Wild Ways: The Nonlead Tackle Advantage

Excerpted from N.H. Wildlife Journal magazine, May/June 2004

Click here for "Keep Getting the Lead Out: It's the Law!"

nonlead tackle alternativesGear up for prime fishing time and pay a visit to your local tackle shop for the latest selection of nonlead jigs and sinkers. A few years ago, lead tackle was standard. Now we know that lead is a toxic substance — a health hazard for both people and wildlife.

Luckily, today you can find vast array of inexpensive alternatives to lead tackle that offer technical benefits to the angler while keeping our waterways lead-free.

Fish and Game tackle titan Mark Beauchesne notes that many nontoxic materials such as steel, brass and bismuth are harder than lead and are less likely to get hung up on rocks. Some tackle materials are denser than lead, which gives them a smaller profile; also, some have a lower melting point, which allows for much finer detail.

Nonlead tackle also makes a real racket underwater — a huge benefit to anglers. Beauchesne notes that fish pick up sound vibrations through their lateral line, and use them to locate prey — so a product whose sound travels a long distance when bounced off the bottom is a sure-fire fish attractant. A top noisemaking choice is a "brass-and-glass" combination — a glass or plastic bead between a swivel and a sinker.

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