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Getting companies to produce cheap alternatives to lead

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First I don't want this thread to turn into an environmental debate or just telling everyone to suck it up and shell out the dough for tungsten.

 

Seeing that some states are banning some or all lead, are started to try and figure out what would happen here. Looking at the most common replacement, tungsten, I  quickly determined for most of my fishing, snaggy rivers where you lose a lot of jigs over the year, tungsten at say a minimum of about a buck a jig would get pricey quick. Folks that walleye fish rivers like the Mississippi could go through a ton of jigs in one trip. Being one with a modest fishing budget, I would definately have to change how I fish rivers if this ever went through with tungsten as the only mainstream alternative. 

 

This is got me to thinking about the bigger picture of our hobby, all the kids, and adults, that may not be as fortunate as us in life that may become priced out and don't take up fishing as a pastime if this ban took place. I would like to figure out how we could get companies to make stuff like weights, ball head jigs, shakey heads, bass jigs, spinner baits, and many others in cheaper non 

Lead materials. Eagle claw has started selling steel sinkers at Walmart and I have picked some up to try. While not as cheap as lead, they are still pretty reasonable. 

 

I sent an email out without a response and then figured that might not be the best way, as I am sure they get emails complaining about the use of lead. Any ideas? I think the time might be right and if some major companies got behind this and marketed it heavily, they may be able to make this work. Or maybe I am wrong and everyone will stick with lead until they are told they can no longer use it. I know I would have a difficult time giving up my slider jigs, but they would be legal some places due to the size of the hook. 

 

Cheers

cgolf

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cgolf: Here in MA, lead weights or jigs under one ounce are a no-no. My approach is to purchase from vendors that carry non-lead products. Nothing gets a vendor's attention like customer support.  And it is tough to find appropriate equipment, I admit, but I did find Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp Tin Bass Jigs at Dick's Sporting Goods for about $3.50 each and I can say from experience that the green pumpkin with a 3-inch Chigger Craw catch fish ... well, until I set the hook on a many-pound obstruction and lost it! Will be trying black/red and black/blue.  The price is less than many other tungsten jigs although I do intend to make a small order from Siebert Outdoors. I e-mailed them regarding their tungsten products and got a very helpful response very quickly which gives me faith in their customer service (something that is critical to me).  I am hopeful that vendors will expand their selections of tungsten, bismuth, and other ecologically friendly products as demand increases.  By the way, I got the steel sinkers at Walmart too and while bulky, they work. I'm debating whether or not to paint them to make them less obtrusive. And, as I mentioned in another forum, I suggest getting a small kitchen magnet to help sort the steel from the lead. Might even help if a game warden happens to ask about your sinkers and jig heads.

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The problem is 2-fold. The first thing is the density, the ultra steel and tin don't have the same density as lead so comparable weight sizes in those forms tend to be pretty large. The second is cost of raw material, I purchase hard lead through a place called Rotometals, lead is around $2.00 - $2.25 per pound most places, the tin/bismuth alloy that is often used is $14.00 - $14.75 per pound. Right there is a cost difference of 7 times as much, and buying in bulk only lowers it slightly and we all know Tungstun is better but that is even higher in cost because the manufacturing process is more involved along with material cost. So I hate to be the bearer of bad news but unless lead is banned in every state, or a majority of them, then there won't be many alternatives and the costs associated with them are still going to be high for quite some time. While there is increased demand the simple fact is that it isn't even close to be able to effectively lower the price, and my guess is that even is it would end up lower, it will still be a minimum 3 to 4 times the price of lead so having something even close to the price of a lead jig will probably never happen.

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smalljaw67: I think you're spot on.  The lead ban is a reality here, so we just have to deal with it. And, yup, it's gonna cost more for the more exotic materials, no matter what. I guess the up side for me is that I'm not good enough to be able to blame the size of my weight or jig head for my failure to catch fish so at this point, I can deal with the larger size of the steel or tin components. Hence, my recommendation for using them.  (Not that I have a choice.) 

 

I like the more compact tungsten products, but to be honest, i don't really know if they make me a better fisherman.  It would be interesting to hear from the more skilled guys on the subject.  Oh, and the lakes I fish get so weedy, it doesn't matter what size the jig head is, it's gonna get a limit on weeds.  Still, I'm glad there are companies that produce the tungsten jigs and will support them. I'm just starting to have confidence in jig fishing and am not going to give up. 

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Lead is cheap, easy to work with, and dense, so in that respect it is the perfect choice for sinkers and lures. Unfortunatelly, its also a very toxic metal that we as anglers are continually depositing in the environment to the detriment of the health of humans and other creatures. We aren't going to find a material that will rival lead in cost. What will drive down the price of alternate materials is a ban, which will bring innovation and scale in the production of lead free products.

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2 hours ago, smalljaw67 said:

The problem is 2-fold. The first thing is the density, the ultra steel and tin don't have the same density as lead so comparable weight sizes in those forms tend to be pretty large. The second is cost of raw material, I purchase hard lead through a place called Rotometals, lead is around $2.00 - $2.25 per pound most places, the tin/bismuth alloy that is often used is $14.00 - $14.75 per pound. Right there is a cost difference of 7 times as much, and buying in bulk only lowers it slightly and we all know Tungstun is better but that is even higher in cost because the manufacturing process is more involved along with material cost. So I hate to be the bearer of bad news but unless lead is banned in every state, or a majority of them, then there won't be many alternatives and the costs associated with them are still going to be high for quite some time. While there is increased demand the simple fact is that it isn't even close to be able to effectively lower the price, and my guess is that even is it would end up lower, it will still be a minimum 3 to 4 times the price of lead so having something even close to the price of a lead jig will probably never happen.

 

I am realistic that it won't as cheap and will be bigger, but I am hoping that it will be somewhere between tungsten and lead, but closer to the lead price. Like reason said, if lead free products become more mainstream it will definitely bring costs down as production goes up. Being greedy, I want tackle prices to stay low for me, but truly want them to stay low so everyone that wants to can fish. A fishing license is a bargain for what we get out of it:)

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Tungsten is probably worse for the environment than lead.

 

Allen 

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1 minute ago, Munkin said:

Tungsten is probably worse for the environment than lead.

 

Allen 

 

Tungsten?  Yes, it's nasty.  Tungsten Carbide, which is what they use to make weights is inert.

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4 hours ago, smalljaw67 said:

 The second is cost of raw material, I purchase hard lead through a place called Rotometals, lead is around $2.00 - $2.25 per pound most places, the tin/bismuth alloy that is often used is $14.00 - $14.75 per pound.

 

One of my ongoing projects is to create a tungsten powder/epoxy jighead like Keitech. The tungsten powder was like $60 for a pound so it is not cheap.

 

Allen

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8 minutes ago, Munkin said:

The tungsten powder was like $60 for a pound so it is not cheap.

 

Ouch!  I'll be looking forward to your results, Allen.

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What's wrong with Brass?

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Mankind & J Franco: Dang! Never knew it was tungsten carbide! Thanks for the info. Only problem is that now I have to remember two words, not one. I'll probably forget and just keep saying, "tungsten," even though I now know better.  Good stuff though!

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The ammo industry can serve as a potential guide line for the future of lead in fishing tackle.  Years ago, lead BB's were used in almost all shotgun ammo.  You can still find it in ammo now, but there's a lot of alternatives on the shelf now (steel, bismuth, tungsten, etc).  This is mostly because of specific state and/or federal law and bans on toxic shot.

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I ended up shrinking my arsenal to the basics and switching to Tungsten this year in accordance with MA law. I definitely see (or should I say feel) the difference. However, I have used the steel and brass weights before and still have some. I think both are a decent alternative despite the larger size. I do find it strange that there aren't any (at least not that I've seen or found) brass jigs? They make weights out of the stuff but I've never heard of a brass bass jig being made. 

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16 minutes ago, MassYak85 said:

I ended up shrinking my arsenal to the basics and switching to Tungsten this year in accordance with MA law. I definitely see (or should I say feel) the difference. However, I have used the steel and brass weights before and still have some. I think both are a decent alternative despite the larger size. I do find it strange that there aren't any (at least not that I've seen or found) brass jigs? They make weights out of the stuff but I've never heard of a brass bass jig being made. 

 

I wonder if it is because it needs to be machined, which would be difficult for a jig. Maybe for a system like the old lindy exchange jigs would work?

10 hours ago, J Francho said:

 

Tungsten?  Yes, it's nasty.  Tungsten Carbide, which is what they use to make weights is inert.

I will try to find an article I saved, I thought that it stated that the process to make it isn't the friendliest to the environment. I believe the article was in Badger sportsman 

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11 hours ago, cgolf said:

I will try to find an article I saved, I thought that it stated that the process to make it isn't the friendliest to the environment.

 

I don't doubt it at all.  Pretty much all tungsten fishing weights are made in China.  Their track record with the environment is well known. 

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