If you read this article posted earlier this week, you’ve learned that many fishing products are actually very poor for the environment. Many products leech toxic chemicals or can create issues for fish and fisheries.
But below I will go over three sustainable fishing products you can buy which are nontoxic and not harmful to the environment. They include replacements for lead sinkers, a fishing bait company that uses eco-friendly materials, and a fishing line you can buy that limits their use of plastic.
Use brass or tin weights instead of lead
Perhaps one of the most dangerous things a fisherman uses every fishing trip are lead weights or sinkers. Because lead is such a widely available, easily moldable, cheap option for manufacturers, it’s what almost all sinkers are made from.
But there are other options available if you look close enough, and two of the cheaper options you can opt for are brass and tin weights.
When to use brass weights
Brass is a great option for weights where being noticeable or shiny is not a deterrent. Unlike lead, brass is not toxic and doesn’t easily leach into water supplies so it’s use is much better for the environment. It’s also not dangerous to humans like lead.
Brass can be painted like these sinkers available at Bass Pro Shops, but often you will find it unpainted and appear in a shiny golden color. For most fishing, this isn’t a huge concern. But it can throw a fish off that is more particular if they see a bright yellow, shiny weight. So stick with brass on the occasions where a fish won’t see your sinker or use the painted options if it will.
Brass is also a great option for when you want some noise in your presentation. Unlike lead, brass will rattle and create audible sound even underwater when knocked into something. This is why carolina rigs (where a bead is used to knock against the weight to create sound) utilize brass weights more often than lead. So if you want some noise to lure in nearby fish, brass is actually the preferred option.
When to use tin weights
If you can’t find brass weights or you want something that isn’t as noticeable, you can instead switch to tin sinkers.
Lead and tin are almost indistinguishable from each other, so you’ll have to look for packaging that specifies the sinkers are tin. The most common form you find tin sinkers in are called split shot weights and are used for many techniques, but most commonly bobber and worm setups.
Unlike lead, tin is not toxic to humans or most wildlife in small amounts. Tin won’t leach into water supplies over time with the minimal amounts of use fishing, preventing harm to the environment over time. So using tin weights whenever possible is a great way to help your fishery thrive.
Because fisherman are pushing for sustainable materials, you can now find tin in a variety of weight types other than just split shots as well. For example, Bass Pro Shops sells these football jigheads made completely from tin and there are other jighead options available as well. Hopefully the use of tin in place of lead is something that companies continue into the future!
The replacement for soft plastic lures
Another extremely harmful product that almost all fisherman use are soft baits. Because they are almost all made of plastic, a soft bait will never break down whether it is in a fish’s stomach or at the bottom of a lake.
Fish therefore often can’t pass these plastics through their body and they get stuck, eventually killing the fish. Even if the plastic isn’t eaten by a fish, it can leach into waterways for centuries because it never breaks down. They’re just not good for the environment or your local fishery.
Thankfully, several companies have recognized this and tried to find materials that create the action and durability needed to catch fish that don’t harm the environment. Chief among these is a company called Bio Baits.
According to their website, the materials they use in their baits is a patented water soluble, safer alternative to your plastic fishing lure that breaks down 99% faster than the industry standard. They infuse the plant materials used in their baits with natural scents and they are tear resistant, the most common reason plastics are so widely used by other manufacturers.
Bio Baits also makes a variety of soft bait options including swimming, worm, craw, creatures, and many other options. So you can get all of your needs just from this manufacturer should you choose to use lures which are less harmful to the environment.
For clarity, I am not sponsored by Bio Baits and they have had no influence in me promoting their product for this article. I simply have found their products to be the most environmentally friendly through my research. And I think you all would like to know about them too!
Another option should you want to try a more mainstream company is the Berkley Gulp line of fishing lures, available at Bass Pro Shops and many large retailers.. While not certified biodegradable, according to their manufacturer they will degrade after 1 to 2 years in most freshwater ecosystems. Which, while not great, is way better than the thousands of years most plastics will last. So they are certainly a more environmentally friendly option.
A better way to ship and store fishing line
A final eco-friendly fishing product that you can buy actually is not a lure or anything that would wind up in your fishery. But it is something that would normally end up in your landfill.
And that is the plastic spool that almost all fishing lines are sold on. It’s something we may not even think about normally, but once you have put all of the line from its original packaging onto your reel, what happens to the plastic spool? You toss it in the garbage and it goes to the landfill where it will sit for thousands of years, not degrading and leaching chemicals.
So instead, KastKing devised a fishing line spool that is completely biodegradable which they call the biospool. Unlike your normal plastic spool, the biospool is made of wheat-based products which will completely decompose in about 8 to 10 months.
Maybe the best part of this is that the fishing line you know and love is still in it’s same form. It’s just simply shipped and stored in a more environmentally friendly manner. Frankly, all fishing line manufacturers need to do this and I don’t know why it hasn’t caught on yet.
I personally have used KastKing’s braided line options and found their quality to be great so I would have no problem switching only to Kast King line in the future. In fact, because of their biospools, I am planning on it.
If you want to buy more sustainable and eco-friendly fishing products, please consider those listed above. All will have little to no impact on your fishing success and will ensure that fish, the fisheries, and all nature will be less affected by the fishing products we introduce to their habitat. If you know of an environmentally friendly product that you believe should be included, please comment below so we all can be better stewards for our fisheries!