Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department
BS in Manufacturing Engineering
Martin Koch, Lecturer
The current industry standard for the manufacture of recreational fishing tackle uses lead-based weights and PVC or silicone-based lures. Both materials have serious negative effects on those who handle these products, waterfowl, fish, and other animals that may consume this discarded tackle. The goal of this project is to find and design an environmentally safe process and product alternative for this industry. To do this, we researched a large amount of viable safe materials for weights and lures and used decision matrices to decide on the best one. We found that brass would be the most suitable alternative and created a die that could be scaled up to provide proof of mass manufacture. We were unable to find a perfect replacement for lures from our research, so we created our own materials and tested them to determine which material we should progress with. To test our materials, we fixed them in water for three days to see how long they take to degrade, and attempted to fish with the materials to see if they were strong enough to resist casting forces. We found that a gummy candy mixture of gelatin, sugar, and pectin is the most suitable for biodegradable lures. We created a small-scale prototype that involves pressing a die with multiple shapes of the lure into a bed of cornstarch to create a cavity to show proof of this environmentally-safe concept for mass production. It was found that by comparison to the roughly five dollars per pound for the current lead based weight products, brass weights will likely be in the twelve to fifteen dollars per pound. Even though brass weights and environmentally-safe lures would cost more to produce, it appears that the market is gradually shifting towards non-leaded and biodegradable products therefor making the switch over to this more environmentally safe alternative beneficial; as people would be willing to spend more money on a product that protects wildlife.