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Columbia Craw

The benefits of hollow core pencil lead.

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My buddy Brian and I were going through my terminal tackle and discussing the merits of each item.  He got to a partial spool of 1/4 inch pencil lead and looked puzzled and asked me why my steelhead weight was in my bass stuff.  So I explained to him the applications and he agreed it needed to be in his boat as well. With that conversation and it being winter, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the forum for what they are worth. In the PNW every tackle dealer carries 3/16 and 1/4 inch diameter rolled pencil lead for steel head drift fishing, a common sport here in my region. It's actually inexpensive and comes sold by spools or by the linear foot. Here's how I use it.

 

Drop Shot:

 

I fish the Columbia River which has an incredible amount of volcanic rock and that structure eats drop shot sinkers.  When I get into that kind of location I use hollow core in place of a swiveled drop shot weight.  I just put the bottom end of the dropper through the hole until I see the end come through and crimp the top tight with my needle nose pliers. The weight has a direct connection, can be cut to achieve the exact amount of weight desired and when it gets hung up the setup minus weight can be pulled free. Slide and crimp and you are back in the game.  If I choose, i'll some time bend the weight into an arc and this helps snagging issues further. It's that simple.

 

Dragging Rig:

 

This is much closer to the steelhead application. On cleaner bottoms I tie a barrel swivel to the main line.  I then tie a long leader, often about 30 inches with a Trilene knot but leave the tag end two to three inches long at the swivel. This is what I crimp my hollow core too.  I tie my appropriate hook and add the lure I want to drag.  I drag minnie Rage Craws, SK Rodents, Baby Brush Hogs, Fat Robo worms, reapers, tubes or french fries. The nice aspect of this rig is it allows the lure to move freely in current and looks natural.  You have to look for line wear and re tie more often than some rigs. The fish, once pinned are separated from any weight to be used as leverage. The hook up ratio is very good.

 

Finesse Carolina:

 

As it sounds. I select a length of hollow core pencil head, slide my main line through and add a bead before tying to the barrel swivel.  I ties my leader at the desired length and add my soft plastic lure of choice. I know you can just use an egg singer but the slender pencil lead come through vegetation like no tomorrow. 

 

I'm sure there's other ways to capitalize on HC but these have been tried and true for me. I hope it helps another member catch a few for this season, when ever it gets here. It was 27 degrees this morning.

 

Doug 

 

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1 hour ago, Hank. said:

I've never heard of that. What is/are slinky(s)?

 

Slinkys are a weight system made with parachute cord and lead shot.  You cut the lengths, melt the end, fill the cord with shot, insert a snap swivel and shrink melt that end to the snap swivel.  The are very effective Don't transmit any feel of the bottom.  I make my own but never use them for a bass fishing application.

 

I can provide pictures if there is interest.

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34 minutes ago, Columbia Craw said:

I can provide pictures if there is interest.

Not necessary for me, thanks, I get the idea. I was just curious.

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Sounds like a good alternative to drop shot weight. Thanks for the tip.

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I use lead free solder the same way. Bass guys get fluxed whenever thinking outside the (JDM) box is brought up... 

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I don’t fish for salmon but bought lead core to use as weight for my system.

Mine is solid lead core not hollow. The benefit of lead core is, it is pretty easy to bend to shape you want. I use mine mostly dropshot weight, jika rig and weight added to hook with shrink tube. I can cut to whatever weight I want and shape it as skinny or sometime flat for skipping.

I even make some to wrap around worm in place of o-ring for wacky rig.

With all these now I don’t do it anymore. I still have a whole bunch of equipment like swivel with quick grip, rattle tube and 3/8 solid lead core . I found it is more time consuming. I just simplify and bought everything finished for now.

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Good stuff - thanks!

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I have a partial roll in my steelhead gear and never considered using it for dropshot. Thanks for the tip!

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I went to Walmart to buy some sinkers and saw the solid and hollow core lead wires. I saw them before but never got the idea till today. With these for so cheap and versatile, why I buy any sinkers again? I have been looking for cylinder sinkers in vain, these are and beyond! Cut a piece from these wires, I get any kind of sinker I need.

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