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Through the Lens

Don’t Throw That Line Away!

Fri, September 15, 2017

Yes, I realize the photo above is bit graphic –  as it should be in order to fully show the damage improperly disposed of fishing can cause. The improper disposal of fishing line is a serious threat to wildlife. I wish I could say this condition this goose was a rarity, but anyone who spends any amount of time on the water can likely attest that it’s not. This particular Canada goose did not survive it’s entanglement.

It’s disturbing to see wildlife – often dead – because of an entanglement in a wad of monofilament line. It’s also aggravating to end up with someone’s improperly disposed of line wadded up and tangled in your trolling motor.

The improper disposal of fishing line poses multiple threats to wildlife, as the above picture illustrates. It also poses a risk and hazard to our beloved retrievers during waterfowl season. One of the most horrifying sights I have ever seen was when my retriever became tangle in an abandoned trot line and ended up with multiple hooks and wads of line in both front legs.  Luckily, he was close to me in shallowish water and I could get him in before things went even further south. The possibility of him being so entangled that I might have lost him was real. The horrible wounds and ordeal of removing 5 hooks from his legs was VERY real. 

Sadly – it’s all preventable.

What can you do to help with scourge of monofilament line that we seem to find everywhere?  The first answer is easy – although none of us like to clean up someone else’s mess, it behooves us as good stewards of our lands to leave them better than we found them. 

I routinely carry a wadded up small plastic trash bag in my pocket when afield. It serves good many purposes – but primarily, it gives me a way to pick up any trash etc. that I find along the trail.  More days than not I end up dropping a nearly full bag in a parking area trash can.

The same principal applies when fishing or on the water. If I see line on the shore, or hanging from trees, I try to get in close enough with boat to remove as much as I possibly can. (An added bonus, I’ve scored lots of useable fishing lures and bobbers this way!)
If I am lucky enough to be fishing near a ramp or area with a line disposal box or tube, the line is placed there for recycling.

It’s easy enough to make your own personal line tube to carry on the boat or in your pack from a used tennis ball container or even that left over Pringles can that’s just rolling around in the bottom of the boat.  Simply cut an X in the lid so you can poke bits and pieces of line into the tube. If it’s a particularly long piece of line it can easily be wound around the outside of the tube, and then slid off for recycling.

Some general rules for helping to decrease the amount of abandoned and improperly disposed of fishing line:

Always recover, pick up and pack out your line. Seriously – just stuff in your pocket if nothing else. How hard is that?  Additionally, whenever it’s possible and feasible, clean up and properly dispose of any monofilament line that you encounter. Take those few extra minutes to get as much line back and out of the water as possible if you become entangled or snagged.

Think about your line – Is your line getting old and worn and prone to snapping easily when snagged? Do you have a pile of short line, loose pieces, straggly bits laying around and falling out of your boat or tackle bag? Even ends cut from leaders can be stored easily for proper disposal. If you must throw away instead of recycle fishing line, cut it into pieces less than six inches long. This helps to eliminate the hazards to scavenging wildlife and birds that frequent landfills and trash dump areas.

Another area that may seem a little strange to those that are fastidious about rod storage –  make sure your rods are stored properly, so monofilament line won’t be caught by the wind and allowed to free spool, leaving a long trail along the roadways and highways.

It’s easy enough to set the example and make it general rule on your boat that no plastic gets thrown overboard. Have suitable container on board, and instruct everyone in your boat they are to use it.  Just like the use of PFD’s – your boat, your rules.

Most importantly – recycle. There are multiple places to recycle monofilament line. Some sporting goods stores and bait shops offer a drop off point for recycling, and many popular fishing areas and boat ramps have an outdoor PVC recycling bin.

Berkley has great recycling program – you can read about here:
Additionally, BoatUS has an excellent guide at  that features helpful information, instructions, and materials that can be used not only by individuals, but also by school groups, scout troops and conservation organizations. BoatUS provides instructions for making the PVC tube type disposal stations an also offers the option for decals and signs. This is fun and great project to do with the youngsters in your household.

Bottom line (no pun intended) – always dispose of your fishing line appropriately, and clean up any that you find your travels!


And then theres the styrofoam and plastic bait containers

Posted by BIGPOND on September 15

Easy way to take old line off reel:

Use a drill with a hole saw.  Once the line is wrapped around the hole saw, one cut and you have the 6” pieces ready for recycling.

I’m a big fan of the line recycling stations at the Kane County Forest Preserve ponds.  People that use my neighboring forest preserve are pretty good about trash.

Posted by huntorski on September 15

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