Attempts to ban the use of lead in fishing products continue in the US, with the latest threat coming Minnesota.
A bill introduced by state Rep. Peter Fischer would prohibit the manufacture, sale or use of lead sinkers or jigs weighing one ounce or less or measuring 2 1/2-inches or less.
The bill is similar to previous legislation raised by Fischer (DFL-Maplewood) and follows others in recent years levelled against lead’s affect on wildlife.
Fischer, who said he expects his bill to be heard this session, acknowledges the impact of such a ban, but claims that “stakeholders want to figure this out.”
“They realise there are alternatives out there, things are moving in that direction and people are looking for it,” he said. “How do we make it happen in a way that is workable and will stick for the future and not be undone by folks who say they want to go back to lead because it’s cheap?”
Findings from a16-year-old study by the Department of Natural Resources focused on five state lakes, with researchers estimating that more than 100,000 lead pieces weighing a metric ton were lost.
If passed, the legislation would ban the sale or manufacture from July 1, 2025, with the ban on use coming a year later.
Legislation in 2022, called the Minnesota Swan Protection Act, sought to ban the use of lead fishing tackle on lakes designated as breeding-swan waters. It was killed off in a House committee.
Minnesota’s ‘Get Lead Out’ programme encourages anglers to use non-toxic tackle to avoid the risk of poisoning waterfowl. The state’s DNR monitors the loon population and believes it is stable.
Elsewhere, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Maine ban lead tackle in certain sizes and weights. Massachusetts bans its use but not its sale, while Washington bans specific lead tackle on specific lakes.
Large numbers of US tackle companies have introduced or are working on lead-free alternatives in their product lines, using tungsten, tin, bismuth and other materials.
In its report to investors, Shimano said: “Restrictions on outings because of lockdowns in many countries impacted sales of fishing products in the first half of the year. However as these were relaxed fishing regained attention as a leisure activity and demand for products increased.
“Under these conditions, in the Japanese market sales remained favourable, reflected by the increase in the number of new customers. In the fourth quarter, sales of mid-range and popular price range products were especially favourable, supported by good weather.
“Overseas, new products in the North American market were well received. Despite some regions being in lockdown in Europe due to a further surge in infections, sales remained strong as growth in e-commerce sales for fishing tackle encouraged a diversification in sales channels.
“Chinese sales remained robust as the nation emerged from COVID-19 rapidly, while in Australia, where the fishing season began in the fourth quarter, sales also remained favourable.”
It added that orders for new products were also good, highlighting the Zodias bass rods equipped with HI-POWER X and the BB-X SPECIAL series of sticks. It added that the Vanford (main picture) and Saragosa SW reels were also well received.
Shimano added that there are some promising signs of economic recovery as vaccinations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are rolled out, but some uncertainties still remain. “Meanwhile, with a view to preventing the spread of the virus, interest in outdoor leisure activities that avoid close-contact is expected to continue.”
With that in mind, the group is bullish about its financial performance in 2021 and has predicted sales of 455,500m yen – a 20.5% increase on the year just ended.
Despite a year blighted by the pandemic across the globe, the Finland-based tackle giant reported that for the year ended December 31st, 2020 comparable operating profit was up to €21.5m (2019: €17.8m) on net sales of €261.3m, down 5% on the previous year.
President and CEO, Nicolas Warchalowski told investors: “We achieved great results in a truly exceptional year and consequently comparable operating profit improved at the same time when we increased operating cash flow from €25.9m to €42.5m.
“In addition to these improved financial results we made great leaps in our strategy execution and finalised for the most part the restructuring programme initiated in October 2019. Key highlights were the ramp-down of the Asian lure manufacturing operations and establishing a new centralised distribution centre in Estonia, which enabled the continued decrease in our warehouse footprint on our way to a more centralised and simplified operating model.
“As importantly, the renewed organisational structure and fewer management layers will make us more growth orientated and increase drastically decision-making speed.”
Italo Labignan video, 1/2 hr TV show trolling for Salmon & Trout, Lake Ontario.
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Simeon Kubassek reports that steelhead are starting to run up the tributaries on the north-shore of Lake Superior even though Suprior is still frozen. Waters are cold but the steelhead are still starting their run and full of energy.
Simeon has been fishing roe bags under a float in rapids and smaller pools. These early run fish are silver and prime for taking trout or salmon eggs.
Unlike southern Ontario tributaries, Lake Superior tributaries are very rocky and fast-flowing. When the steelhead are running there they tend to shoot right through lower sections and up to the even smaller tributaries that have ideal spawning gravel so it’s always a gamble to try and intercept them in the lower pools.