Gear Review: Blackbird Shot

Blackbird Shot Dispensers (photo from

A recent steelhead trip to Erie has reminded me of the importance of high quality split-shot. Split-shot that is so brittle that it breaks when hitting rocks pretty much defeats the point. In contrast, split-shot that is so soft that it falls off doesn’t help much either. And there is absolutely nothing worse than the split-shot that will not remain fixed in position on the line. It’s really annoying when split-shot slides down the line to the fly. Come to think of it, I’ve never caught a fish while the split-shot slide down next to the eye of the fly.

Anyways, there are a million different sizes, shapes, and types of split-shot available for purchase today. Some of these work well, others perform well below par. After years of experimenting, I have found that Blackbird Shot by Redwing Tackle is the very best. In fact, it is the only split shot that I fish with anymore.

So why is it the best? Well, it is just the right consistency that it never breaks or falls off. It is very easy to pinch onto the line, and does not slide up or down at all once secured in place. Therefore, when you add a Blackbird Shot to your line, you know it will not foul up and you will spend much less time fiddling with split shot.

Blackbird Shot ranges in sizes BB1-BB4, and can be bought in dispensers or refill bags. Sometimes while discussing Blackbird opposing sides argue that a downfall it is not made in very small sizes. This is perfectly okay for me because in situations where only a small amount of weight is needed, I fish weighted flies (beadheads or lead wire wraps).

I recommend purchasing each of the dispensers to start. They are tubes with rubber caps on the ends that work flawlessly for dispensing split-shot conveniently. It’s also really nice that when you buy a refill bag, it just the right amount to fill up an existing dispenser.

I strongly recommend Blackbird Shot for a variety of types of angling. For trout and steelhead fishing in most scenarios that require split-shot, Blackbird is perfect. As the old saying goes, once you go Blackbird you never go back. Or maybe that wasn’t exactly how the saying goes…


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