Robert Peters, Recreational Angler
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Posted on April 28, 2014 | Permalink
Soft Plastic Baits
Location: Daniels on the Patapsco
First Iíd like to report seeing a large otter this morning 4/23/14 below Daniels Dam on the Patapsco while fishing. Glad to see they are now in that river. Is this a natural population or stocked?
Concern: This year while catching trout at Daniels on the Patapsco I have encountered several fish (rainbow and browns) that their throats are jammed with several hooks with the plastic power worms, not just one. Not as if the fished was hooked than got away. Seeing this is disturbing. Daniels is a location that the bottom of the dam is filled with many rock and log snags. You will lose tackle at Daniels. I assume that when a fisherman loses his tackle to a snag the fish continue to hunt for food and since these plastic worms donít biodegrade this looks good to the fish. This year I have noticed this more than any other year. I have also witnessed the increased popularity and use of this bait. Now that I see what this bait does to fish I will continue to use power bait and other natural food sources. Is anyone else reporting these findings?
DNR Response from Dr. Joe Love: The problem with soft plastic baits isnít very well-documented, but it has been cited as a potential problem for trout and bass. Itís been brought to attention by national groups like BASS and I co-authored a short report with the Conservation Director from Maryland Bass Nation Because of the concern of soft plastics, we added a short blurb about them in a ďLeave no TraceĒ ethics section of the Maryland Fishing Guide last year. Information is getting out there, but itíll take people like you to help spread the word and clean up soft plastics when they see them. Itís somewhat common that Iím picking up soft plastics every time I go in the field from a parking lot or a dock. When Iím out fishing, I see the lines hung up in trees and soft plastics wedged into the rocks. There isnít much consensus yet on how those soft plastics pose a problem for fish. Several folks within the bass fishing community think that the soft plastics are ingested and cause nutritional issues. I think itís a problem that will get better studied in the future.
Iím hopeful that as word spreads regarding soft plastics, that anglers might be more willing to pick them up when they see them. For a few spots in the tidal basin (like Smallwood State Park), I was going to work on developing some recycle containers for soft plastics. The Bass Federation has placed recycle containers for discarded fishing line at several locations. Iíd like to see some emphasis on soft plastic recycling as well.