Sinkers are one of the most overlooked pieces of equipment in a tackle bag. They are often the difference between fishing and catching fish. A sinker's job is not simply to get your bait down to the fish, but to keep it there. The type of bottom, whether it's sand, mud, rock or clay, will determine the correct sinker design. There are several types of sinkers used for fishing, and each has its proper place. Common types include walking, bank, egg and pyramid sinkers.
The walking sinker is flat and rectangular. It works well on rocky bottoms, as it lies flat on top of the rocks instead of falling in between them. You can walk this sinker across the bottom and it gets snagged less often than other sinkers.
Bank sinkers are the go-to sinker for most anglers, and are adequate for most situations. Their bowling-pin shape leaves them exposed to deep current, which makes them roll along the bottom at times. If you are fishing from a drifting boat or from a quiet surf, bank sinkers are fine.
As their name implies, these sinkers are egg-shaped with a hole through them. Your line passes through the hole, eliminating the need for a fish-finder. When fishing with live bait, or large cut baits, the sliding design of the egg sinker allows the fish to swim away with the bait, without feeling the weight of the sinker.
Just as the pyramids in Egypt were built on the sand, pyramid sinkers are designed for use on sandy bottoms. The triangular weights can be three or four-sided, with an eye for your swivel to clip on at the top. The angular shape digs into the sand and holds your bait in position. Three-sided pyramid sinkers do a better job of holding the bottom. The sides of a four-sided sinker are too small and often roll like a bank sinker.
Decide which sinker is right for each situation by considering the bottom conditions and the current. Fishing on a sandy bottom with heavy current requires a pyramid sinker if you want to keep your bait in place. There are times where you may want your bait to slowly travel across the bottom. In that case, a bank sinker will keep your offering at the bottom as it rolls with the current.
When fishing over reefs and wrecks use a walking sinker. Fishing straight up and down fishing is best done with a sinker that stays put without getting stuck.
When fishing with large baits, keep your reel in free spool while waiting for a bite. When the fish takes your bait and swims off, your line passes through your egg sinker with no resistance. The fish doesn't know you're there until you set the hook.