Use Lead-free Tackle
Anyone who remembers the horror stories about kids getting brain damage from eating paint chips knows that lead is toxic to most living things. What you may not realize is that although lead isn't in gasoline anymore, it's still an ingredient in most fishing jigs and sinkers. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fish exposed to enough lead can exhibit a wide range of problems, including muscular and neurological degeneration and destruction, stunted growth, reproductive problems and paralysis. Worse yet, lead also kills loons and eagles, who sometimes are unlucky enough to eat a fish that's swallowed a lead sinker. Fortunately, you can order lead-free fishing gear. And you should.