SAFE Angling Products

dock-silhouettes-smallS.A.F.E. Angling stands for ‘Sustaining Angling, Fish and Ecosystems.’ If we enjoy fishing, and want to not only catch more and bigger fish but leave healthy fisheries for future generations, then our choices matter. Maybe even more significant is that the water fish swim in is also our drinking water. Fish are a ‘canary in the coal mine’ for problems in our broader environment. We need healthy water to live - not just to recreate.

Some of our greatest experiences in the outdoors center not just around catching fish, but experiencing the wildlife we see while outdoors. This is why we want everyone to start using eco friendly fishing products and practice SAFE Angling.

No Lead

SAFE Angling products are all lead-free for the ulitmate in eco friendly fishing. Lead is a toxic metal that has adverse effects on the nervous and reproductive systems of mammals and birds. Found in traditional fishing jigs and sinkers, this metal is poisoning wildlife such as loons and eagles.

lead-loonWhen lead sinkers are lost through broken fishing lines or other means, birds can inadvertently eat them and die. Water birds such as loons, ducks and geese often swallow lead sinkers when they scoop up pebbles from the bottom of a lake or river to help grind their food. Eating just one lead sinker can poison a bird. Eagles ingest lead by eating fish that have themselves swallowed sinkers and by ingesting lead bullet fragments from wildlife shot by hunters.

While it is hard to get an accurate count of birds that die from eating lead, current research indicates that lead poisoning is a serious concern. The University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center reported 32 eagles found and treated for lead poisoning in 2008, up from 27 in 2007. In loon breeding areas — the Great Lakes, northeastern United States and eastern Canada – studies show that lead poisoning may account for up to 50 percent of dead loons found by researchers.

SAFE products include sinkers and jigs made from non-poisonous materials such as tin, bismuth, steel, and tungsten-nickel alloy. You can enjoy the fishing experience and rest easy that you aren’t poisoning the environment while you do.

Finally, lead alternatives work great to catch fish! Many of these metals are harder than lead, so it’s easier to feel what’s happening underneath the water when you fish them. Some - like tungsten - are more dense than lead, so they sink faster at a smaller profile, getting your bait or lure down where the fish are faster, and keeping it there.

For more on fishing lead-free, visit Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Get the Lead Out site.

No soft plastics

Plastic Pollutes. Soft plastic lures have been around since the 1950s. So where have 50 years of plastics ended up? Fishermen know that a lot of soft plastic lures are lost or discarded in water or weeds. However, plastic lures are not biodegradable so they’ll be on the bottom of lakes and rivers pretty much forever. Estimates suggest that as much as 20 million pounds of PVC get put in the water supply every year due to soft plastic fishing lures.

Plastic Lures Hurt Fish And Other Wildlife. According to Dr. Russell Wright, Fisheries Extension Specialist and Auburn University Assistant Professor of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures, "a lot of times when a largemouth bass swallows a plastic lure, it jams between the stomach and the small intestine. When that happens, it’s over — the bait can’t go either direction and the fish will ultimately starve to death."

Soft Plastic Lures Can Contain Toxic Chemicals. Soft plastic lures usually contain phthalates (pronounced "THAL-ates"), a plastic softener that is a potentially harmful chemical. Harvard University researchers conducted a study that found links between exposure to phthalates and reproductive problems in men. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, phthalates "get rid of the things in the testosterone line, the things that make a man a man." (USA Today, Aug. 2, 2005). Phthalates also have been linked to cancer — including breast cancer — and asthma in children.

Biodegradable molded baits catch more fish! Fish like protein, not plastic. The scent and flavor associated with baits that are made from real food without plastic means that they simply work better to catch fish.

Single hooks and circle hooks

Catch & Release has caught on. We also support selective harvest - taking some fish some of the time, harvesting selectively from healthy stocks of fast reproducing fish or invasive species. If we’re practicing catch & release, we want the fish to have the best chance of survival following release. This means keeping the fish out of the water for the shortest time possible, with the least amount of injury possible.

Put simply, single barbless hooks can help facilitate this.

Circle hooks generally hook fish on the outside of the mouth, reducing injury to tissues deep inside the fish and making for quick release.

Catch and Release fishing Information.

Selective Harvest fishing information.