No matter where we fish, it is inevitable that we will run in to the same thing – the trees, sand, grasses, and water decorated fully with litter. Much of the debris gets there by accident. A raccoon tears open a bag of trash, the wind picks up, and blows the refuse into the water. Other pieces are blatantly thrown there without care. Wherever it comes from, it’s important that we, as anglers and conservationists, commit to help lessen the burden of this phenomenon.
We’ve all seen photos of turtles with can holders wrapped around their neck or small bait fish trapped in a plastic bag with no way to escape, but does this really bother us enough to do something about it? If it doesn’t, it should.
Whether or not you subscribe to climate change ideology shouldn’t affect the way you approach conservation. Floating islands of garbage in our waterways are having a legitimate effect on the world’s fisheries far beyond a few dead minnows or turtles. These pieces work their way up the food chain until large predatory species are caught with plastic bits in their stomachs. I remember Capt. Ralph on the Odysea showing me a piece of 3” PVC pipe that he found in the belly of a 1050-pound bluefin tuna, and it changed the way I thought about this issue all together.
So, what can we do about this? It’s actually very simple. Leave with more than you brought in.
You may say, “I always do, Ben! I’m leaving with a limit of fish every time.” But I’m talking about another “bag limit,” entirely.
Bring a garbage bag in your tackle bag when you head out fishing. Take a short walk after you’ve finished casting for the day and try to fill up that bag with garbage. Recycle the recyclables and dispose of the disposables properly. If there isn’t enough trash to fill the bag, then good! That’s what we are shooting for. Also, this should go without saying, but make sure to remember to take your own trash out with you when leaving a fishing spot. Not only are you polluting the area by littering this way, but you are creating a snag in the water that will inevitably annoy other fishermen.
Simple actions like these require almost no effort and will ultimately improve the health of the area and remove dangers for wildlife. On top of that, they will also help to improve your success fishing in the area. After all, clean waters attract more fish and increase your chances of landing them.
IRT Reels is passionate about preserving the world’s fisheries. This is not only out of respect for the environment and its inhabitants, but also because we know it is essential for the preservation of the sport and its patrons into the far future. Never underestimate the power of a bag of trash. If we all make a conscious effort to leave a fishing spot with more trash than we came in with, we will notice the sport improving dramatically. Plus, who wants to wade into an area with bottles, bags, and containers floating all over the place? I know I don’t.
Keep our oceans clean and keep our fisheries safe. In doing so, we can ensure the sport of fishing will continue strong for generations to come.