I was two days into a five-day camping trip and the striped bass flopping on the deck of my kayak sure looked tasty. Too bad I was still two days from open season. My stomach growled as I dropped the fish into the water. No matter what your stomach or brain may think, each of us makes a difference in the health and sustainability of the fishy places we love. Here are five easy ways you can make a difference where you fish.
1. OBEY SIZE AND BAG LIMITS
Size and bag limits are determined by science and math. David Blazer, Maryland Fisheries Service Director, explains: “Scientists and fishery managers work closely with federal and state agencies to determine sustainable levels of harvest and fishing activity based on the best available science and the needs and desires of law-abiding citizens.” It only works if everyone buys in. The number of anglers is huge, and the area people fish is vast with a limited number of enforcement officers. “Breaking the rules only spoils the fun and opportunities for everyone else,” Blazer says.
2. START AT HOME
There are a million ways to recycle, reuse and repurpose fishing gear. I make a homemade anchor that helps me clean up the garage. Start with a bag of instant concrete and cut out the bottom of a plastic soda bottle. Fill the bottle bottom with concrete and dump in old hooks, weights and jigs. The old tackle reinforces the concrete and lead adds weight. Before the concrete cures, I stick a looped over piece of wire coat hanger or an old eye bolt to tie my anchor rope.