Soft plastic fishing lures, such as plastic worms and tube jigs, have a proven track record of being the best artificial baits on the market, especially for the likes of bass and panfish. On the strength of these lures, professional anglers have won numerous tournaments and secured good incomes, while the average weekend fisherman has landed many a trophy and filled countless frying pans.
Those days of outstanding angling success might be numbered. Believe it or not, environmentalists have set their sights on these lures. They say that soft plastics pollute the waters and can be consumed by aquatic wildlife like loons, ducks, and otters. They also say that plastic worms sit in the bellies of fish that were lucky enough to get away, slowly killing them over time.
Never one to ignore the concerns or demands of environmentalists — no matter how extreme or unfounded some of their views may be — government has picked up on the alleged ills of plastic baits. In Maine, state representative Paul Davis introduced a bill on January 17 that would ban the use of “rubber worms” (the catch-all term for soft plastics baits) within the state.
The bill was met with ire from fisherman not only in Maine, but from across the United States, as well. A public hearing on the bill was standing room only, while a leading angling organization, BASS (the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society), submitted testimony. Because of the public's reaction — and the fact that Representative Davis didn’t even seek cosponsors because he knew it was a controversial topic — it’s likely that the bill will come to a quick demise.
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