Traditional angler wonders: Is lead on the way out?
Every year I fish Lake Erie in search of monster-sized golden walleye. This trip is always topped off with some great smallmouth fishing action in the afternoons. These bronzebacks are starting to move up onto the shallow flats to spawn and this transition period allows us to find some of the big females as they make their way up.
In preparation for our trip I spend several hours in front of a lead smelting pot pouring custom ¼-ounce lead-headed jigs, which offer the perfect profile topped off with a heavy wire Gamakatsu jig hook to keep those hard-mouthed bronzebacks hooked up.
Between melting of the lead, pouring the jigs, and then spending a few hours powder-coating the perfect jig, I am sure I had been exposed to some unwanted fumes given off by the lead. We have all been raised up to understand that heavy metals are not good to be exposed to, and lead is a prime example of this.
There have been many studies, reports, and discussions about the use of lead in fishing tackle and now there are even printed warnings on lure packages indicating that “this product may contain lead.” Are these warnings really necessary?
Call me old-fashioned, but I am kind of partial to lead and its use for jigs, weights and other fishing-related uses. There is just something about catching fish on something that you have created yourself, that was once a molten pot of hot metal.
Read more on fishing with lead in the Nov. 2 issue of Illinois Outdoor News.