead is also a good choice for float fishing.

Walker lead

Walker lead is ideal for fishing with baits that are dragged along the bottom or close to the bottom of a boat.    Due to their shape they hardly get caught. Classically they are often used to fish for walleye from a boat. This is the North American relative of the zander.


They are similar to bullet or pear lead, but have a hole in the middle. Typically they are used in pose fishing. They are rarely used for basic fishing. Especially when still fishing they are indispensable for many montages.

Lead for carp fishing

Actually not an own form, because there are many lead forms for carp fishing. Carps are smart fish and very suspicious. That is why carp lead is often camouflaged, such lead is also called camouflage lead. Most carp anglers fish with fixed lead montages where the fish hooks itself. The lead or weight should be at least 80 grams. For this purpose there are also simple stones with holes available, as these are particularly inconspicuous due to their natural shape

Lead shot

should not be missing in any fishing box. They are excellent for pose fishing for fading out even fine poses. They are also sometimes used for bottom fishing, e.g. to determine the height at which a floating bait is offered.

Flow lead

Similar to pear lead, but flattened on one side and with a rise in the middle. See picture on the right. They are, as the name suggests, designed to stay in the flow.

Other shapes: Since lead is relatively easy and cheap to produce and can be formed into other shapes, there are many other specialty lead types.

Tiroler Hölzl

They were originally designed to fish for trout in deep pools of rivers. However, they are now probably most commonly used for muddy waters, as they prevent the line from sinking in. They also protect from hangers on stony ground. They are my favourite lead, even if they cost a bit more.

Surf Lead / Claw Lead

Claw Lead are on the one hand designed for long casts, but on the other hand with their claws made of wire they provide a safe hold in the surf or strong currents. Many are also equipped with hook clips, these hold the hook in place until the lead hits the water surface. This protects the hook bait and prevents tangling during casting.

Alternatives to lead: Lead-free weights

It doesn’t always have to be lead. In Norway, lead is now even banned when fishing and you have to fish with other materials.

Tungsten: often sold as tungsten, which is exactly the same material or chemical element. Its density is even higher than lead, so it sinks even faster and is heavier with a smaller diameter. It is often used to weight down flies or streamers. These weights are also very popular as cartridge lead when fishing with the Carolina or Texas Rig. In terms of price they are significantly above normal lead.

Brass: is not quite as heavy as lead, but is still an excellent alternative. It consists mainly of copper and zinc and can be bought in any hardware store. With a metal drill you can produce simple rod-shaped lead, which is ideal for drop-shotting. Also the specialized trade offers weights for fishing made of brass.

Stones: are probably the archetype of weights for fishing. Only the processing without the right tools is a bit laborious. But with the right drill you can simply drill a hole in a stone of the desired weight and then fix a cheap swivel in it with hot glue. Such weights are even available ready for carp fishing. Because they are very natural and have less chasing effect. Self-built, these weights are even almost free of charge.

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