Properly Discarding Soft Plastic Baits

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.

Mark Romanack Pro Staff

Mark Romanack aka the “Outdoors Guy” is a lifelong resident of Michigan. One of Michigan’s most celebrated outdoorsmen and outdoor communicators, Mark is a graduate of Northern
Michigan University and holds a BS degree in Conservation/Ecology. Mark’s outdoor writing
career got started as a parttime job back in 1985. It wasn’t long before Mark was writing full time for a host of outdoor periodicals. To date Mark has authored over 4,000 full length
magazine features, 13 different hard copy books on fishing and three fishing e-books for Kindle. Mark also pens a popular and free weekly fishing blog published at the web page and also on Facebook. In 2007 Mark took the plunge into the outdoor television industry hosting and producing Fishing 411 TV that broadcasts
nationally on the World Fishing Network. Fishing 411 is also available on-demand at date Mark has hosted and produced over 140 national television episodes
focusing on a host of freshwater fishing topics. Mark lives in Northern Michigan with his wife Mari and hunting dogs Mason, Drake and Stormy.

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