Advice how to find fishing line and techniques for its retrieval.
This is a technical area. Please stay on-topic and be civil and respectful to others. We are all here to help birds and wildlife remain healthy and alive, even if our opinions may differ.
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How you go about retrieving the line depends on exactly how and where it is located.
- Line that is up in the brush out of reach we pull down with a boat hook on an extendable pole. Sometimes if it is lightly draped it can be lifted off with the upper prong of the boat hook. Sometimes you have to break a branch to get it down within reach. This is very dangerous line and worth the two or three minutes it might take to get it down even with the right tools.
- Line that is wrapped around the lower parts of a shrub in the water are the easy pickings. You just put the boat alongside and untangle it.
- Sometimes one or both ends of that line will extend down into the water. Sometimes it will be free and pull right in. Sometimes you'll have to pull on it, either dragging the boat by the line or maneuvering the boat to follow it. When you are directly above the snag you can often pull it loose. Or it will break. When it breaks it usually breaks down where it was snagged. You don't get everything, but you get as much as you can.
- If you have to pull hard on a line it can cut into your skin. We do not wear gloves. You cannot untangle line with gloves on. But instead of pulling with your hands, wrap the line three or four times around a stick or the handle of your scissors or your boat hook pole and then pull on the tool instead of the line. If you were really slick you could make a special line pulling tool to keep in the boat. But we haven't needed to do that yet.
- Some line is connected to a "bobber" or fishing float and snagged on the bottom. Bobbers are usually bright and easy to spot. Pulling the line is like I just described above.
- We find lots of line just laying on the beach in bank fishing areas. This was mostly lost when water levels in the reservoir were higher. As the water level rises and falls this line can be in the heron/egret/avocet wading zone and can get tangled around their legs. You will usually have to get out of the boat to pull this line. Look around while you are there because you will probably find more.
And some cautions:
- Always take scissors and always restrain your use of them. One line has two ends. If you cut it you now have two lines with four ends. If you cut into a knotted up mess of line you may then have many lines and twice that many ends!
- You'll see it elsewhere and in the ColRegs, but I'll repeat it here: don't just have your life jacket in the boat - wear it. You will be leaning out in a small, lightweight, tippy boat and you may be pulling at a piece of line. Even with a rock-solid boat like our Oasis, there is always the possibility of falling out. Since we work near the shore you could slip underneath the boat and then you're in trouble. Don't chance it when prevention is so easy: wear your life jacket.
Please post your own experience in gathering line so we can grow our knowledge base.