Soft plastic baits are becoming increasingly popular when fishing for a variety of freshwater fish. However, many are concerned that too many of these discarded baits are ending up on lake bottoms or in the bellies of fish.
You can do your part to make sure that these baits are handled p
roperly. When done fishing, never discard these used baits into the water. Keep a small ziploc bag with you and dispose of your plastic baits properly at the dock or at home. Fish can ingest these baits off the bottom, and they can impact fish health.
You can also extend the useful life of your plastic baits quite easily. For those who like to fish soft plastic baits “Wacky” style, use a small o-ring in the middle of the bait, and place your hook right under the o-ring. That way, if your hook pulls through the bait, the o-ring will retain your bait.
Anglers say they get a much longer life with their plastic baits when they use this method. You can purchase an o-ring tool at tackle stores. This tube-style tool allows you to roll the o-ring right to the middle of your bait. Anglers can even use zip ties instead of an or-ring. Just cinch a small zip tie right in the center of your bait, and slip the hook under the zip tie.
If you fish your plastics Carolina or Texas rigged, you can utilize an instant glue that will repair your plastic baits quickly and extend their life. Many tackle shops carry this instant glue for soft plastic baits, and it will pay for itself in no time.
Perhaps the best thing you can do is inspect your soft plastic bait frequently. After catching a fish, make sure your bait is still intact. If your bait is worn and will likely fall off, replace it with a new bait, re-hook it, or repair it.
Soft plastic baits can help you catch more fish, but if you want to ensure the health of future fisheries, please make sure to dispose of your plastic baits properly, and discard or replace any worn baits while fishing.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.