Growing up in Namibia (South West Africa as it was then), I did quite a bit of fishing. Every school holidays we’d head to the Skeleton Coast for a week. Aptly named; there were always skeletons on the beach. Seals, whales… by the way, there’s nothing quite like the whiff of a dead seal to make you hurriedly change from your preferred fishing spot.
We always caught quite a few fish – either what my Dad called “Salmon” (generic name Kabeljou, Argyrosomus coronus) or Steenbras (Lithognathus lithognathus). The occasional Galjoen (Coracinus capensis) made an appearance on the menu as well.
So I thought it was time I started fishing again. An exploratory trip to Selsey Bill revealed that I needed a better rod (the one I have is more suited to freshwater fishing) as well as more lead weights or sinkers. I attempted to mail-order a rod from www.aandifishingtackle.co.uk but after waiting nearly a month I cancelled the order. Their customer service leaves much to be desired. If you are thinking about buying from these people, don’t.
I eventually successfully ordered a new rod from www.fishingtackle.co.za – at least their customer service was excellent (and the rod worked out cheaper even with the postage! The sinkers proved to be a bit more difficult. I can’t find my favourite type anywhere. They’re sort of pear-shaped but with a flat bottom; ideal for fishing where there is a load of weed. So I’ll just have to make my own!
After a bit of research (I couldn’t find a ready-made mould either) I came across the website www.tomps.com and a quick email to them confirmed that for pouring lead, their high temperature RTV Silicone would do the job. I’ve just finished casting the first moulds; I’m making 4 oz and 5 oz sinkers, the 5 oz for me and the 4 oz for the Mrs! (she’s keen on fishing as well, one of the reasons I married her!)
The moulds have just set, and I’m now tempering the silicone by baking it in the oven. An hour at 50 degrees, then an hour at 100, then an hour at 150, then a final hour at 200. Once that’s done I’ll be ready to melt some lead! I have a portable Coleman stove (left over from my University camping days) which should do the trick – I purchased a £3 stainless steel milk saucepan in which to melt the lead.
I think once I’ve cast a few sinkers I will make a couple of triple moulds so I can cast 3 sinkers at once. I just need to wait for the post to arrive on Monday – I ordered a cast-iron pouring ladle off an Ebay seller.
(Update: I later managed to find the exact mould I wanted from www.fishingtackle.co.za).