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Small But Heavy

The introduction of lures made from tungsten several years ago transformed the sport of ice fishing, at least in this angler’s eyes. Tungsten is denser than lead, so now anglers had small lures that still sank fast. This makes panfish in deeper water easier to catch because an angler can use a bait with a tiny profile, but one that still sinks quickly. Tungsten is great for panfish anglers who also fish in weeds in winter because the lures don’t get hung up on vegetation as often. They also excel at letting anglers quickly get “back down” to roaming schools of panfish before these fish leave after an initial catch from the school.

While great for ice fishing, recently tungsten lures have become more popular with open water anglers for walleye and bass fishing. For me, the most important tungsten lure introductions have been in the bass lures category. A couple of lures, a casting jig made from tungsten, and a vibrating jig made from the same, have caught my eye and been used already this season in my boat to catch a bunch of bass.

The tungsten casting jig called the Compact Tungsten Casting Jig has been great for me during early season, particularly when the fish have been finicky or when fishing clear waters. Finicky fish often like a smaller profile lure, and the new casting jig is heavy enough to penetrate weeds and other cover where bass live, yet small enough in profile to tempt a finicky bass that otherwise might spook, or at least not eat, a bigger offering. Because these jigs are “heavy” they are still easy to cast meaning I can make long casts in clear water, keeping me and my boat away from the bass and helping minimize the chances of the fish sensing my presence and spooking before I can even get a bait to them.

Casting jigs made from tungsten offer advantages, but so do vibrating swim jigs made from the material as well. Called the Tungsten Thunder Cricket this bait offers many of the same advantages of the casting jig. The Cricket also allows for long casts to again minimize the “spooking factor.” Yet, the bait’s small profile is less intrusive to finicky, wary bass and has a definite tendency to get bit more often than a bigger lures when finicky bass are encountered. I also like the vibrating swim jig when smallmouth bass fishing because these fish often prefer smaller lures and this is one that still fishes fast and aggressively, yet in a profile size that smallies often munch. Finally, both the casting jigs and vibrating jigs come in a variety of “bassy” colors too.

If you want to get “bassy” in your boat this summer and you encounter finicky fish or clear water, consider a switch to a tungsten lure, and take advantage of the properties just noted to help maximize your catches. And, as always, remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure!

– Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series on the Sportsman Channel and several other networks as well.  Visit to see all things Fishing the Midwest.

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