BoatUS ANGLER: RecycledFish Stewardship Tips
A well-tied, stout knot will provide the solid connection to your terminal tackle. A sturdy knot can help you land the fish of a lifetime. It can also keep tackle from breaking off and ending up in the bottom of the lake or around a bird's neck.
There really is no secret to a well-tied knot. Understanding why a knot breaks is a good place to start when understanding how to tie a strong knot. Mark Sosin and Lefty Kreh point out in Practical Fishing Knots, "any knot begins to slip just before it breaks." To build a knot that doesn't slip, they advise, close the knot as firmly as possible. To accomplish this, they recommend lubricating the knot with saliva or water prior to drawing it tight. This will help to seat the knot smoothly with a minimum of friction. For heavier lines, they add, use a pair of pliers for the final draw down.
Why knots are important to fish: Recent research by Paul Radomski, published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, attempted to estimate the loss rates for various types of tackle. According to Radomski, anglers lost lures at the rate of 0.0127 per hour. Large sinkers were lost at the rate of 0.0081/h, 0.0057/h for small sinkers, 0.0247/h for jigs, and 0.0257/h for hooks. Many anglers lost no fishing tackle on a fishing trip. Radomski noted, moreover, that the estimated total loss of tackle for the five water bodies that he studied in the summer of 2004 was 214,811 items. That number included over 100,000 lead-based items representing about 1 metric ton of lead.
Lost tackle is often ingested by fish and wildlife. When a fish or a bird ingests lead sinkers, the lead is broken down by the acidic conditions in the stomach and absorbed into the bloodstream. This will often lead to lead toxicity and, often, death.
Make sure that your knots are tight before you make your cast. Wet your knot with a touch of saliva or water and cinch it right down. You will lose fewer lures and land more fish. A sturdy knot that is drawn tight will help to reduce the amount of lost tackle in our streams and lakes.
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