What Are Ballabeni Split Shot? (Pros, Cons & Best Tips)

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If you are an avid coarse angler, then you have probably come across forums or fellow anglers talking about Ballabeni shot and whether to use it or not. 

Ballabeni shot is quickly becoming the number one fishing shot choice for coarse anglers around Europe and the UK.  But what are Ballabeni shot? Are there any advantages to using them, and should you switch? That is what we are here to find out. 

Join me as we take a deep look into their pros and cons and whether it is time for you to try it out and see if it improves your coarse fishing. 

What Are Ballabeni Split Shot? 

Ballabeni shot is made in Italy and is known to be the most perfectly made split shot available on the market today. What makes these shot so amazing to fish with is that it is cut perfectly round and it is perfectly centrally cut, but how does this help your fishing? 

How Does Ballabeni Shot Help Your Fishing? 

When you are using split shot to present a bait, usually under a float, you want that bait to sink, sit, and look as natural as possible. If your shot is not perfectly round, each bit of shot drags your bait in a different direction while it sinks, pulling it one way and then the other. 

Imagine some bait thrown into a lake; it will sink naturally without anything affecting its movement. This is what fish want to see, but if your shot isn’t perfectly round, the way it sinks will look unnatural, and the fish may get suspicious. Being perfectly round removes this unnatural look. 

As I already mentioned, these are also perfectly centrally cut and affect how your bait sinks and sits in the water. For example, if you use five pieces of shot and each one is centrally cut a little bit off, the weight will pull your bait in different directions, making it look unnatural. 

By being perfectly centrally cut, they ensure that you can align your shot uniformly and ensure your bait sinks and sits as naturally as possible in the water. This will remove any suspicion from wary fish who have been caught before and hopefully mean you catch more fish because of it. 

When To Use Ballabeni Shot? 

You should use Ballabeni shot whenever you would usually use other split shots, and this is mostly when you are float fishing, either with a pole or a conventional rod and reel float setup. 

It is used more and more in fishing matches as it does let your bait sit more naturally and can increase the number of bites you get, especially when the cold weather sets in and fish become far less interested in eating. 

I use the shot when I don’t want to use stotz throughout the rig. Stots can slip during the hooking and playing of carp and F1’s, so adding one on either side of the stotz solves this sliding issue. In the UK, it is not possible to use sizes 1 through 7, so I will use stotz instead of Ballabeni for those larger sizes. 

Is Ballabeni Shot Easy To Use? 

While Ballabeni shot is excellent at helping you present your bait as naturally as possible, it isn’t the easiest shot to use. 

This shot is a little harder than other shots, making putting it onto your line much more difficult. You won’t be able to do it with your hands and will have to use shot pliers or something similar to ensure they consistently stay in place and secure. 

While this is a bit of a pain in terms of rigging, the benefits far outweigh the negatives here. For a few extra minutes of rigging time, you will have your bait sitting and sinking more naturally, plus you will get more bites and catch more fish. 

But, there is another issue on the horizon. Since they require pliers and sit so securely on your line, sliding the shot up and down the line isn’t really possible. This means possibly setting up extra rigs when you want to make slight changes. 

Should I Switch To Ballabeni Shot? 

Switching to Ballabeni shot should be a yes for all anglers, as the advantages far outweigh the negatives. 

Having such a reliably shaped and cut shot in your arsenal that allows you to present your bait as naturally as possible is a bit of a game changer. With a bit of effort through adding the shot and lining them up straight, you will get more bites and catch more fish due to the natural presentation. 

Yes, you will need to buy some shot pliers for rigging and a Stonfo Levapiombo removing shot tool to readjust your shot patterns; otherwise, it will become time-consuming and risk weak areas in your line and rig. It’s one of all angler’s worst moments when you hook into a decent size fish, and your line breaks due to a shot having damaged the line.


  • Most centrally cut shot on the market 
  • The Most perfect round shot on the market 
  • It comes in a range of sizes from 1 to 13 
  • It makes it easy to line your shots perfectly centrally 
  • Once on the line, it doesn’t slip or come off 
  • Great for pole rigs and finesse fishing
  • It helps your bait drop naturally through the water 


  • It’s Leaded, not lead-free! 
  • Ideally requires shot pliers to secure it properly 
  • Smaller sizes are difficult to remove 

Many pleasure and match anglers, especially those who fish with a pole, will use Preston Stotz in conjunction with a split shot. You can read more on Stotz in my detailed review on What Are Stotz weights and how to use them for fishing rigs!

How Do You Use Ballabeni Shot?  

Ballabeni shot is made for float fishing and is positioned on your line under your float to help your bait sink and to have your float tip sitting perfectly at the right level on the water’s surface. 

You have two choices as to where to add them on your line, depending on how you want your bait to sink. 

Adding Ballabeni Shot To Your Line 

When adding split shot to the line under your float, you can either stack the shot close to your hook (4” to 6”) or spread the shot between the hook and the float. 

Putting your shot near the hook will cause your bait to sink quickly to your desired depth, and put your bait in the zone you think you will get a bite in.

If you spread your shot out between the hook and the float, your bait will sink slowly and more uniformly, which allows you to fish on the drop. When you align the shot correctly in this method, it is quite deadly as it ensures your bait drops naturally to entice a bite. 

How Much Ballabeni Shot Do I Need To Add? 

Now that we know where you can add the shot to your line to employ different tactics let’s look at how much shot you should add. 

Chances are you already know this, but it will be useful for beginners. Whatever float or bobber you are using requires enough shot weight to have it sit properly in the water. This allows you to see even the most subtle bites and is a key part of success when float fishing. 

Every float you use has a weight rating telling you how much weight it needs to sit properly. For example, a size 4 x 16 float requires 0.5 grams to sit properly, equating to adding eight size #8 split shot to have it sit correctly. 

How To Add Ballabeni Shot To Your Line 

Adding the small sizes of Ballabeni shot to your line is a little fiddly, and you will need to use pliers to have it sitting tightly. The key is having the cut down each piece of shot aligned with the next, as this ensures your bait sinks and sits naturally. 

Line up the shot with the line running through the cut, and use your pliers to squeeze it on tightly. Do the same with the next shot and the rest, ensuring they are lined up as perfectly straight along each cut as possible. 

I recommend that the Cresta split shot pliers are the best when adding any split shot to the line. They ensure the shot goes on at the right force and without damaging the outer shape or your line.

This shot is much harder than other traditional split shot, but you don’t want the shape to change when adding it, as this will affect how it sinks. Make sure to add enough pressure to make it secure but not too much that misshapes it. If it does change shape, it would be wise to re-rig. 

How To Remove Ballabeni Shot From Your Line?

Ballabeni shot sits very securely on your line, making it very hard to take off. You can try and get something into the cut to open them up and remove them, but it isn’t easy. Some anglers even use their teeth to open them up!, which I don’t recommend since they are made from lead!

Most anglers may end up cutting the line, and this is time-consuming (and frustrating) to re-rig when you want to change tactics. 

My advice is to go and buy the Stonfo Levapiombo Shot Remover. This is a great tool for removing any split shot.

Is Ballabeni Shot Lead-Free?

No, Ballabeni shot is made from lead. Therefore, any sizes smaller than a no.8 shot are illegal to use in the UK. Therefore, if you buy a large dispenser (sizes from no1 to 11), you cannot use the No1 to No7 in the UK for fishing. The smaller dispenser box, which covers sizes 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, is perfectly legal under current UK laws.

To learn more on lead weights, check out my in-depth article Why are lead fishing weights and sinkers banned? Including the regulations in each country.

Shotting Out 

Thank you very much for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed it and now have a fuller understanding of what Ballabeni shot is, the advantages and disadvantages, and when to use them. 

I think it is the best shot on the market, and it will take your bait presentation to the next level when float fishing, so give it a try! 

Please share the article with your fishing buddies, as they should know about Ballabeni shot too, and why not check out some of our other articles? You may find my fishing line strength vs diameter article useful or my guide on buying and using the best disgorgers for unhooking fish. 

Steve Fitzjohn