I can give you two different positions on that that I can buy into.
1. Of course it is an eco-sin! lead is toxic and kills living creatures and you cannot seriously consider yourself a conservationist if you are intentionally putting lead into nature.
2. The lead accidentally dropped into nature by fly fishermen is surely a fraction of one percent of the total amount of lead that flies out of shotguns nationwide and lands in the wild, so why bother us with the issue?
The result of those two positions is that i do buy and use non-lead shot, but if i had somehow forgotten it and only had some lead shot on me, i would use it. I also find myself biting on shot to fix it on my leader sometimes, and in these cases I am very glad it isn't lead. (history of cancer in the family)
Does it work? sure does! tin isn't as dense as lead, but i think most of the "tin" shot out there has some tungsten or bizmuth mixed in to increase the mass. I'm sure many of you have gone to buy one of those four-size assortments of shot and said "damn! $8?" I did too, but I'm still working on the one that made me say that three years ago.
I'll admit to being a legit tree hugger, but two lead pellets isn't going to make me feel horribly guilty. That happens anytime I get something in styrofoam (worst thing about Burger Street) and when I'm taking out the sixth bag of trash in the same week.
Do me a favor, (to whom it may apply) quit using the styrofoam cups at work and take in one that you can wash and reuse. (sorry, pet peeve at my office) This will make microwaving cold coffee an option again as a bonus!
If you don't wanna hear it, I'll need five responses saying so to never mention an environmental issue again. I don't intend to make a regular practice of environmental rants, i just think we have "bigger fish to fry" on the topic than a few pellets.[/u]
Zane Grey wrote, "If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago." And so it is with most anglers. The thrill of the catch is often overshadowed by nature's breathtaking grandeur.
Fly fisherman become a part of the waters they fish. As naturalist John Muir observed, "When one tugs on a single thing in nature, one finds it attached to the rest of the world."
Only when we approach the water with respect do we gain its fullest measure of enjoyment. The fish aren't always biting, but Mother Nature is always watching. So we'd best behave ourselves.
Steve, thank you for reminding me just how important of a figure John Muir was. For those who aren't familiar with him, he was the most instrumental character in the creation of Yosemite National Park and also founded the Sierra Club. Here's an excerpt from a bio on him:
"In 1976, the Calfiornia Historical Society voted him "The Greatest Californian." The U.S. Geological Survey has suggested an even greater mark of his fame. In their guidelines on naming mountains and lakes after individuals, it gives Muir as the example of someone who has had so many things named for him already that they would not be likely to approve any further such commemorations."
"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."
damn shame, they need to learn how to cast better so a leader will last and not get all knotted up.
I say they should pack those leaders out with them. Some say its hard to find a good "trash bin" on you while on the water. I just stick it in the top of my waders, not really using that space anyway. Just pick it up when it falls out in the parking lot.
Some years ago, lead shot under a certain size was banned for use so far as fishing was concerned in the UK. Larger sizes were permitted on the basis that wildfowl would not ingest it
There is no doubt that wildfowl will die if they injest lead, at least l have read enough evidence from the data to support that. However l can only say this that many of the places the wildfowl would visit in the UK winter periods were also areas that they were hunted over, marshland and areas like that.
On the other hand we have a very high population of Swans in the UK and that bird can reach way down to feed off the bottom. There was again here sufficient evidence to prove that Swans had dyed because of injested lead shot. They are a protected species. Shot of course for a cartridge is not cut like shot for fishing purposes, so that was also a way to substantiate the source. Fisherman, however that would relate more to use by course fisherman and not fly fishers !!.
What are my views about that. If l thought that l was causing a species to die because of the use, then l would not do it.
On another note l also believe that the recovery rate of wildfowl shot with material other than lead is too high. I have seen far too many birds wounded fly off, perhaps to die at a later point in time. I have hunted wildfowl all my life and at one time owned a hunting operation for that purpose, no doubt at all in my mind about the ratio of harvested birds to wounded, when lead was used. it was considerably higher.
I do not know what if any data as yet has been recorded for this, and l would like to see it if there is any.
In this scenario l would say that the use of non toxic substances are more detremental than the use of lead, which may become injested. Better to recover 6 birds shot at as opposed to 12 shot at and 6 wounded, which may or may not recover.
Davy, you might need to explain the term "coarse fish/fishing" for us yanks.
I agree with Davy's position on the harvest/wound ratio of non-lead shot. I had a fly-shop customer in San Antonio who owned a very large ranch south of Victoria, TX. He switched back to using only lead shot while duck hunting because he had to watch multiple ducks limp around his ranch after being wounded by steel shot. They couldn't fly at all. I can imagine he felt bad being directly responsible for that, and didn't want to have to watch it again.
There are many freshwater species in the UK such as Roach, Rudd, Perch, Pike, Bream, Dace, etc. There are no warm water species as you guys know it.
Coarse fish are those not defined as game fish, which are salmonids, trout and salmon.
The Brown trout is the only indigenous trout, but there are a number of genetic differences found in more isolated areas, and there is also the sea trout that is a anadromous Brown trout. Atlantic salmon are the only salmon in the UK and Ireland.
Rainbow trout were introduced in the late 1800s.
There are some isolated lakes that also contain Artic Char.
Fishing for coarse fish a big time in the UK and EU, goes way back.
Then we have what is termed as match fishing. That is the pursuit of coarse fish for award. The many angling associations and clubs host matches at club level ,between other clubs and then there is the nationals and world championships.
It is a very skilfull means of fishing. I used to match fish myself at one time and deploy many of the techniques l know, for species found here in the USA, and it is very effective l can tell you.
This should give you guys a better insight to ward the subject.
I also should expalin that I used the term "yanks" which is indeed short for "yankee" with no intent to slight either those from the north or south. It was explained to me by a Scot I used to work with that the Brits use the term "yank" to refer to any resident of the United States. It has nothing to do with being northern or southern.