The above photo shows another bass that is slowly starving to death because of ingested plastic baits.
My friend Carl Wengenroth, owner of Angler’s Lodge on Lake Amistad, sent the photo to me. Sadly, he has seen plenty of this.
“A 9-inch curly tail was pulled from the anal port,” he says.
“The angler wanted to release it so I have no idea what else was in there. But I am assuming there was more. No hook was seen.
“Thought about digging around, but figured it would kill the fish. It took some effort to get the worm out of there, so I know it was stuck.”
As I’ve shown with photos previously at Activist Angler, many of them from Carl, we have anecdotal evidence that bass are eating discarded baits and starving to death because of it, as the plastic blocks their digestive systems.
The sight of a skinny bass with plastics in its belly is gut-wrenching, no doubt about it. And we need to do more to keep them out of our waters. But we have no evidence that those baits are hurting bass populations overall.
So, it makes sense to view this issue as one more front on the battle to keep trash, especially plastic and man-made packaging, out of our environment. Six-pack rings, plastic bags, fishing line, and Styrofoam bits have killed plenty of fish, turtles, and birds.
Most anglers pride themselves on their conservation ethic, and here’s a great way to demonstrate that ethic through actions.
Don’t throw those used plastic baits in the water or on the ground, and encourage others to properly dispose of them as well.
Also, join Recycled Fish’s One Million Stewards campaign. Take the Sportman’s Stewardship Pledge and buy a Stewardship kit, which includes a shoreline cleanup bag and a booklet on how to better care for our fisheries.
Catch-and-release was a great first step on the road toward anglers taking responsibility for the health of our fisheries. Now it’s time for the second.