Breakaway Surfcasting Sinkers for distance casting and firm grip on the seabed
The breakaway sinker, I believe, first originated in England. The idea was to produce a sinker that would cast a long way, and hold firm on the bottom using wires that would release when a fish hit or the angler decides to reel it in. It is a design that is much copied and often modified with slightly different shapes, longer tines, longer tail wires, and the addition of plastic over the wires to help them roll off the lead better.
A useful trick when you want a little extra grip from your breakaway style sinker is to wrap a rubber band around it to hold the wires in the set position for longer. It then requires more pressure to break the wires free.
The sinker shown above is a long-tail version. This has better anchoring ability as the tail acts like an anchor chain forcing the wires to dig in better.
I must say the breakaway is my favourite surfcasting sinker. It has the two most important qualities needed: it flies well when cast, and it holds firm on the bottom.
For surfcasting it is most important that you use the correct weight of sinker for the rod blank you are fishing. This is usually stamped on the side of the rod. Usually, there is a weight range of something like 100 to 150g. It is best to use a sinker that is at the top of this range for maximum casting distance and bottom holding grip. In my opinion, you need a rod designed to cast at least 200g for serious surfcasting. Anything lighter is really only a toy!
A Lead Lift is a small plastic anti-snag vane that is designed to lift the sinker high above lost line and snags when retrieved. In certain places where surfcasters fish often there can be a large amount of lost line and rubbish caught on the bottom. A good example of this is the beach along Rocks Road in Nelson.
By attaching a Breakaway Tackle Lead Lift the angler stands a better chance of getting his gear back without loss. It is important to wind flat-out so that the sinker and Lead Lift plane quickly to the surface. Then continue to wind at speed so the lead lift stays high in the water skimming across the surface as it is retrieved.
If you cast straight into a snag there isn’t much that can be done to get your gear back. To use the Lead Lift effectively you need a full long-distance cast to get out beyond the mess. The Lead Lift won’t save every rig but according to Breakaway, you are at least five times more likely to get it back. I’ve used Lead Lifts and they work surprisingly well.