I think anyone who goes fishing has a love for the environment and want to do as little damage as possible to it. Keeping waterways clean and pollution-free gives a boost to fish and that as to be good for fishing. Sadly over the last 10 years or so there has been a big increase in the use of soft artificial baits.
These little baits are proving popular with many anglers. There’s no live bait to look after, no waste as you can take home any left at the end of the day. It’s probably a lot less squeamish for many young anglers who haven’t had to use live bait. These artificial baits replacing live bait such as worms and maggots are made from plastics, PVC or silicon.
Incredibly, it’s estimated that in the US 12 tonnes of these artificial baits end up polluting the bottom of rivers, lakes and other waterways each year. That’s a lot of waste plastic and silicon.
It’s not just the plastic that these lures are made from that is a problem but to make them soft manufacturers add phthalates to the plastic. These are known toxins to the environment.
Tackle King Stops Selling Small Micro Artificial Baits
I’ve decided to stop selling artificial bait kits that include small micro-baits made from plastics and silicon because of the potential damage to the environment.
Small artificial baits – or plastic baits -can easily come off the hook. It’s not just when a fish takes a bit and pulls the bait off. the plastic can end up on the bottom of the river when you pull it through plants or other obstacles underwater. The plastic bait can then sit there for decades leeching out phthalates into the environment.
Not only that but the bait can be eaten by fish. with no nutritional value, the bait can sit in the stomach of the fish and can even swell up filling the stomach and stopping the fish from eating normally.
I’m carrying on selling the larger silicon/plastic baits such as frogs and prawns. This is mainly because as a larger bait it is much easier to secure to a rig. This means fewer losses while fishing and worn baits can be disposed of responsibly.
If you do decide to carry on with using small plastic or silicon baits then try different ways of securing them to the hook. This will reduce the risks of it becoming detached and lost in the water. One way is to use an o ring to secure the bait to the rig. Sadly this means using even more plastic to secure plastic but losses into the water should be less.
Swap from plastic to live baits
Live baits may not have the same highly attractive smells that plastic baits have but they are much kinder to the environment. With so much competition live bait is not expensive. You can get a pack of 500 waxworm larvae for as little as £10.00. Smaller packs are available.
There’s always the old fashion way of collecting earthworms for free from the garden. I remember spending the day before going fishing with my father going around using pouring soapy water onto the lawn to bring worms to the surface.
Damage from soft plastic baits debatable
There’s still a lot of unknowns when it comes to artificial plastic baits. It’s probably one of the reasons why despite historic calls in both the US and UK for complete bans, legislation has not been forthcoming.
That said, at least in the UK, many private fisheries owners are banning the use of artificial soft plastic baits and lures.
Even if the damage to the environment is not as great as some claim from plastic baits, reducing the amount of discarded plastic in our rivers and lakes has to be a good thing.
I’ve pledged to stop using small artificial soft baits for fishing, especially when there are more natural live baits available that are affordable and easy to get. Many live bait suppliers offer quick and easy overnight deliveries. With larvae lasting up to a month in cold storage, there is no inconvenience to using live bait over plastic bait.