Cermele: Does Being a "Green" Angler Mean Sacrificing Fish?

I owe you guys Part II of my YUM worm review, but before that I thought I'd discuss another new product I tested over the weekend. Bioline, which is owned by Eagle Claw, is the first 100% biodegradable fishing line on the market. According to the company, whether it's on land or in the water, Bioline degrades completely in five years, whereas regular monofilament can take up to 600 years. Fluorocarbon, they claim, takes even longer. On the surface, this is a long overdue idea. But it begs the question of how much its "green" qualities outweigh its fish-catching qualities. Here's what I found.

Pros: At $12 a spool, Bioline's price isn't bad. It's advertised as having "fluorocarbon clarity." Well, it does not, though its invisibility was acceptable. Obviously, you'd never have to feel quite as bad about breaking your line or accidentally dropping the clippings from a bird's nest. Bioline starts to degrade after 10 to 12 months, so you have to remember to replace it.

Cons: This stuff is pretty stiff. I used 12-pound-test Bioline on a spinning reel, and it didn't cast too gracefully. It also had bad memory. Little kinks formed at the hook eye after cinching a snell knot. I pulled it across river rocks all day, and by trip's end there was significant abrasion on the first 14 inches of line.

The bio-friendly qualities of this line fall in step with lead-free weights and jigheads. In my opinion, while using non-lead weights has merit, it can change the way you fish. I'm sorry, but a 00 tin split-shot does not sink like a 00 lead split-shot. Does it mean they're no good? No, but it means compensating in ways that could affect fishing. For example, adding more shot to a fly leader could change presentation, or stepping up to a larger jighead could alter lure action. As far as Bioline is concerned, I am not going to respool all my outfits with it, partially because I wouldn't trust it with a trophy, and partially because I pride myself on taking extra care not to leave line laying around in the first place.

Where do you stand? Are the environmental benefits of Bioline and non-toxic lead more significant than their fishability? - JC