Americans are more conscious than ever about properly disposing of and recycling non-reusable plastic. The recreational fishing industry wants anglers everywhere to apply this same habit to the proper disposal of soft plastic baits.
In an effort to keep our fisheries and lakes, rivers and streams clean and free of used soft plastics and other litter, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), through its Keep America Fishing angler advocacy program, created the Pledge to Pitch It campaign. Established in 2015, the awareness initiative aimed to educate anglers everywhere about the importance of proper soft plastic lure disposal and recycling.
This year, ASA, along with member supporters, professional anglers and others, are redoubling the Pitch It campaign with an extra focus on retention techniques that help those soft baits stay in place longer and out of our nation’s waterways. And when no longer useful, placing them in a receptacle for proper disposal once the day’s fishing is over or saving them for recycling into new soft lures.
“As stewards of the environment, it’s incumbent upon anglers to properly dispose of litter, especially fishing gear like soft plastic lures,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s vice president of Government Affairs. “With the help of many leaders in the industry, we’ve provided a wide array of educational materials on the Pitch It website for resource agencies, businesses, professional anglers and anyone else in the recreational fishing community to use to help spread the word about keeping our fishing spots free of litter.”
Techniques for keeping the bait firmly attached and out of the water aren’t complicated. Using retention tools like O-rings, a superglue and other techniques, as well as tying strong knots and using fresh line free of abrasions, all help to ensure nothing is left behind. Keeping the boat clean by corralling used baits and line means they stay in the boat when taking off at speed.
“The best way to care for a fishery is to leave it cleaner than before you fish it,” said B.A.S.S. Elite Series angler and Missile Baits Owner John Crews. “I always keep and discard my plastics and any line or lures I may snag while fishing.”
“All of us at Daiwa believe that the future starts today,” said Cary Graves, vice president of Sales for Daiwa Corporation. “Nothing is more important than taking care of our fishing environment and setting good examples for fisheries conservation.”
“As a hardcore angler and avid outdoorsman, it’s important for me to help do my part to keep the environment clean and provide clean waters for the next generation,” noted Mike Iaconelli, Professional Angler and Founder of The Bass University. “Join me in doing this by keeping your old soft baits and fishing line out of the water and ‘Pitch It’ into the trash or collection tubes,” Ike said.