It is not common for hooks to have a lead coating, at least in my locale (US southwest). They are most often brass, steel with a brass plating, plain steel, or stainless steel.
Brass may have varying percentage of lead content... but that is a small percentage.
Some hooks have a lead weight moulded into the shank.
You would not eat that easily but why do you care when the other danger is putting the hook through your own lip while eating the fish?
There is also the fact that hooks are usually re-usable. Another day, another fish.
A similar – but more serious – danger is when eating game killed with a shotgun. ...
If they're using 1oz sinkers and you're using a quarter ounce, doesn't that explain everything? Also take note of their line weights -- it sure seems like it's easier to maintain tension on a lighter line.
You may just need to set the drag properly. Once you have increased the weight on the line, see if you need to flip a switch or dial a knob on your reel.
Many reels can be setup to be reversible. You do not want that selection for the type of fishing you are doing. If you pull on the line manually and the handle starts reversing, then you need to look for a ...
Try a little more weight. Get a Leatherman pliers/knife combination and some weights to test some things. You can obtain pinch-on lead weights that can be quickly attached to your line with your pliers. With some effort, a pocket knife can usually remove said weights by prying them open. If you get the weight right, then you can buy swiveling weights of the ...