Teaching Someone to Fish

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(c) S Warren

While I spend the majority of my time fly fishing in rivers and ponds on fresh water, we as a family have long been beach bums the week the Fourth of July. To that end, we put down our fly fishing rods and pick up the ocean rods and head to the mid coast for some camping, fishing and relaxing.

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(c) S Warren

The particular campground we go to has demographically changed in who comes to the island. Many if not most of the campers we see are from south of Kittery.  They either camp a lot and bring the house along with their kids, or they are the Millennials who bring a small car, small tent, bikes, and beer…lots of it. Few bring fishing rods. So when my husband and I were fishing, and we spot a man and his son with newly purchased fishing rods still in the packages, who then asks for help, we happily oblige. We offer tips where to fish, when to fish, and even offer up our secret bait for catching striped bass, which we call Striper. We wish them, “good luck, be careful” and go on our way as they assemble their gear and eagerly get ready to fish.

We fish until it’s time to head out for fireworks so we make our way back to the campsite, drop off our poles and then head back to the beach. The kids want to climb the steep granite wall that they’ve been waiting all day to do before it gets too dark, so we head back to where we were fishing earlier. Much to our dismay, there lay on the rocks, right where our visiting novice and son opened them…all the packaging to the new fishing gear they had so eagerly presented us. I don’t have a picture to show you since my phone needed to be charged, but honestly had it been charged, I wouldn’t have and didn’t think about taking a photo of the trash until I started writing about it…however, trash is trash…unsightly and disgusting.

Now whether or not you fish, you shouldn’t litter. I didn’t think I’d have to remind, let alone educate, our visitor that the reason Maine is so beautiful is because real outdoors men and women pick up after themselves. In all fairness, this isn’t my first sightings of trash on my adventures, and I can guarantee that all the trash I saw this weekend was not the sole result of visitors south of Kittery.

2006 - When striper fishing was good...we'd catch at least one each day. (c) S Warren
2006 – When Striper fishing was good…we’d catch at least one each day. (c) S Warren

As a fisherman, you accumulate lots trash and unfortunately see lots of trash: line, hooks, lost lures, worm containers, and beer cans, to name a few. It’s our responsibility to be good stewards of the environment, and I guess this means I need to remind novices that fishing also means no littering.

My biggest disappointment was the father not being a good role model for his son. As outdoors people we must not only be role models for our children, but also for others, and if we litter, it tells them that we think it’s okay and that we don’t care. If you think a little line here or there doesn’t matter, just think about money. If a lot of small gifts add up to one big gift, then a lot of small trash adds up to one big mess. Any trash is too much.

Tips for keeping fishing litter under control:

  1. Simply CHOOSE not to litter. Never mind the fines, it’s simply WRONG.
  2. Bring a trash bag. Any kind will do, but use it. Make sure it can’t be blown away by securing it to your boat or cooler.
  3. Reserve one of your vest pockets for debris if you don’t have one of those handy trash keepers
  4. Buy one of those handy trash keepers. Here’s a couple to see what they are – monoMaster or the PioPod microtrash container
  5. Pick up others’ trash when you see it. It may not be yours, but by picking it up, it keeps Maine clean, and if others see you do it, they may too follow suit.

Please be considerate when you fish, go to the beach, hike the trails, or simply enjoy Maine’s great outdoors, and take your trash out with you when you leave.

P.S. We didn’t catch any Striper. Back to the river next weekend!

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