I was guiding the other day, switching rigs from dries to nymphs. I got to that step where I routinely pop a piece of split shot into my mouth as I fumble with the tippet and the dropper fly. As the BB washed around in there, I paused and realized that I was sucking on lead.
Lead poisoning is linked to brain damage, as well as reproductive problems, hypertension, stunted growth among children, and an array of other nasty things — hence the reason millions of made-in-China lead-painted toys are being recalled at this very moment. I thought, “Wow, this might explain a few of my latest Fflogger posts.”
Truth is, lead is dead. It has no purpose or value in the flyfishing context. There are better alternatives that sink just as well, made of tin, bismuth, or tungsten. See www.bosstin.com. Yes they cost a tad more. But they won’t make you sick. And they don’t kill birds and other wildlife. There are places where lead fishing is outlawed — New England states mostly, and in Yellowstone National Park. There should be more. You shoot steel at waterfowl because it’s proven that small lead shot kills wild birds in numbers. The only reason fly shops sell lead, and we fish lead, is that we’re cheap and lazy. Probably because we’ve been chewing on the stuff for too long. — KD