Stonze are nothing more than a completely naturally occurring product, drilled and fitted with a swivel to construct a uniquely different rig system.  I recently got hold of some of the Stonze range, manufactured and supplied by Devon based  manufacturer Pallatrax. I had seen them in the shops and considered purchasing some, but it was one of those items I just never got around to buying.... I can’t really think why; I consider that hiding my end tackle can only be good for my fishing, and one of the most visible items is the lead, so why not take it out of the equation completely?  It makes perfect sense if you think about it. I have done quite a bit of market research on web based forums and on the bank, the Stonze have received great reports from those who HAVE used them, but, as with anything new, for those who HAVEN’T used them, then there will always be doubters. I set out to find out just what can be done with Stonze, and to consider whether they offer any more options than a standard lead pattern.

Any ‘normal’ lead fulfils specific functions; it may be to supply casting weight (obviously!), extend casting distance, or provide resistance to achieve a ‘bolt effect’ when the fish take the bait, but in all honesty, that is probably about it. Despite clever marketing, the vast majority of smoothly finished, mass produced commercial weights do not give much else, so are Stonze different?

The anglers I’ve spoken to ALL compare the Stonze system to a lead; why is this?? Probably because of what I’ve previously written, they expect the Stonze to do what a lead does. In my opinion, this is perhaps not the best way to consider the Pallatrax offering. As stated, clever marketing, often endorsed by ‘celebrity’ anglers, convinces mainstream anglers that they must use a lead of some sort. In times gone by, a weight needed to fish effectively could have consisted of anything which gave mass, and therefore weight to the terminal tackle. I’ve used hefty steel nuts in the past to sink my rigs, (admittedly, when sea angling) but the principle is exactly the same; weight is needed to pin the important bits down!

StonzeConsider this; a 2oz lead is quite compact, looks tidy and casts very well, after all, that is what it is designed to do. A 2oz Stonze, is slightly bigger, looks decidedly less aesthetically pleasing to the angler and may not cast as accurately at all ranges; still weighs 2ozs though, and will provide the same required effects as 2ozs of lead. A ton of feathers weighs the same as a ton of coal?? A 2oz lead still looks like a 2oz lead on the bottom though, whereas a 2oz Stonze looks like, well, a stone.....The largest Stonze will always appear less obtrusive than the smallest lead. It has to, it’s completely natural! Which do you think the fish will be more wary of?

What other advantages can be found? To be fair, not all Stonze will match the colour of the bottom of the venue on which you choose to fish. You may be able to find a lead similar in colour, but rarely exactly the same. What can you do about it? With a lead, very little, a smear of mud from the lake may temporarily disguise it, and the powder coating may give some disruption to the outline, but it’s still a man made shape on the lake bed. A Stonze however can be matched perfectly. Simple things before you go fishing such as soaking the Stonze in cold tea, bait dye or food dye will certainly change the hue, but, for the ultimate in camouflage, why not grow your own? Because it is a completely natural product,  securing the Stonze to the bank with a piece of mono and leaving it immersed in the shallows of your favourite venue, will encourage native algae to grow and bloom on the Stonze rendering it completely invisible and undetectable! Brilliant!!

So, I’ve established that it’s easy to hide, but what else gives it an advantage over the usual lead systems? How about flavouring your weight? The naturally occurring pitted surface of Stonze lends itself to absorbing a scent. Although a swift squirt of your favourite bait spray may suffice if the fish are feeding hard, dropping the Stonze in a soak, glug or dip for an extended amount of time means it will emit powerful scent signals for the whole session and beyond as the flavour is released back into the water. Shall I use a strawberry Stonze? A scopex Stonze, or a shellfish Stonze? The possibilities are boundless and limited only by your imagination.

Is there anything else which gives Stonze an edge? Well, because of the irregular shape, Stonze are superb for moulding paste or method mix around. I suppose you could also do that with some leads, but when it breaks, down, there is still a lead sitting in the middle of it!

In the interests of a fair review, casting has proven to be a concern for some anglers who state that they need to fish at ranges beyond 100 yards. A Stonze will never be as sleek as a distance lead and it is something to consider if you are a long range angler. However at distances which are regularly fished by most anglers, I’d have to argue that any reduction in accuracy may be down to casting ability as much as aerodynamic loss! I’ve had no problems reaching reasonable targets when under test conditions.

If you are still not happy that Stonze might help your catch rate and you are adamant that you will not give up your current leads because they are smaller, cast more efficiently and you don’t need the other benefits, then why not use tungsten weights? It’s far denser than lead, therefore smaller and less visible than a larger, bulky lead? Expensive? No doubt; but maybe you use a lead because it’s cheaper for the manufacturer to produce, well marketed by the manufacturer, similar to every other lead, therefore less competition for the manufacturer and then endorsed by a ‘celebrity’ who works for the manufacturer!!

Why not try something completely new? Why not try the Stonze system? Even if you are still not convinced by them, how about this? Who would ever of thought of fishing without a bait on the hook? The ‘hair rig’ was a crazy idea once and I’m fairly confident every carper uses it these days! Stonze may just be what you need to give you the edge to catch the fish of a lifetime!!

The Pallatrax Stonze system is available from all good stockists, rrp £1.25-£1.40 or visit the Pallatrax website for more details

Clint Walker,  December 2010 (C)