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Travis Gasper

First time using tungsten weights

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Yesterday the bite was tough!! Wacky rig, whopper plopper, Ned rig, frog.... nothing was working. 5 hours went by with no bites, so I decided to try a Texas Rig with a pack of tungsten weights I bought the night before and a 7" ribbon tail Powerbait work. I have almost no experience Texas rigging, as I mostly just wacky rig 5" senkos as far as plastics go. First cast out, I saw my line twitch twice on the drop but felt no tug at all. I went to set the hook, and there was nothing! A pike had bit me off and there went a $2 weight. I was mad! Now I'm really contemplating if tungsten is worth it or just stick with lead. Thoughts?

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You can get small tungsten for way less than $2.

I think it's great for punching, but for everything else it's hard to justify. 

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Haha man I swear northerns have an eye for tungsten. However I think it's worth the few bite offs that do happen. The fact that you don't have some huge sinker out in front of everything I think helps it to look more natural, plus with it being denser it really helps transfer everything your feeling on the bottom. It's also a lot harder than lead so it doesn't deform. The only bullet/flippin' weights I use anymore that aren't tungsten are the really small ones where the benefits are not as great. 

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i buy my tungstens in bulks of 100s with a few friends and i get get them VERY cheap. my 1/2oz bullet sinkers are about 80 cents each and my 1/4 and 3/16oz ones are about 60 cents each

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If you're running into a lot of pike bites, chances are you're in the wrong spot for targeting bass.  While their territories intersect, pike are usually in deeper cooler water.  They are territorial, and will either eat or chase off bass.  Bass can tolerate warmer water, will move out of the way.  Lastly, there are some spots so good that they hold both, and the pike can be a nuisance. You can use tie-able bit proof leader like Cortland Toothy Critter without sacrificing the bass bite, while protecting your tungsten weight. 

Here's rock bass, where you can see the Cortland Leader.  For every bass we were catching, we'd catch two pickerel, so we added a leader.  The LMB and SMB were caught on the same trip, with the same rig.

 

Cortland.jpg

Cortland2.jpg

Cortland3.jpg

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The crazy thing is, all the pike I encountered were shallow. I kept getting blow ups on my frog working it through lily pads, and they were pike! I had one well over 25" jump all the way out of the water for my frog. I've never seen that happen before. And this is a lake that I fish at least 2 or 3 times a year so I know it well. Very strange day of fishing it was. 

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They will hunt in the shallows.  I've seen it too.

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buy your Tungsten on Ebay. Good sellers have heavy 1 oz plus which are often blemishes or silver with scuff marks from factory, and one guy had 12 for 36 bucks of a certain brand with inserts. If Tungsten does not have inserts, I don't care what the company says, it is sharp, will cut your line from BPS weights, Strike King etc...You can also just coat your line but Smaller weights under 1/4 in lead or brass are small enough imo...But you can buy top quality tungsten online in 3/8 $10 for 4-5 painted weighs, 3-4 for screw in tunsten.

The guy with 5/16 and 3/16, 1/4 with like 2.90 shipping, he barely adds extra money for shipping so the $1.50 or $2.00 is worth it, they are top quality and perfect color, shape etc...

Tungsten is dropping in price big time. I would not pay more than $5 for a 1.5 anymore. Ebay will have them, or just google it. one company sells 2 1.5 oz for $11 free shipping from Long Island and they make quality stuff.....Weights are really good.

Tungsten is only needed imo for punching because 1 oz plus get too big, but I use it now for all since lower profile looks better and I like smaller weights, feel is not something I really notice unless using braid. Then Fraying is dangerous if weight is sliding, make sure inside is smooth, don't trust any brand that says no insert needed, it will break when you swing at the worst times. 

Just my take.

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1 hour ago, J Francho said:

If you're running into a lot of pike bites, chances are you're in the wrong spot for targeting bass.  While their territories intersect, pike are usually in deeper cooler water.  They are territorial, and will either eat or chase off bass.  Bass can tolerate warmer water, will move out of the way.  Lastly, there are some spots so good that they hold both, and the pike can be a nuisance. You can use tie-able bit proof leader like Cortland Toothy Critter without sacrificing the bass bite, while protecting your tungsten weight. 

Here's rock bass, where you can see the Cortland Leader.  For every bass we were catching, we'd catch two pickerel, so we added a leader.  The LMB and SMB were caught on the same trip, with the same rig.

 

Cortland.jpg

Cortland2.jpg

Cortland3.jpg

Great photos, John. Is that the Rochester bass triple crown? ; )

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I'm 100% in the opposite camp - I absolutely refuse to use a tungsten weight with an insert.  An insert is a retrofit to a badly made product. Never have any issues with Excalibur, Strike King, or Picasso weights, though I have had several issues with weights that use inserts.  Mostly the inserts falling out or wearing out.

As far usage goes, I'm in NY, and sale of lead weights is banned here. That leaves bismuth, tin, brass, steel, and tungsten.  Tungsten works the best out of these choices, unless there's special circumstances, like using a really thick headed worm or plastic, and a light weight.  I'll use a 1/8 steel bullet with a 10" Power Worm.  The bigger size matches the worm better, helps it come through the grass better.

3 minutes ago, fishindad said:

Great photos, John. Is that the Rochester bass triple crown? ; )

Pretty much!  Oneida Lake Triple Crown!

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I love tungsten, I was hesitant at first but there's no going back now

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1 hour ago, J Francho said:

If you're running into a lot of pike bites, chances are you're in the wrong spot for targeting bass.  While their territories intersect, pike are usually in deeper cooler water.  They are territorial, and will either eat or chase off bass.  Bass can tolerate warmer water, will move out of the way.  Lastly, there are some spots so good that they hold both, and the pike can be a nuisance. You can use tie-able bit proof leader like Cortland Toothy Critter without sacrificing the bass bite, while protecting your tungsten weight. 

Although I agree with this statement, up here it only seems to apply to some of the larger northerns. Around me at least, you'll always find northerns shallow. Maybe it's due to the available cover and forage situation over here. It could be for a reason I don't know either. All I know is their habitats intersect A LOT around here. It's not uncommon to catch one species one cast, and the other the next. Great example of that comes from the ones pictured below...caught them about 15' apart

Not to throw too many avocado's at this thread, but that's a good tip with the toothy critter wire. Do you tie it directly to your line, and if so what knot do you use?

IMAG1113.jpgIMAG1112.jpg 

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13 minutes ago, WIGuide said:

Not to throw too many avocado's at this thread, but that's a good tip with the toothy critter wire. Do you tie it directly to your line, and if so what knot do you use?

I use an Alberto to tie direct to the mainline if it's braid.  A Uni to Uni seems to work better with mono-filament lines, regardless of material.

For the shallow pike thing....I know quite a few Adirondack Mountains lakes what you describe is more the case.  They are often rockier, and cooler.  Maybe that's the difference?  The pike are deep there, too.  In fact, they're freaking everywhere! The bays off the Great Lakes, and in the Finger Lakes, the big northerns are usually on the deep ledge after the weed line breaks.  It might be also that many of these waters have tiger muskies.  They are always shallow.

And speaking pike, yours is "cute" :P  Here's a shallow water,  kayak pike, 8# CXX, no leader, on a tiny crank:

pike2.jpg

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2 hours ago, J Francho said:

For every bass we were catching, we'd catch two pickerel, so we added a leader.  The LMB and SMB were caught on the same trip, with the same rig.

 

Cortland2.jpg

 

You look a lot younger than I remember, Francho...

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Just now, fishballer06 said:

You look a lot younger than I remember, Francho...

Old pic.

 

 

 

 

 

Of my oldest son, lmao.

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Ive decided for myself, that I will only consider using tungsten if I either, needed weight heavier than 1/4oz, or if I were to be punching through weeds(which of course would require weight heavier than 1/4oz).   Outside of that, I have been pleased with painted lead made by Bullet Weights.  

That's just my preference.

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Thanks for everybody's input. I think I'll keep using tungsten but maybe look at eBay for a deal. As stated before, bass and pike live side by side up here so it's just a risk I'm gonna have to take. Better than having my braid tore up by lead weights I suppose. 

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13 hours ago, Travis Gasper said:

Better than having my braid tore up by lead weights I suppose.

Lead shouldn't tear up your braid.

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1/4 & smaller I throw lead. ;)

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17 minutes ago, Catt said:

1/4 & smaller I throw lead. ;)

Not sure about OP, but it's worth noting that's not an option everywhere... States in the northeast with Loon populations have outlawed lead sinkers smaller than a certain weight.  I know that NH has come close to (if they haven't already) banning ANY lead-weighted hook - including jigheads, etc - below a certain size.

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59 minutes ago, J Francho said:

Lead shouldn't tear up your braid.

I've heard lead bullet weights can fray braid, that's why people prefer the smooth painted tungsten. I have very little experience with weights.

17 minutes ago, Catt said:

1/4 & smaller I throw lead. ;)

1/4 tungsten is what I was using with 10lb braid. 

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3 minutes ago, Travis Gasper said:

I've heard lead bullet weights can fray braid, that's why people prefer the smooth painted tungsten. I have very little experience with weights.

1/4 tungsten is what I was using with 10lb braid. 

Ya really a 1/4 oz weight can cause enough friction to fray braid?

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Since Mass has a lead ban, I made the switch to tungsten this year. For anything under 1/.4 I still use brass weights though. 

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You can also check out Siebert, he has some good prices on tungsten.

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