MODELS: Lead, brass, steel, or tungsten; painted, free-sliding, or self-pegging.
USES: Casting or pitching Texas-rigged soft plastics.
RIGGING: Run the line through the sinker’s pointed end and tie it to a worm hook.
TIPS: Use the lightest sinker needed to maintain bottom contact or to penetrate cover. Let the sinker slide free for open water; peg it to the head of the bait amid thick cover.
MODELS: Lead, steel, or bismuth.
USES: Carolina-rigging soft-plastic bass lures; drifting and bottom-fishing live bait for everything from trout to stripers.
RIGGING: Run the line through the sinker, and tie it to a two-way swivel. Attach a leader and hook to the other side.
TIPS: This sinker allows a fish to run with the bait without feeling the weight. Over a snag-filled bottom, pinch a split shot on the line in place of the swivel.
MODELS: Lead, steel, or tungsten; round, teardrop, or cylindrical.
USES: Fishing small soft plastics vertically in deep water.
RIGGING: Tie a drop-shot hook to the line with a Palomar knot, leaving a long tag line to attach the sinker to.
TIPS: After the sinker touches down, pull the line taut without moving the sinker. Shake the line gently. Then drop the rod tip and let the lure free-fall slowly to the bottom.
MODELS: Lead or steel; Lindy-style or banana-shaped (bottom weighted).
USES: Presenting live bait to walleyes. They’re either dragged over the bottom behind a drifting boat or trolled.
RIGGING: Thread the line through a walking sinker and tie it to a swivel. To the other side, tie a 3- to 6-foot, 6-pound-test leader with a live-bait hook.
TIPS: Banana-shaped models are more resistant to snags.
MODELS: Lead or tin; round, clam, bullet, or elongated.
USES: Getting lures, flies, and bait deeper for trout, bass, catfish, and other species. They’re most often used in stream and river fishing.
RIGGING: Pinch the shot or sinker to the line above the hook or lure.
TIPS: Pinch-on weights are best used for casting. Clam and bullet shapes are more snag resistant than round shot.