best sea fishing weights

Sea fishing weights explained

Let’s look at each type of sea fishing weight and some situations when each kind is useful. These leads have been developed for specific purposes. We can take advantage of these design features to control the way rigs are presented and avoid lost tackle to snags.

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7. Torpedo / Beach Bomb leads

torpedo or beach bomb weight

Torpedo leads are most commonly used for mackerel feathering and for this reason are one of the most commonly used types of sea fishing weight. They are aerodynamic during the cast and create minimal water resistance when retrieving.

They can also be used on ledgering rigs when you want a rig to roll on the seabed in the current. These weights can be used when fishing over sand banks or in estuaries to find gulleys, as they will naturally move into deeper pockets on the seabed as the current rolls them along. These pockets are also popular with bass and many other species as they provide shelter from the current.

6. Clip down weights

break away sea fishing weight
Clip down weight for streamlined casting into calm waters.

Clip down weights allow you to cast out baits a long way without them falling off the hook. Squid and worm baits can easily come off the hook during a powerful cast. With a clip down lead the weight and bait are cast together. I’ll show you a photo below in case you haven’t seen this before.

When it hits the water, the lead takes most of the impact. In the air, the bait can’t fly all over the place. Once the lead hits the water, the impact causes the hook to be released. There’s nothing complicated about these they’re easy to use. Your hook length just needs to be the right length so your line isn’t too loose.

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5. Standard Gripper lead (bottom right)

sea fishing weights UK

The weight on the far right of the above image is a standard gripper lead. Gripper weights have wires that attach to the rig and secure it to the seabed. This is important because plain weights can be moved around by the tide, making it difficult to fish in certain conditions. A moving rig can easily get caught in snags, and a plain weight can drop into holes or cracks.

These are the cheapest gripper leads and are also the best at gripping the body, because the wires do not fold in when pressure is applied. These are useful when fishing on surf beaches or anywhere with lots of current. For instance, if your rigs are getting tangles because your leads are moving too much.

Gripper leads can also be used when fishing static from a boat. When lifted up and down off the bottom, they create disturbance on the sea bed, lifting up clouds of sand. A charter boat skipper out of Poole told us he finds this works very well for Plaice.

The disadvantage of these weights is they are very prone to snags, since the wires are fixed on the lead. The breakaway leads can prevent this.

4. Breakaway Gripper Leads / Impact Leads

break away gripper lead
Breakaway style gripper lead

One of the most popular types of gripper weights is the breakaway lead. These weights have wires that snap loose under pressure, making it easier to retrieve the rig. When they get snagged, the wires will fold in downwards. Very useful in rough ground. However, in extremely strong currents, a fixed wire (regular) gripper weight may be necessary. The force of the water can force the wires shut on these. You can also create a “semi-fixed grip weight” by tying an elastic band around a breakout weight. This way, the wires will still come loose under high pressure.

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3. Break away clip down gripper leads (different again!)

Gemini breakout system weights
Clip down gripper weight – streamlines baits, grips the bottom and breaks away when snagged.
breakaway clip down gripper leads

We’ve seen how a regular breakaway gripper lead works, allowing you to pull free of snags. We’ve also seen how clip down weights stop your baits falling off the hook and allow you to cast further. The breakaway clip down gripper weight (Gemini Breakout System) does both of these things at once. You will notice that the top of the lead has a flat piece of plastic. This helps shelter the bait from the impact of the water as it hits.

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2. Watch weights

sea fishing clock lead
Watch weight. Designed to grip sandy bottom. Can move but not much.

Watch weights are traditionally used over sand banks for species like Plaice. They have a large surface area so create a lot of sand disturbance on the seabed when pulled or bounced along it, which helps attract flatfish. They can also grip onto the sides of sandbanks. This can prevent you from getting rigs in a twist. A classic general purpose weights.

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1. Ball Weights

float fishing weight
Ball weights are used in float fishing rigs

Ball weights are used underneath floats. If the weight is too light for the float, the float sits sideways. If the weight is too heavy, the float sinks or sits too low in the water to be easily visible. They often come with floats in pre put together float fishing kits. The line is pushed through the middle of the weight, which allows it to run up and down the line freely. Ball weights can also be used when you want a free running rig, so that fish do not feel the tension on the line when they take the bait.

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