Line Disposal Units
Inside the Outdoors, July 29,

Ask any angler what he hates most and he may tell one, it’s getting a bird’s nest. These are line tangles that are created when the line may not be weighted properly, old-line usage, or not having line wound tight enough on reels.

Fishers experiencing these problems may yell out expletives, talk to themselves loudly or just throw the rod and reel to the ground in disgust.

There are usually two procedures that fishers employ when this type of ‘surprise’ occurs. First, the person who is environmentally minded will cut off the birds nest and put in someplace in a bag and take it home for disposal. That is the preferred ways.

Second, one may take all the affected line from the reel and drop it on the shore just to get rid of it. Since it’s no good, it’s one way people dispose of it.

We live in a throw away society nowadays. Look along the curbs, sidewalks or even the streets and there will be litter everywhere. People don’t care what they toss onto someone lawn, in public parks or even, in this case, along the shorelines and streambeds of area water basins.

“Discarded fishing line and other marine debris are killing wildlife in huge numbers,” it was disclosed over Fox News recently. “Fishing line is the number one culprit cleanup volunteers encounter when they try to save wildlife,” according to the Ocean Conservancy organization.”

Even line with hooks will be detrimental to wildlife in more ways than one can imagine that get twisted in the unsuspecting ‘traps’ that lie among the grasses where unsuspecting fowl thrive.

Not too long ago, I was invited to go fishing at Keystone State Park with one of the master fishermen of Latrobe. I attached my lure to my line and wailed it out toward the middle of the waters. Upon bringing it back in, it was a whole ‘nother ball game. I got the lure close to the shore and immediately got snagged on something. In trying to raise it up to see if I could get it unattached to whatever it was hung up on, I noted it was someone’s fishing line.

Here was the problem. The line was out far enough that I couldn’t procure it from the shore. Since I wasn’t dressed to go in and get it, I had to break my line. What a revolting development that turned out to be.

But that wasn’t a one-time incident, but something that is prevalent.

I can’t help thinking about my past friend of several years ago who has since passed on. Michael Stein and I went fishing a lot together. This was one man who had a solution for everything. If he got his lure snagged in the bottom, he brought a ten-foot apple picker with him and slid its claw-wired cage down into the waters until he felt his lure. He then would turn the ‘picker’ around in circles until he loosened the lures retrieving back. There would be no broken line, no lures lost, just time. I state it that way because sometimes it would take one-half hour or more. But when Mike said he was going to get that lure back, he did.

After watching a video on Fox News about certain parks throughout the country putting in monofilament stations structured out of PVC pipe where fishers could dispose of their line, did I contact the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission PFBC) in Somerset to ascertain whether anything local is being done around our parks and lakes to provide areas for disposal.

Humanitarian groups and scout troops have recently taken upon themselves to do that very thing – construct PVC pipes that are about a foot on the bottom and a right-angled joint at the top where anglers can deposit this line. It is then mounted on a post. From what the Fish Commission tells me, one youth made it his project for his scout group to build and place these units all around Lake Somerset. Another group did the same up at Yellow Creek State Park.

The PFBC is calling upon nature enthusiasts, outdoorsmen and women or groups such as boys scout troops to build some of these and place them at various water basins. The great thing is, they are not hard to build, yet they are so needed.

If interested, the PFBC may be contacted at 814-445-8974.

I also spoke to Lauren Jones, communications coordinator for Westmoreland County Parks. She was very eager to have groups of scouts or other enthusiasts take part in this worthwhile project.

“Workers cutting grass always get fishing line caught in their blades,” she said.

Scouts or groups wishing to help make this project a reality around the number of lakes she represents, such as Twin, Mammoth and Northmoreland Lakes may contact her at 724-830-3950.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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