Who Makes the Best Split Shot?

Who Makes the Best Split Shot?

Who Makes the Best Split Shot?

Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly frustrated with some of the most typical shortcomings of split shot. Some of these problems include the shot slipping down my leader and tippet eventually making it all the way to the fly, the shot becoming too strongly attached to the leader/tippet so that it can’t be removed without breaking the tippet/leader, removing the shot to find a severely frayed tippet/leader that is substantially weakened, and the possibility of the shot causing a real scare to fish by having a shiny silverish glare that results from the outer paint coating rubbing or scraping off. Many of these complications are exacerbated with smaller sized leader and tippet (e.g., 5x or smaller).

Now some of these issues can be at least partially remedied by attaching the split shot above a leader to tippet knot or tippet to tippet knot OR attaching the split shot in a less traditional manner. In fact, check out this older post by Kent Klewein from the Gink and Gasoline blog for a good instructional write up on alternative split shot rigs.

Split Shot Products

The purpose of this post, however, is not to discuss ways of attaching or using split shot, but to provide my very brief recommendation on the brand(s) and products that I think are really good and not so good.


Tin Split Shot

Orvis Tin Split Shot

First up, the Orvis Tin Split Shot: It’s tin (not lead), so it’s non-toxic, which is great. This shot can also be removed rather easily. However, I don’t like much else about it. I don’t care for the grayish color and it slips down smaller sized tippet (e.g., 5x and lower) way too easy.

Lead Split Shot

Anchor Lead Split Shot

Anchor Lead Split Shot – Well, unfortunately it’s lead and considered more toxic and hazardous to fish. In fact, lead is banned in a number of countries and watersheds. Fly fisherman are becoming more and more aware of environmental and conservation issues… Therefore, lead split shot should eventually become a thing of the past. Also, although not as bad as the Orvis split shot, these ones will move around on you. They are also rather difficult to remove when you want to take them off.

Split Shot

Lemer Lead Split Shot

Angler’s Accessories/Lemer’s Lead Split Shot: Again, it’s lead so that’s a huge strike. It moves around a little and usually results in a severely compromised leader/tippet after removal.

Dinsmore EGGSHOT

Dinsmore EGGSHOT

Dinsmores EGGSHOT – This is it! It’s tin, fairly easy to remove, and stays put on smaller leaders/tippets better than any of the other split shots I’ve tried. I have either read or heard a fellow fly fisherman complain that this shot moves down the leader/tippet on him, but I haven’t had this problem and I fish 6x tippet regularly.

After trying out the above mentioned split shots as well as others, my personal conclusion is that Dinsmores EGGSHOT is the best overall product out there. Like most of the other brands, they also have 4, 5, or 6 split shot size dispensers if you’re looking for a variety of sizes. Otherwise, you can simply buy the size that meets your needs.


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  1. […] The two key components to achieving the right nymph rig depth is the strike indicator and split-shot/weight. There are some strike indicator set-ups out there that may be more sensitive to strikes but are not easily adjustable. I personally prefer an indicator that is easily adjustable 99% of the time over less adjustable varieties. Thingamabobbers and yarn indicators serve this function quite well, although there are many others. As far as weight, I always prefer weighted flies over excessive split-shot when possible. However, the need for split-shot is inevitable, so it’s crucial to have a number of different sizes and weights to achieve precise depths. It’s also helpful to devise your own system for easily and quickly accessing your split-shot and removing your split-shot so that the adjustments can be made quickly and easily. I have a strong preference for Dinsmore Egg Shot as it’s tin (not lead) and seems to stay put on even lighter tippets and leaders (for more on this split-shot, click here). […]

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