A popular sector of the fishing lure industry is soft plastic baits. These are lures like frogs, grubs and worms that are normally placed on a rig or even just a hook or jig head. Fishermen who fish …
A popular sector of the fishing lure industry is soft plastic baits. These are lures like frogs, grubs and worms that are normally placed on a rig or even just a hook or jig head. Fishermen who fish bass in particular often utilize these in tournaments and fast-paced fishing meant to control the nuance of the lure. Typically used with a bait caster, these lures are synthetically molded soft plastic that mimics the shape and movement of live bait. They may be weighted in a way that affects their descent as they fall, they may have feet that flap behind them like the kicking legs of a frog, or a spiral tail that churns to imitate the tail of a swimming fish or perhaps a tadpole.
As in all fishing though, lures and other hardware are sometimes lost from battle with a fish, from snagging, bad knots, etc. But what happens to the soft plastic lures that are claimed by the water?
One has only to watch a bass tournament to see the efficacy that these lures have the potential of in terms of catching fish. But as fish consume these lures, perhaps past the fishermen’s ability to retrieve if hooked deep in the throat, and still others found by fish perusing the lake-bottom, what happens to the plastic?
Plastic that is consumed by fish often fails to pass from their system. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find one or even several soft plastic lures in the stomach of a fish when processing them. This of course depends on where you fish and the pollution level of that body of water. Various worm lures are the most common, according to studies conducted by the Fish and Wildlife Agency as well as some conservation groups. These lures have a habit of expanding up to six times their original size when submerged for long periods of time.
If you have ever had the opportunity to scour the shallows in low tide or when a lake or pond has been drained to work on a dam, you may have seen this evidenced. Nearly a decade ago, the Duck Harbor pond in Wayne County, PA was lowered nearly 10 feet for just this reason. In the cove at the eastern end, a large stump field presented a plentiful harvest for anyone ambitious enough to brave the mud in order to claim the years of lost lures tangled and hooked to the sunken forest. While stick lures, crankbaits, spinners and the like adorned nearly every exposed stump, soft plastic worms vastly outnumbered any one type of lure amongst them.
The point to be made here is this: Soft plastic lures do not just magically disappear once overexposed to water. Responsibility is the duty of any outdoorsman, fisherman, or hobbyist. Soft plastic lures should not be just thrown out in the water once you’ve finished using them. Take the time to throw them away properly; you never know if that worm you toss out could be the one that kills your next big bass.