Kudos to Ish Monroe for cracking the 100-pound barrier enroute to his second Bassmaster Elite win this weekend on Florida’s Lake Ocheechobee. But also kudos to the fishing industry for providing the specialty tools it sometimes takes to win.

Several years back, on the Louisiana Delta, I was a press observer with Mark Rizk in the Bassmasters Classic, an event that provided some conditions similar to Florida–miles of featureless horizons, alligators and floating hyacinth. To his credit, Mark had several options, flipping for one and also tossing a frog. But what he didn’t have, were some of those cannonball weights that let you penetrate the thickest umbrella.

Monroe, on the other hand, touted his River2Sea Trash Bombs, those tungsten flip weights that run about $115 a pound. Of course, when you buy them one at a time, they run about 7 bucks each for the one-ounce, but just like any other critical tool for the task, they clearly are requisite for the guy facing water thick with heavy vegetation.

Monroe wasn’t actually “punching” as the parlance goes with a skirted weight (at least according to initital reports), but the clearly he was relying on the punching power his sinker to get him to the larger fish he had located. Anyone who has tried an array of means to get even a half-ounce bullet past the flotsam knows the problems. Either you drag the weight along till you find a crack, or you send up a mortar cast and hope it drops with enough force to penetrate.

Obviously, sinker weights and styles have truly expanded since the days of the first “slip sinkers.” That historic win by John Powell in 1971 at Toledo Bend at required Powell stringing five such bullets together to get to an ounce and a quarter–in that case, for drifting a Texas-rigged worm in the wind. But today we have specialty sinkers born of river drifting, knotless attachment, noisy brass and glass, and of course, environmentally friendly tungsten “depth charges”–friendly until you drop one on your foot.

Of course, you can still catch fish with much of the traditional terminal gear. But let’s face it. With the specialty items, it’s a heck of a lot easier.