I was amazed at the many ways that recreational fishing has negatively affected the environment. Every fisherman knows that hooking a fish causes it stress on top of any physical harm caused to the fish by the hook itself increasing unintended fish mortality. But I bet many people have not considered some of the other negative impacts on the environment.
According to research done by the University of Wisconsin over 12,000 tons of plastic fishing lure waste is deposited in our streams, lakes and rivers each year. Many of these soft plastic lures are made from PVC based plastic which is harmful to the environment. This happens a variety of ways but a common event is a spent lure being dropped in the water during catch and release. Plastic baits and their leaders (the part of the line attached to the lure) are also easily broken during the fight, especially with toothy fish. Monofilament fishing line is hard to handle in the field and tangles lines are unfortunately oftentimes disposed of on site, in the water.
KindFishing cuts down on this plastic waste by minimizing the physical stress on the plastic lure that comes with the fight. Of course, this also means less physical stress on the fish, too. KindFishing with a fly rod and flies, including Tenkara rigs, is also a great option. Fly fishing flies for the most part have very little plastic materials used in their construction. Many flies are made from only natural materials such as the cast-off feathers and fur of other animals.
Another way to cut down on this waste — whether you are KindFishing or hook fishing — is to adopt a PIO rule when fishing. That is, Pack It Out. Stuff old lines and lures in your pockets. Bring a small paper bag to hold it. Or if you are a gear-geek like I am, get something like a FishPond PIO Pod. I have one of these attached to all of my fishing bags and packs so I never have to think about having a place for my waste.
However you manage it, please always Pack It Out.