Tungsten vs Lead Weights

When it comes to fishing, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make is choosing the right weights for your line. For years, the debate between tungsten and lead weights has raged on among anglers. Today, I want to share my personal experience and insights into this age-old battle of the weights, focusing on the pros and cons of each. So, grab your fishing gear, and let’s dive into the world of tungsten vs. lead weights.

The Weighty Debate: Tungsten vs. Lead

My Introduction to Tungsten

I’ve been an avid angler for over a decade now, and for most of that time, I was a die-hard lead weight enthusiast. Lead weights were readily available, affordable, and got the job done. However, a few years back, I started hearing about tungsten weights and decided to give them a shot.

Pros of Tungsten Weights

  1. Density: Tungsten is much denser than lead, which means you can use smaller tungsten weights for the same effect. This density advantage allows for more precise casting and better sensitivity when you’re feeling for bites.
  2. Environmentally Friendly: Lead weights have come under scrutiny due to their potential environmental impact. Tungsten, on the other hand, is considered a more environmentally friendly alternative, making it a responsible choice for conservation-conscious anglers.
  3. Sensitivity: Tungsten’s increased density also translates to heightened sensitivity. You’ll feel every subtle nibble and movement, increasing your chances of hooking that elusive catch.
  4. Durability: Tungsten is incredibly durable and doesn’t corrode easily. You won’t have to worry about replacing your weights as often, which can save you money in the long run.
  5. Size Reduction: Smaller tungsten weights mean fewer snags and a more natural presentation of your bait. This can be a game-changer when you’re fishing in heavy cover.

The Drawbacks of Tungsten Weights

  1. Cost: Tungsten weights are generally more expensive than lead ones. However, the benefits they offer may outweigh the initial investment for serious anglers.
  2. Availability: Depending on your location, finding tungsten weights might be a bit more challenging compared to lead, which is readily available in most tackle shops.

The Lead Weights Nostalgia

I can’t deny my fondness for lead weights. They’ve served me well for years, and they have their own set of advantages.

Pros of Lead Weights

  1. Affordability: Lead weights are budget-friendly, making them an excellent choice for beginners or anglers who go through a lot of weights in a season.
  2. Ease of Use: They’re easy to find and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to suit different fishing conditions.
  3. Familiarity: Many anglers grew up using lead weights, so there’s a sense of comfort and familiarity associated with them.

Making the Decision

So, which is better: tungsten or lead weights? The answer isn’t black and white. It depends on your personal preferences, budget, and the specific fishing scenarios you encounter.

If you’re a dedicated angler who values sensitivity, precision, and environmentally friendly practices, tungsten is likely the better choice. Yes, it may cost a bit more, but the benefits in terms of performance and durability make it a worthy investment.

On the other hand, if you’re just starting or enjoy casual fishing, lead weights can still get the job done without breaking the bank.

In my experience, I’ve incorporated both tungsten and lead weights into my tackle box, using each when it best suits the situation. This approach allows me to enjoy the best of both worlds and adapt to the changing conditions on the water.


The tungsten vs. lead weights debate is ongoing in the angling community, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It all comes down to your preferences, budget, and the type of fishing you do. Regardless of your choice, remember that the most important thing is to get out there and enjoy the serenity of the water, whether you’re casting tungsten or lead. Happy fishing!