KING: Litter an eyesore during fishing adventures

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On a recent trip to the lower Tar River we found fishing conditions to be far less than perfect

Two days before our journey it rained.

The air temperature had warmed considerably and the ice, snow, sleet, freezing rain mixture that fell upstream was melting rapidly.

The combination of precipitation left the lower portion of the river in a mess so far as fishing goes. The water was stained considerably more since our last visit, and the current was quite swift where it is usually just a gentle flow.

The turbulence in the water caused dead leaves to rise in the water column. Our trolling baits were very quickly wrapped up in brown leaves and other debris.

No rockfish will bite a lure that has a trace of trash on the hooks or the leader.

We changed tactics and started vertical jigging soft plastic lures.

It was not long before the hungry rockfish began to bite.

It was also much easier to keep that stirred up leaf debris off our lures.

We did manage to catch three keeper rockfish for our efforts that morning. Sometimes Plan B works out just fine when you get to know the river.

We can understand and work with the natural debris in the river.

What is hard to understand is how all this man-made debris gets into our waterways.

With the strong current, all the fallen tree laps were gathering floating debris like a net.

It was amazing that every fallen tree in the water had its own collection of trash that was not ever intended to be there.

What we saw was a multi-color mess in the branches of the downed trees. Somehow man-made debris had made their way into the river, made quite evident by the swift moving water.

We took a closer look at some of the larger stockpiles along the edge of the river.

It was not a pretty sight at all.

Dominating the mess was soda bottles and cans. We saw Styrofoam pieces, clothes, old tires, plenty of paper products, and even an old wine bottle with the cork still in its top.

Almost every tree lap held some kind of ball. Whether it was a basketball, football, soccer ball, volleyball, tennis ball or a beach ball, all were bobbing along as the water rushed on by.

As the water recedes and the current slows down, this debris will be released to make its journey downstream.

It has no place to go but the Pamlico River, the Pamlico Sound, and finally the Atlantic Ocean.

I guess our human generated trash will eventually make its way to Europe, and theirs might well come here.

This is such an eyesore in a place that God intended to be so beautiful.

Spanish moss and mistletoe sway with the wind.

Belted kingfishers fly between the branches of dead and living trees.

Great blue herons patrol the shallow coves in hopes of finding a wayward minnow.

Life is so peaceful here on the river and in perfect balance.

The only thing that interferes with perfection is the mess we have generated.

We are indeed a nation of waste.

We have so much and we throw so much away.

How so much of our excess packaging ends up in the river is beyond me.

Trash has its place, and it surely is not in the Tar River.

Take a trash bag along with you on your next boating adventure.

Do not throw your bottles and cans in the water.

Folks do not seem to care that we drink and wash from this water every single day.

The water is purified before it gets to our homes by municipalities along the river, but think about how much more pure that water could be if we did not litter.