The Hazards of Discarded Fishing Line

Posted by MNAngler On August - 11 - 2010

A few weeks ago, Jim Braaten of the Sportsmans Blog posted a story about his buddy running across what appeared to be a bird of prey caught in some fishing line.

I don’t think any of us would wantonly throw a tangle of fishing line in the water. But what we probably don’t think about is when we get a line caught in a tree, or stuck on a log. Instead of making an effort to get the lure unstuck, it’s much easier to just cut the line and retie. However, leaving a line dangling can be a danger to wildlife, as Jim’s story illustrates.

I’ve been known to throw a stray cast once in a while, but I always go after my lures–usually for monetary reasons rather than conservationist ones (I’ve been married to my Norwegian wife too long and have picked up her family’s frugal sentiments). But now I’m doubly glad I do.

So the next time you get hung up in a tree or a drowned log, please make a good faith effort to get your lure back. You’ll be doing the local wildlife a favor. And be saving a few bucks to boot.

Read Jim’s post: Appreciate the Hazards of Discarded Fishing Line


7 Responses to “The Hazards of Discarded Fishing Line”

  1. bassdem says:

    Yep. I spend some of my time on the water collecting what I find. I often stop everything I’m doing to yank line out of the water or a tree limb. I keep a spare bag handy for any line I come across. If I cannot recover it all, I will snip it as high as I can. Sometimes I get a free lure out of the deal. I also cut limb lines on one area lake, namely because they are illegal, but also because I’ve seen a dead cormorant hanging from one. You may not reach people using the wildlife protection stance, so let me throw in another good reason not to leave your fishing line in a tree or even toss it in the water. It can get wrapped up in our own equipment. Coming back in one afternoon at the ramp, I noticed line sticking out from my prop on the rear motor. Spent a fair amount of time pulling it off, turning the prop to advance the line. Pulled off close to 30 feet of the stuff if I remember correctly. I wouldn’t want to do that to a fellow boater. Wouldn’t want to ruin their equipment.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bass Dem and Bass Dem, MNAngler. MNAngler said: Cutting fishing line from a hung up lure could unintentionally harm wildlife. Please don't: http://bit.ly/bFuVSb. Originally from @jim7226 [...]

  3. mdtolic says:

    Line can wreak havoc on a motor if it gets in there and damages the seals. I took the prop of my new boat and found so much braid that it was almost a solid mass. Had to slice it of in chunks. Now I’m leaking a little oil. Might have to get the prop shaft seal redone. The trolling motor had a ton too. Runs so much smoother since I got the line out. I’m pretty bummed about the big motor though. Already had to spend some dough on a new oil pump this year.

    • mdtolic says:

      P.S. That’s a pretty sad picture up there.

      We’ve all had to cut our line at some point. I use a lot of braid myself. I’ve found that when I put the rod down, take a branch, wrap it around the braid a few times and pull in as straight a line as possible, it usually breaks at the knot; sometimes even the hook. I get a little worried about what it does to strain the line like that, but I prefer to get it back rather than cut it and leave it in the water.

  4. Raz says:

    Like md mentions, improperly disposed of line can cause mechanical problems and could actually put lives at risk.
    I was once several miles off shore in the Saginaw Bay, Michigan when we lost power to the lower unit in my cousin’s boat. The cause turned out to be a bunch of mono that got behind the propeller, tore up the seal, and all the lube escaped. When that happened, the lower unit failed and were stranded, in need of a tow. We were lucky that we had a cell signal and called for help. Fortunately, the weather was fair, but if it had turned for the worse, we could very well of been in danger.

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