Benefits Of Biodegradable Fishing Lures

This article has links to products that I may make commission from.

Like you, I’ve spent countless hours casting lines with traditional lures, seeking that thrilling catch. But let’s talk about a change in the industry – biodegradable fishing lures.

Each year, our oceans, lakes, and waterways are flooded with tons of discarded fishing tackle, laden with plastic and lead. This tangled mess poisons marine life, disrupts ecosystems, and even ends up on our dinner plates!

But there is a solution: biodegradable fishing lures. By using a sustainable fishing lure, you’re not just casting a line – you’re casting a vote for a healthier planet. By making the switch, you’re protecting marine life and the future of fishing for generations to come!

So, are you ready to dive into the world of responsible fishing tackle and reel in the benefits of these new lures? Let’s explore this environmental revolution: hook, line, and (ethically sourced) sinker!

What Are Biodegradable Fishing Lures?

A biodegradable fishing lure is designed to naturally decompose. They’re becoming increasingly popular in professional and recreational fishing. This type of fishing lure is praised for minimizing the environmental impact when compared to traditional lures made from plastic and lead.

These soft bait fishing lures are made from non-plastic material with ingredients like gelatin, xantham gum, or organic fragments derived from renewable sources. Instead of lingering for centuries, eco-fishing lures effortlessly break down, leaving no toxic trace behind!

According to Berkley Gulp Baits owner, John Prochnow, their biodegradable lures are 100% certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). They are non-toxic and contain no harmful chemicals such as PVC, plastisol, or phthalates.

Berkley’s lures take:

  • 2 years to deteriorate in saltwater
  • 8 – 12 weeks to disintegrate in freshwater
  • 8 – 10 months to dissolve in well-run landfills

How do they work?

The secret lies in the decomposition process – depending on the specific materials used. A biodegradable fishing lure will return to its natural life cycle after a short period by releasing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

According to a Science Direct study, common lure shapes made from biodegradable food-grade ingredients dissolve in water and are more eco-savvy for our planet. Biodegradable materials, used in basic bass worm lures or paddle tails, won’t linger in the environment and contaminate ecosystems!

The Benefits Of Biodegradable Lures

It’s crazy to think that roughly 54.5 million Americans flocked to freshwater, saltwater, and fly fishing spots in 2022 – an increase of around 2 million enthusiasts compared to the previous year! If we conservatively assume that each of these recreational anglers lost two traditional lures, we’re looking at a total of 109 million fishing products in one year!

To put this bluntly: this staggering number would be zero if biodegradable lures were used!

Get the picture?

Using a biodegradable fishing lure has many benefits when compared to the traditional fishing lure – and still acts as “fish food” to lure and attract fish!

Next, I’ll dive into 5 benefits of these eco-warriors:

1 – Environmental protection

Dumped fishing gear, including ghost nets intentionally left at sea, is a major pollution concern.

These traditional, toxic traps (and lures) fill our oceans with macro- and microplastics and other harmful chemicals. Not to mention the impact recreational fishing has on other ecosystems when we lose hooks, lures, and sinkers in our favorite lake!

Biodegradable fishing lures break down naturally. They minimize pollution and prevent habitat destruction.

2 – Wildlife safety

Worried about accidental wildlife harm?

Sustainable lures are designed with marine life in mind.

Made from non-toxic material, they’re a minimal risk to aquatic life even if swallowed!

This means happier, healthier fish populations – a win for everyone!

3 – Fishing compliance

There’s been a remarkable shift toward sustainable fishing regulations and environmental compliance laws in recent years.

And, by using a biodegradable lure, you’re already one step ahead of the curve.

By opting for non-toxic soft bait fishing lures as opposed to their traditional counterparts, you become a responsible recreational angler, committed to protecting our waters!

Familiarize yourself with a few of these local fishing laws:

4 – Performance without compromise

Don’t let traditional fishing lures, with their tempting scent and fancy hooks, trick you into thinking they are better.

A biodegradable fishing lure is just as tantalizing to fish as traditional lures are!

They come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and scents, catering to different fish species and fishing styles and many anglers love using them.

Just take a look at a couple of these reviews:

  • These eco-friendly bass lures are da bomb!!! Caught some nice big bass using this one!” – Amazon reviewer.
  • Fish Sticks, a new biodegradable stick bait worm lure is actually more durable than many plastics!” – TackleTour reviewer.
  • Fish Sticks, a new biodegradable stick bait worm lure is actually more durable than many plastics!” – TackleTour reviewer.
  • The Berkley Gulp baits are safe for fish to eat and biodegradable. I won’t use anything else anymore.” – Reddit reviewer.

5 – “Reel” value for money

The initial costs of biodegradable lures can vary but the biggest advantage is they carry fewer restrictions or fees. This makes them a cost-effective solution in the long run.

Biodegradable lures are often just as durable as traditional ones, lasting through multiple catches.

Let’s touch on the problem with traditional fishing lures, next.

The Problem With Traditional Fishing Lures

Traditional fishing lures, made from plastic and lead, have long been hailed “essential” fishing tackle. These materials, known for their durability, unfortunately, have negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems, such as:


  • Plastic pollution: Traditional plastic lures impact the growing crisis of plastic pollution in our waterways and oceans. These lures do not decompose. Instead, they break down into microplastics, which are swallowed by marine animals.
  • Lead contamination: Lead-based lures pose another grave concern. When lost or tossed out, they release lead into the water, contaminating the habitat. Lead is a toxic metal that can cause severe health issues in aquatic creatures, affecting their growth and reproduction, among other health risks.

Wildlife harm

  • Ingestion: Marine animals often mistake traditional lures for “fish food”. Swallowing this results in internal injuries, blockages, or ultimately – starvation. Additionally, animals can become tangled in old fishing lines and nets – often attached to traditional lures – causing injuries or even leading to their death by drowning or suffocation.
  • Impact on biodiversity: The harm caused to individual animals in certain ecosystems can have broader consequences. These include disrupting food chains and reducing biodiversity in affected habitats.

Ghost fishing

  • Definition: ‘Ghost fishing’ refers to lost or abandoned fishing tackle that continues to trap and kill wildlife. Traditional lures (often part of this mess) add to the vicious cycle of trapping, injuring, and killing aquatic species.
  • Impact: Since traditional lures such as basic bass worm lures or soft bait fishing lures, consist of plastics (and other harmful components) that do not decompose – a single piece can continue ghost fishing for decades.

To drive this point home: over 131 million feet of fishing line and 11.2 million sinkers are lost to the environment every year, as stated by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.


Can I make my own lures?

Yes – here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Ingredients:
    • 4 packets of gelatin
    • 3/4 cup of water
    • food coloring (optional)
    • 3 fish oil pills (for added scent)
  • Step 1: Combine the water and oil from fish oil pills in a pot, then add the packets of gelatin. Heat the mixture on low heat, stirring until it reaches a water-like consistency. Add food coloring if you want.
  • Step 2: Spoon the mixture into pre-made press molds and chill in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Remove from molds and repeat as needed. If you don’t have a mold, cut straws in half, bundle them, and stand them in a container. Pour the mixture into the straws and freeze.
  • Step 3: Once set, remove the lures from the molds and wrap them in paper towels. Keep them in the fridge until needed.

Do soft bait fishing lures decompose?

No. Soft plastic lures are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), phthalates, and plasticizers. These textiles do not decompose and are unable to be digested by fish.


So, fellow anglers, are you ready to ditch the plastic monsters and become eco-warriors?

Biodegradable lures are just as effective as traditional lures, and the fish will appreciate your eco-friendly approach too! Let’s be the coolest anglers on the water – not just for our skills – but for our commitment to sustainability.

Written by James - thanks for reading.