Split Shot & Sinking Agents
Fly fishing split shot in various sizes including lead-free split shot. Also tungsten putty, tungsten split shot, leader sinking treatments, and even the old school Twist-On lead strips. Products from Anchor, Loon, and Hareline.
Fly fishing split shot, tungsten split shot, tungsten putty, and leader sinking agents can be the most valuable accessory of your fishing day in some fly fishing scenarios. If you’re nymph fishing and are relying solely on the sinking properties of the fly, chances are you could be catching more fish. Learning to add and remove weight to effectively fish your nymphs at the best depth is critical to nymphing success. Most often, the weight of the fly (with bead heads, cones, etc.) isn’t the correct amount of weight and should be used in conjunction with weight on the leader.
Importance of Weight When Nymph Fishing – Split shot used in fly fishing is smaller than regular split shot found in a general tackle store. Small to downright tiny split shot is used to achieve the proper depth of your nymphs. An assortment of split shot sizes will put you in the game quickly. Become a master of achieving the most effective depth without disrupting the natural drift of the fly. Usually, the proper depth is just off the bottom but we don’t want the fly “sticking” to the bottom because of too much weight. Split shot allows the angler to easily add and remove split shot. Carrying an assortment of split shot sizes and continuously adjusting the amount of weight for each area you are fishing will greatly improve the nymph fishing success of many anglers on the water.
Split Shot – The small split shot used in fly fishing should be easy to attach to the leader and then remove later as you adjust the amount of weight. To remove a piece of split shot, use your forceps to pinch the shot sideways against the cut in the shot. In other words, each jaw of the forceps should be squeezing on each side of the cut in the lead shot so that as you squeeze the shot, the cut in the shot slightly opens. Then insert your finger nail into the cut and pry the shot open for removal off your leader. Place the shot back in its container for reuse later on. Some split shot is “double cut”, meaning it has a second cut opposite the main cut. This second cut is so that the angler can pinch the secondary cut to open the primary cut to open and detach from the leader. We find that this usually doesn’t work very well so the old finger nail version tends to work better.
Lead-Free Split Shot – Some fly fishing locations don’t allow the use of lead split shot. If this is the case, there are still options. Lead-Free split shot is usually made of tin. It isn’t as heavy as lead so you end up using much larger pieces to get the sink rate necessary. The second option would be tungsten putty or tungsten split shot. Tungsten is expensive but it is really dense so just a small shot or two will sink better even faster than lead. Tungsten putty is a cool product and is especially handy in fishing area where snagging the bottom is a constant problem. The putty doesn’t snag as often and if it does, it tears right out, hopefully leaving the rest of your rigging in place.
Leader Sinking Agents – An often overlooked but very valuable product for wary fish, leader sinking agents allow your leader to break the water surface tension and sink rather than floating on top of the surface when presenting dry flies. Just getting your leader below the surface makes a tremendous difference in the visibility of the leader from underwater. A slight coating of Loon Henry’s Sinket or Snake River Mud and your leader and fly will be in ultra-stealth mode. Also a great idea for sinking leaders faster while nymphing and for applying to flies to help them sink better.
- Anchor Shot Dispenser - Big Box $13.99
- Anchor Shot Dispenser - Large $6.50
- Anchor Shot Dispenser -- Standard $6.50
- Barrel Swivels - Size 12 $1.89
- Footballs Lead Free Shot $9.95
- Loon Henry's Sinket $5.50
- Loon Snake River Mud $6.50
- Tungsten Split Shot $7.00
- Tungsten Tacky Weight $8.65
- Twistons Line Sinkers $2.99