Size, weights and
History of Split Shot
Apparently, lead shot was invented and patented in 1782 by a man
called William Watts from Bristol, England.
The process was to heat the lead until molten then drop it from a
height. Due to the act of a falling liquid becoming spherical the
molten lead formed tiny spherical balls and solidified as it fell
.The partially cooled balls were caught in a water filled basin at
floor level. William Watts adapted his house by adding a three story
tower and digging a shaft under the house to achieve the required
drop. Nowadays other methods are used to make shot, one of them
being the cold swaging process of feeding calibrated lengths of lead
wire into hemispherical dies and stamping them into spheres.
What is split shot and how is it
used in angling?
split shot is a small spherical piece of metal which is cut part way
through the diameter and is used in angling to add weight to
the fishing line to set your float, (sink the float so that only
part of the float shows above the water). The fishing line is placed
in the cut of the split shot and the split shot crimped closed to
hold it in place on the line.
Split shot was originally made from lead
but in 1987 certain sizes were banned due to a number of swans and water fowl
being poisoned from coarse fishing lead shot AND shot from gun
Partly because of this, Non lead alternatives
have since been introduced using materials such as steel, tungsten,
nickel, iron, bismuth tin etc. Although not as soft as lead the new
metal non-toxic split shot still servers its purpose. Some split shot also has
a double cut (two cuts in the shot on opposite sides of each other) this allows the shot to
be removed more easily and re used.
It is still legal in the UK to use some lead weights
in fishing and this includes split shot from size 8 down to size 14
and leger weights weighing more than 1 ounce (28.35 grams)
Beware: The penalty for fishing with lead shot in prohibited sizes
can be a fine of up to £5,000 and the confiscation of your fishing
Although the main use of split shot is to set your float, the way
you space your shot can play a critical part in your presentation.
To get your hook down to the bottom quicker then bunch the shot
together near the hook. To get your bait to fall through the water
more slower then spread the shot evenly apart between the hook and
float (called shirt button style). Most floats have a weight marking on them and this is a guide
to what weight the float will carry. I have yet to come across a
float that has the exact weight printed on it so use this as a guide
only and add or remove split shot as necessary.
As well as split shot there is also 'Stles' and 'Stotz'.
Unlike the round split shot, the Style is long and
thin (similar to a piece of wire) with a cut along the length. These
are used a lot by match anglers as they reputedly fall through the
water more slowly.
When fishing with hemp or tares as the bait and using split shot the
fish often mistake the shot for bait, resulting in false bite. The
use of Styles or Stotz is perfect to help avoid this.
Stotz are a shorter and fatter version of the Style. Many anglers
prefer Stotz to Styles as they reckon they stay on the line better.