It’s no secret that soft plastic baits catch lots of fish. It’s also no secret that these lures are extra soft to make them life-like. Because they are as soft as live bait, soft plastics readily rip and tear while fishing them forcing anglers to replace these baits regularly. At the end of a long day of fishing it’s common to have gone through several packages of soft plastic lures!
One of the problems associated with these plastic lures is many anglers simply toss them overboard when they become torn up too much to fish with. Not only does this litter our lakes and rivers, unfortunately fish still eat them. Biologists have documented that soft plastics do not break down in the digestive system of popular species like largemouth and smallmouth bass, pike and walleye.
Just as bad, most soft plastics will not biodegrade if left in the water. This means that when these baits are discarded into a lake or river, they can sit on the bottom for weeks and even years!
A few soft plastics like Berkley Gulp are designed to quickly decompose, but that’s not the case with the majority of the soft plastics on the market. In my boat I simply start a pile as these lures get ripped up and useless. At the end of the day I scoop up the pile and discard these worn out lures in the trash where they belong.
Taking a few minutes to clean up after ourselves is part of the responsibility as fishermen we have to be good stewards of our water resources. The next time you see someone tossing soft plastic lures over the side, remind them of the damage they are doing to our environment, our sport fishing resources and also to the image of anglers everywhere.