How To Buy Fishing Weights

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How To Buy Fishing Weights

Leads and weights are a crucial part of the tackle armoury as they help pull the bait to the correct depth; that is to where the fish are feeding. As they are usually made of lead and this commodity is now a very expensive one, it is worth doing some groundwork to find the best value when purchasing them.

Lead has become so valuable that anglers are increasingly making their own leads and weights. There is a wide range of DIY lead weight moulds and kits to help you get the right size and shape.

There are other materials used in weights although lead is the most common.

Types of fishing weights

Split shot

These are the smallest lead weights. You simply slide them onto the cast or line and nip them shut.

Rubber core

These are longer and narrower than split shot. They consist of split lead but with a rubber core that allows the angler to move the weight up and down the line as required.

Worm weights

Usually put onto the line just above the hook. Used to help present artificial worms and other soft baits. Greatly enhance the casting distance and the presentation of the bait.

Pyramid weights

Used in surf and onshore fishing. Can be up to 8 ounces in weight. Their primary function is to hold the bait on the bed of the sea in heavy flow or currents.

Egg weights

Used for bottom fishing. Threaded onto the line using a swivel. Help indicate when a fish has taken at good depths in big currents.

Bell weights

Shore angler’s favourite. Can be very heavy: up to 8 ounces. Teardrop shape prevents snagging. Have a brass loop at the top which allows the angler to attach a swivel if needed. Help distance casting in high winds.

Bank weights

Generally the biggest of all weights. Flattened into an octagonal shape at the sides to stop them rolling in the current.

Whilst value is important, lower cost options can be a false economy in the long term. If the attachments such as swivels and rings are not of a high quality then they can break and a whole rig can be lost at the bottom of the fishery.

How heavy should your weight be?

Where the science of weighting tackle really gets technical is with carp and other freshwater coarse fishing.

There are different weights and leads for different depths and different tackle rigs.

Much will depend on:

  • how the angler wishes to fish the swim
  • what the fish are taking
  • what the conditions are like.

If the bed of the fishery is weedy then a different rig is required to that used for a bed of pebbles or gravel.

The names of leads are often baffling to the amateur but do not be concerned with those as much as:

  • the weight of the lead
  • the coating it has
  • the method of attachment
  • its shape.

Weights for standard carp fishing tend to run between 1.5 and 5 ounces in weight. The different weights and leads will come in different shapes and a range of attachment methods.

These attachments are designed to be placed at different parts of the rig and so help position the bait in the right place on the bed of the fishery or in the water above the bed.

There is also a range of options for different conditions that prevent leads being snagged by weed or difficult rocks.

The names are unusual; Flat Pear Bomb, Distance Tear Drop, Tournament Distance, Square Barrel, Back leads, Stumpy Pear Inline, Gripper, Riser Leads, Small Long Pears and so on.

Know your fish

To make a wise selection of fishing weight, the angler needs to understand the fishery and the fish. Anglers always like to be prepared for different conditions so buy a large collection of leads for different situations.

Despite all the different names and designs, all leads and weights have specific roles. The wrong lead can push the bait deep into the silt and make it virtually redundant.

Equally a badly appointed weight could mean that the fish takes at a strange angle and is badly hooked. The angler with weights that are badly positioned or too heavy may find that the casting of the rig is falling short of the mark.

Swivel or inline weights

It is therefore very important to select the right weight of lead to the job required. There are broadly two types of lead: The Swivel and the Inline lead.

The swivel lead as its name suggests is a lead with a metal loop embedded at one end of the lead. To this can be attached a snap swivel. Swivel leads generally come with snap swivels attached.

The inline lead has a hole through the core of the lead for the line to slip through as opposed to a swivel attachment at the end. Both types are designed for very specific purposes.

With an inline lead the angler is probably fishing a hard bottomed fishery of clay, compact sand or gravel. When cast, the inline lead will hit the water first but because of the hardness of the bed and the shape and position of the lead it will not penetrate the bed of the swim.

Most inline leads have the weight distributed towards the hook link end of the rig. This greatly increases hooking capability; when a fish takes and extends the hook link it will meet the majority of weight in the lead and increase the chances of a strong hold. A very popular inline lead is the Nash Inline Pear which is probably the lead most regularly used in the UK.

With a swivel lead the angler will be fishing when the bed of the fishery is soft bottomed. This might be silt or mud of some kind. An inline lead has a tendency to drive into the water hard then dive to the bottom and very often, if the bed is soft, it will bury the bait and make it useless. The swivel lead, feathers the rig to the right position the bed without pushing it into the bed of the fishery. Swivel leads are often used on Helicopter or free-running rigs.

The shape of lead is another important consideration. There are number of different shapes in both swivel and inline leads.

Fishing weight shape

Distance leads help the angler make a better cast. As they are concentric and have no flat sides they help achieve great distance in the cast. Normally they are best suited to hard bed fishing as the weight is concentrated at the forward end of the lead.

Zip leads were originally designed for tournament casting as its aerodynamic shape greatly enhanced distance in casting. It is also becoming very popular for soft or silt beds as its smooth, pellet shape allows it to be pulled out of the soft bed easily, even though it has sunk into the bottom.

Similar shaped leads like Trilobes are designed for distance casting, but with a swivel. They again can be easily fished in soft-bottomed fisheries.

Pear or Dumpy leads are generally, as the name suggests are rounder leads with a swivel. They will not cast as far but are good if you require more accuracy.

Ball leads are the densest and heaviest leads. They are a bit cumbersome and don’t help the angler much in the cast. They do however prove very effective in creating ‘bolt effect’; where the fish sets the hook deeper in its mouth by effectively pulling against the weight of lead.

Grip leads help steady the rig in rough conditions. Originally they were designed for river fishing as the rough sides help to grip the bed of the river. They are now used to fish steep shelves and drop-offs in still water by many anglers.

Variations of all the above can be found in an angler’s tackle box. In essence they will all conform to these regular body 7shapes. A common variation is the flat sided lead which is designed to hold the rig on a steep bar and prevent it dropping right to the bottom.


Lead coatings are another factor. These have developed greatly in recent years. The coating on a lead offers a degree of protection as the lead, when exposed, does get damaged.

The other reason coatings have become so popular is that they offer crucial camouflage, which in heavily fished conditions where the fish are shy can be very important.

How to buy fishing weights on eBay

Now that you've worked out which fishing weight you want, find them quickly on eBay. While you shop, don't forget line, and tackle. Click the Sporting Goods portal and click fishing.

Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Clothing & Footwear, Coarse Fishing, DVDs, Fly Fishing, Sea Fishing, Tackle Boxes, Universal Accessories, Videos and TrophiesAs you refine your search you'll be able to narrow down your choice by subcategory.

  • Product Finder: Use the fishing weight Finder to quickly narrow down item listings by brand, model and condition (new or used).
  • Keyword search: Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find used fishing weights, type the keywords "fishing weights used" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try browsing eBay Stores or tell the eBay Community what you’re looking for by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a matching item becomes available.

Buy Fishing Weights with Confidence

Make sure that you know exactly what you’re buying and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your item

Read the details in the item listing carefully.

Remember to add delivery costs to your final price. If you’re buying a high value item, check that the seller will insure it until it is delivered to you.

If you want more information, click the “Ask seller a question” button on the seller’s profile or the “Ask a question” link at the bottom of the item listing page.

Always complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy it Now or Best Offer) otherwise you will not be covered by eBay Buyer Protection.

Never pay for your eBay item using an instant cash wire transfer service like Western Union or Moneygram. These are not safe ways of paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so that you feel safe and positive about every transaction.

  • What is the seller’s Feedback rating? 
  • How many transactions have they completed?
  • How many positive responses do they have?
  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? 
  • Are they positive about the seller?

Most top eBay sellers operate like retail shops and have a returns policy.

  • Do they offer a money-back guarantee? 
  • What are their terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the very unlikely event that you do not receive your item or it is not as described, eBay Buyer Protection your purchase price plus original delivery cost.


When looking for affordable but good quality weights and leads there are a number of brands and manufacturers to look out for. Carpioleads with their Silkweed hairy lead are popular because they are so well-camouflaged and come in both the inline and swivel format with a number of different weights and shapes.

Overall the choice of lead depends entirely on the depth required to get to the fish. After that it depends on the distance and accuracy required of the cast and the conditions on the bed of the fishery.

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