The next generation of tungsten fishing lures: targeting open water

Ice anglers have jumped on the tungsten lure bandwagon in a big way.

Dave Genz, Brian “Bro” Brosdahl, and a bunch more of the top anglers on the ice are touting the effectiveness of lures manufactured from this material. Genz has even coined the term “tungsten ping” to describe the outstanding signal he sees on his sonar from tungsten lures compared to those made from lead.

The beauty of tungsten is you get a lure that is up to 30-percent heavier and 70-percent denser than lead lures of the same size. Some ice anglers, like Bro, leave a lot of slush in their hole so they can blast a tungsten lure right through the slush. A lead lure with the same profile would never bust through.

Genz likes to feel every little nuanced quiver of the lure, and the tungsten adds to this sensitivity. It’s been a while since any of the lures that Genz has designed have been of a material other than tungsten.

The drawback to tungsten lures is they cost more than lead. This may not seem like a tremendous sacrifice when buying just a few jigs, but restocking the entire tackle box with tungsten can thin the wallet. Some anglers believe that adding to their success is worth the price of admission when transitioning to tungsten.

Open-water anglers also are feeling the love for tungsten. Bass anglers across the country are now touting the differences between a bullet sinker made of tungsten compared to the same size in lead. For these anglers, it’s all about the feel they get from ramming that weight into something on the bottom compared to the lack of that bang from a lead weight. Size is another matter: The same weight in tungsten requires much less profile. This is great when casting into wind.

Tungsten jigs also are appearing on the scene in more numbers. While making the rounds at the St. Paul Ice Fishing and Winter Sportshow in early December, I ran into John Crane from Clam Outdoors. Crane has been designing lures for more than 25 years and has pulled out all the stops to put the right touches on ice-fishing lures. It took a little prodding, but he admitted to designing some tungsten jigs for open-water fishing that will be hitting the shelves this spring under the “DROP Tg” banner.

I received a few samples recently and I’m impressed. The jigs are definitely smaller than their lead counterparts of the same weight, and we all know downsizing can be the ticket to more fish. The problem is, when you downsize with lead, you often lose control. This is where tungsten rules.

Crane described the tungsten jig as a transmitter, not an absorber. This means that the harder tungsten jig will signal what it feels on the bottom due to its harder surface. Soft lead absorbs all the contact while tungsten communicates right up the line.

The biggest advantage I see is the hook-point exposure. The hook rides where little jig head blockage occurs and this will undoubtedly increase hook-ups.

The “Drop Tg” won’t be on the Clam Outdoors website for a few weeks, but plan on checking out these new additions to the lure market. Both Crane and I believe this will change the face of one of the most productive techniques there is to catch fish: jigging.

Categories: Blog Content, Tim Lesmeister

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