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The Importance of Disposing of Old Fish Line Properly

17 Nov

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I have heard about, been preached to, and read about the need and importance of the proper disposal of your old fishing lines. It has become second nature for me to make sure that any fishing line I take off my reels makes it into a trash disposal, and I try my best to make sure I don’t leave any line behind at my fishing spot if I have to break it. Sometimes, though, I’m not always able to reach a broken line in the water, depending on where the break is. But I give it a good effort.

Not only is knowingly leaving fishing line behind littering, but it’s a hazard to wildlife that could get entangled in it. It’s a simple task to take a couple of minutes and try to remove any line that might be dangling from a tree. Of course, nobody expects you get all of it, but at least do what you can.

Why am I preaching the removal of fishing line, and proper disposal of fishing line? Some of you might think it’s a waste of time, or no big deal. Well it is a big deal, and surely a few minutes of your day throwing away or recovering what you can of broken fishing line will not be too much of a hassle.

Recently, I decided to take my wife and daughter to a nearby lake to do some fishing and enjoy the day on the water. What I found shortly after getting on the water made me upset.

Dangling from one particular tree was fishing line. Not just one piece of line; there was so much, it looked like tinsel on a Christmas tree. Much of this line could have been removed. I know this because I wound up removing it myself. But what got me all fired up is what I saw in the water.

A length of fishing line several yards long was hanging from a branch that was about five feet above the water. There was what appeared to be a bass spinner or jig tied on to the line. Unfortunately the lure was hooked in the wings of a Barred Owl, and the fishing line was wrapped around the body of the bird. It saddened me to see this beautiful creature succumb to such a horrible death.

It was a death that did not need to occur in this manner. It would have been a simple task for the angler that broke his line off in the tree to cut it away, if he had simply taken the time to maneuver his boat over to the tree. Why he didn’t do it baffles me. You’d think he would have wanted to retrieve his lure. I inspected the line, and it was within easy reach to cut, so that’s not an excuse.

Maybe some of you read the warnings on fishing line packages to dispose of the old line properly and never give it a second thought. It doesn’t take long to to walk to a trash can, or get a boat in position to cut away a line that’s hanging from a tree. As a fisherman, I would think that we’d want to do what we can to protect the environment and the wildlife. It should be second nature to do a simple task that could prevent unneeded deaths. Many of you reading this already do what I am asking. I’m hoping the others will heed this advice.

The next time you put new line on your reels, walk to a trash can and throw it away. If your cast goes astray and your lure lands in a tree or on a bush, get your boat in position, or make a walk, and cut away as much line as you can. If a trash can is not handy, it’s not a big deal to hold onto it until you come across one. If you have to, ball it up and stuff it in your pocket until you get home.

It keeps the landscape clean and protects the animals and birds that call our playgrounds their home.  by Jason Houser

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