Fishing With Soft Plastics

Soft Plastic Baits

All of these lures were found in the stomach of a 14 lb. lake trout caught by
George Manley of Sidney, maine in Maranacook Lake in 2009.

Soft plastic lures are popular fishing tackle; and just like all other equipment, it’s your responsibility to properly maintain and dispose of them. There is no doubt, discarding soft plastic lures on land or in the water is littering and poses environmental concerns. Over the years, discarded plastic lures have been improperly disposed of and have ended up on lake bottoms or in fish stomachs. Fish can ingest these lures off the bottom, and that can negatively impact their health.

Bin your Bait

Just as you wouldn’t intentionally throw used fishing line into the water, you should never discard or dump old soft plastic lures overboard either. Instead, dispose of used lures in a trash can or recycling canister. Several Maine boat launches offer bait recycling canisters, and many local fishing clubs and retailers also offer bait recycling programs.

Prevent Accidental Littering

Soft plastic lures can wear out and get brittle, stretch, or rip, increasing the likelihood that they could fall off your hook. The best thing you can do to prevent that is inspect your soft plastic lure frequently. After catching a fish, make sure your lure is still intact. If it is worn or close to falling off, either replace it with a new bait, rehook it, or repair it. Technology has come a long way since plastic lures were first introduced, and many on the market today are made with more durable materials for a longer lifespan and have built-in lure retention devices. If you are working with older lures, you can easily extend their useful life by placing a small o-ring or cinched zip-tie in the middle of the bait. Place your hook right under the ring or tie; that way, if your hook pulls through the bait, the tie will keep the bait attached.

Help Keep Maine's Waters Clean & Healthy

  • Check your soft plastic lures often
  • Replace worn out lures while fishing
  • When you’re done, don’t litter. Recycle your bait or dispose of it in the trash.