“Either we pay 20 Euros for a bag of 10 sinkers, or we dedicate our Sunday morning to making our own.”
While visiting Nerja, a province of Málaga in southern Spain, I came across a charming little fisherman’s shed. In this little town, there is only one post office in town, and the fishermen that go out to fish in these waters are all locals. I was invited into the hand-finished tidy shed by Sebastian. He let me watch him create lead fishing sinkers, which is a weight used with a fishing hook to increase its rate of sink.
Sebastian and his close friend, who did not want to be portrayed in this journal was the one firing up the lead. Then it is put into a metal mold after it is shaped, it will directly be taken out of the mold to be hammered. As a result, you will have a curved lead sinker. The melting of lead is very toxic and poisonous. Even touching the lead or breathing it in over periods of years can cause mental and physical impairment. Both fishermen say that they are, “used to the smell”, that they can imagine it not being good for their health, but have always done it this way.
Sebastian explained to me that his life fishing is very fulfilling as well as tough, especially when fishing at night on choppy waters. It was a physically straining job, but one that he enjoyed and allowed him to provide for his family. Now at 68 years, Sebastian smirks when I act surprise learning his age. He retired a couple of years ago because the work is too hard on his back. He still hangs out at the fisherman’s shed and enjoys living close to the ocean.
Sebastian will often take his wooden blue boat to see what he can catch that day. He says that Sundays are sacred and he would rather do something easy, like create these sinkers.