We are all guilty of it. You’re at the boat ramp standing around waiting while guys retrieve or launch or prepare to weigh-in. You’re checking out everyone’s boat, and you peak over and check out all the rods fanned out across the deck. It’s a natural. Everyone wants to see if you’re throwing the same thing the other guy is throwing. Since I use Magnesium2 rods from Kistler, I get a lot of looks my way while I am looking the other. Inevitably, I seem to always get a couple questions about the rods, but recently, even more about what’s tied on my flipping sticks. They’re asking about Tungsten, and whether spending all of that money on Tungsten weights is worth it.
First, let me address why I use Tungsten. The first and most important reason is its sensitivity over lead. Tungsten is a denser material than lead. That means that it’s harder than lead so when it makes contact, it will translate the bottom composition and structure to your fingertips. It plain gives me a better idea of what the bait is doing down there. What I really like is that it transfers every little thing it touches through your rod. That includes light bites from finicky fish- you feel every little thing. I remember when I was new to tungsten. I know I set the hook on a lot of things that weren’t fish. It’s natural when you first experience such an increase in sensitivity. But once I got used to it, I just did not want to use anything else.
Another reason I use Tungsten over lead is the size (profile) of the tungsten weight itself. When I used lead, I typically wouldn’t go much bigger than a ¼ oz weight when flipping heavy cover. The reason for was it takes so much more lead to get that 3/8 oz or ½ oz size. With Tungsten, you can slip those heavy weights in and out of thick cover easier because they have a much smaller profile than their lead counterparts. With those heavier weights going by the fish, you can get those reaction bites much easier than guys flipping with lead weights.
For those who are curious, Tungsten is atomic number 74 with the symbol W. The word tungsten comes from the Swedish language “tung sten”, which directly translates “heavy stone”. It is found naturally on Earth but mostly in a compound state. It was first identified as an element in 1781, and isolated as a metal in 1783. Its density is 19.3 times that of water, and about 1.7 times higher than lead.
I actually was a little late on the Tungsten switch. Fishing on the Ohio River my whole life never gave me a reason to flip big ½ oz Texas-rigged baits into flooded bushes and laydowns along the Ohio’s tributaries. I also will admit, I didn’t want to pay for Tungsten. One day while at the Cabelas in Louisville KY, I picked up a pack of Eco Pro Tungsten Flipping weights- just to try them out- to see if I was really missing out. I paired them with my favorite flipping bait at the time and to my surprise, I was instantly hooked on the size advantage and even more so on the sensitivity.
I went on to contact Eco Pro around a year later and have been working with them ever since. Other than the Bass Pro brand, Eco Pro is the only Tungsten I have used, and I couldn’t see using any other brand. So let me tell you WHY I chose Eco Pro as my Tungsten of choice.
First, there is the quality of the product. All Eco Pro weights are insert free and they won’t nick up your line. That right there will save you money, save you time on the water, and most importantly save the fish that might have otherwise broken off on that nicked line. Next are the colors they offer. You can match the color of any plastic to the color of one of their weights. Personally, I stick with black most of the time, but if you like the bait to match the weight Eco Pro has them all. Speaking of the paint, Eco Pro’s process really resists chipping- making it seem that the black on my weights seems to last forever. It really takes a lot to chip the paint off of those things. While I focus primarily on their weights, they have a variety of products that substitute Tungsten for lead including jigs, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits.
Tungsten was first embraced in the wake of a number of states banning lead. A number of substitute metals were introduced during the lead ban period but Tungsten was found to have true performance advantage due to it being heavier per common profile and it was harder than lead. Brass is another metal that is hard but it is not as heavy as lead causing you to require bigger profiles. I do like the fact that Tungsten has favorable environmental aspect vs. lead but it is the performance that has me sold.
No doubt, Tungsten is a little bit more expensive than lead, but in my opinion you always get what you pay for when it comes to fishing. I would rather pay a little bit more for Tungsten and potentially catch more fish when the bite is light than miss potential fish and, in the process, lose a check because of it. I hope this helps you with your flipping and pitching game because it sure helped me. Keep those lines tight and Live the Passion!
iBass360 Pro Staff and staff writer Bret Dawson is from Carrollton KY where he fishes his home water, the Ohio River Systems. When not tempting big bass with soft plastics, buzz baits and crank baits, Bret represents Xcite Baits, Kistler Rods, Ardent Reels, Elite Rod Sleeves. 2K Jigs, Peregrine 250 Boat Care Products, Eco Pro Tungsten, and KMR Lure Design as part of their Pro/Field Staff teams. Bret fishes the BASS Federation and various regional tournaments in the mid-South. Check out Bret’s Fishing Page on FB.