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How to Put Weight on Fishing Line – A Complete Step by Step Guide

How to Put Weight on Fishing Line
Written by Immanuel Baranov
Last Update: July 24, 2023

If you are new to fishing you may be wondering how to put a weight on a fishing line, what exactly the fishing line weights are even for, and even where to put weight on fishing line. If it is something you have not been exposed to before it can be a bit confusing. Once you read through this you will know everything you need to about sinkers and how to use them effectively when you fish and you will realize it’s actually fairly easy to understand and carry out.

How to Put Weight on Fishing Line

how to put weight on fishing line

What Are Fishing Weights?

Fishing weights, or sinkers, are weights you attach to your line, especially fluorocarbon line, so that your line has momentum and can reach distance when casting, as well as to ensure the hook and bait sink to a desirable depth after cast instead of floating at the top where less fish are likely to even see it. When fishing for most kinds of bigger fish that swim deeper down, you need your bait to drop to the depth these fish normally hunt at. Weights are also used to keep bait on a certain point of your line and control how bait moves in the water so that it looks realistic to the potential fish.

Why Should You Have Weights on Your Fishing Line?

Whether you need to use a weight or not will depend on the kind of fish you want to catch and the kind of bait you intend to use to achieve this. If you are looking for a fish that inhabits the bottom of the lake but you are using a bait or lure that is fairly light such as a glowing rubber worm, you would need to add enough weight to ensure the line drops to the bottom. If you are looking for a fish that only goes for certain baits you would use a weight to ensure the bait moves around in the water in a realistic fashion. A plastic tilapia is very light and weight would sit wrong in the water and move around unconvincingly and as such you are less likely to catch anything in that situation.

How to Tie a Weight to a Fishing Line

how to put weight on fishing line

1. Split Shot – Step by Step

  • Step 1: Lay the fishing line into the groove of the split shot sinker that is angle on the side of it. Ensure you have placed the sinker on at the right point on your line as you will not be able to easily adjust after.
  • Step 2: Use a pair of pliers to squeeze down on the sinker vertically to the groove so that it closes around your fishing line. Don’t go too crazy and break your line but ensure it is squeezed tight.
  • Step 3: Grip the sinker in one hand and lightly tug the line with the other to ensure it’s on properly and doesn’t move. A loose grip will send your lead sinker flying separately from your line during cast.

2. Rubber Core – Step by Step

  • Step 1: Pop the line into the rubber groove. Ensure you have done so at the right point on your line because once complete you cannot easily adjust the position.
  • Step 2: Twist each and of the rubber ears in opposite directions as if you were unwrapping a candy so that the line gets wrapped around the sinker core.
  • Step 3: Hold the sinker in one hand and the line in the other and give it a little pull to check that it has gripped the line properly. If it moves, undo and re-do!

3. Ring Loop and Eye (tied sinker) – Step by Step

  • Step 1:Remove, or avoid adding any lures, hooks, or bait to the end of your line. Feed the tip of the fishing line through the eye of the sinker and pull the sinker up the line to where you want it to be.
  • Step 2: Tie either a one or two-step knot around the sinker bottom or eye of the sinker where the line went through to lock it in place.
  • Step 3: Ensure you have left lead on your fishing line to attach your kook and bait after the sinker point. Tug the sinker on the line to make sure it doesn’t slide down as this will interfere with your bait and hook later. If it moves, re-tie it twice to lock it in securely.

Tips for Putting Weights on Fishing Lines

Try to match your sinker to the relevant depth for the fish you are aiming for. This can be done through general intuition but you can also do some trial and error runs to perfect weight matching to the fluorocarbon or monofilament line.

Always keep your sinker far enough away from the hook and lures/bait so that it does not interfere with it once in the water, causing fish not to bite or the hook not to catch. Especially the bullet sinker and similar styles. It can be easy to misjudge their length when tying the knot on them so make sure you measure it out properly along the line and give yourself enough lead after to play with.

Keep doubles of your sinkers as there is always a chance of losing one to a line snap. Also, keep a variety of sinkers in your tackle box so that you are ready to match potentially changing situations and their particular demands.

See? What did I tell you? Simple right? Of course! Once you have the just of it, putting sinker weights on the fishing line is a breeze. They are vital to successful fishing in many circumstances so never skimp out on getting the right sinkers for your style of fishing. Now go sink that line and catch something!


Q. How far should the weight be from the hook?

Ans. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends putting the weight 6-12 inches far from the hook. You want to attach one or two of them to the fishing line.

Q. What weight should I use for freshwater fishing?

Ans. Sinkers weighing between 1/32 and 1/8 ounces are the best for freshwater fishing. Larger worms work best when you drag them across the bottom. For such conditions, use heavier weights ranging from 3/8 to 1/2 ounce. They will help maintain contact with the bottom persistently.

Q. How much weight do I need for bottom fishing?

Ans. If you crank a 12-ounce weight after losing your bait, there will be wear and tear on your shoulders and arms. You want to use a 4 or 6-ounce weight to reduce the damage.

Q. Do sinkers scare away fish?

Ans. Fish feel the resistance of sinkers when they tug on your line. The heavier sinkers you attach to the line, the higher chances they will recognize something is wrong. Chances are they will split the bait and swim away.

About the author

Immanuel Baranov

My life is pretty much defined by my avid outdoor activities. I’m generally obsessed with fishing, skiing and occasional hunting and whitewater paddling. I’ve been active since my early years. I inherited my passion for fishing from my father who made frequent family trips to the banks of Sacramento River. Growing up, I did a lot of fishing in the vicinity. Now that I have two sons, our weekends are full of fishing activities. I would say, you need good spots where you can go out a lot for the thing you love. I had the privilege to grow up near numerous water bodies and I’m proud to say that I made good use of them. It’s also great to do something with kids that helps them learn patience, endurance and preciseness.

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