You'll need a sinker or a weighted jighead to get a buoyant lure like a plastic worm or tube bait to the bottom and keep it there. Here's a roundup of the various weights BASS pros use to get their lures into the strike zone.
Choosing The Right Weight
The weight of the sinker or jighead you select will depend on several factors, including water depth, current speed, lure size, wind velocity and how fast or slow you want the bait to fall. Sinkers most commonly used with plastic worms, lizards and creatures weigh 1/4 to 1/2 ounce. With tube baits, finesse worms and grubs, try a 1/8- to 1/4-ounce sinker or jighead. Sinkers used for Carolina rigging are heavy, usually 1/2 to 1 ounce. Experiment with sinker/jighead weights to fine-tune your presentation.
Lead has traditionally been used to make sinkers and jigheads because it's inexpensive and easily molded in a variety of shapes. However, lead has proven to be toxic to fish, birds and other animals (including humans), and lead sinkers and jigs are currently banned in a growing number of states.
Tungsten is an excellent, albeit expensive, substitute for lead. BASS pros use tungsten weights when a stealthier presentation is required tungsten is heavier than lead, allowing a smaller, less conspicuous weight to be used.
Brass is a popular material for worm weights and Carolina sinkers. It produces loud clicks and rattles when dragged across the bottom, and its light-reflective finish can attract bass.
Worm weights are used with many soft plastic baits, including worms, lizards, tubes, creatures and soft craws. They're bullet-shaped with a hole running through them. Pass your line through the hole and tie your hook to the tag end. When a bass picks up your lure, it'll pull the line through the sinker without detecting any weight.
Finesse sinkers, like the ones from Mojo and Bass Pro Shops XPS, are cylindrical worm sinkers designed for sliding through heavy cover. They're often "pegged" by inserting a rubber strip into the hole with a wire threading tool.
Egg sinkers are often used for Carolina rigging. Their oval shape allows them to crawl over rocks and other bottom cover without constantly hanging up.
Split shot are small, round weights that pinch onto your line. Their most common bass applications are with finesse worms and live bait.
Screw-in worm weights are bullet sinkers with a short plastic tube and wire at their base. Stick the tube into the head of your lure and rotate so the wire holds the lure in place.
Drop shot sinkers are specialty weights used with the drop shot technique. They're either ball-shaped or cylindrical and attach to the tag end of your line via a built-in ring or clip.
Screw-lock heads have a piece of wire molded around the hook which keeps soft plastic baits from slipping out of place, useful when fishing heavy cover.
Ball heads are round jigheads that work well on sloping banks without a lot of brushy cover. They're often fished with the hook exposed and may or may not have a weedguard.
Football heads have an oval shape and a heavy upswept hook designed to elevate the lure off the bottom, an effective presentation in weedy lakes.
Tube heads feature a cylindrical weight and an extra-wide gap hook. Unlike other jighead styles, the weight is inserted into the lure, not exposed.
Dart heads have a distinctly pointed weight and sharp wire hook. They're most often used with finesse presentations in deep, clear water.
Spinner heads have a small spinner attached to the bottom of the weight which adds flash and vibration to your presentation.