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Whittling Away: Worm dunking

August 9, 2019 01:51 pm Updated: August 9, 2019 01:57 pm


As I gracefully age, I’m finding the number of sports I can or want to participate in narrows. Still high on the list is fishing, old guys are good at fishing. Nothing gets the old heart pumping like the thoughts of a large scaly denison of the deep leaping into the air trying in vain to shake my hook. Sounds like something you’d read in “Worm and Fly” magazine doesn’t it? Then reality rears its ugly head and I remember that most of the fish I catch don’t jump out of the water, their mother’s won’t allow them to because they’re too small, the fish equivalent of crossing the road alone.

The first challenge before I can stalk the wily trout or whatever is to first stalk the wily worm. I’m a worm fisherman, we are a select breed. I tried fly fishing and managed to stick a fly to the top of my folliclely challenged dome on my first attempt. It did look kind of cute, sort of a furry little barrette, but it hurt so I decided to do without its decorative effect and took a turn at using lures.

A lure, in case you’re not a fisher person, is something made out of plastic or metal that resembles nothing I know of that is edible in nature, it is usually painted in garish colors and has about 15 razor sharp treble hooks hanging off of it. This means that no matter how you handle it, you get stuck. The procedure for getting unstuck is to push the hook in further until the point pops through the other side of the item it’s hooked in, at which time you take your trusty needle nosed pliers and snip off the hook’s pointy part making it easy to withdraw. This doesn’t strike me as a type of recreational activity I’d like to participate in since I can never find my needle nosed pliers.

So that’s how I became a worm drownder, besides being basically a thrifty type and finding out the cost of the average fly or lure, worms are the cheapest way to go. I take that back, worms are the cheapest bait if you catch your own. If you purchase them at a bait shop, you’ll come to realize that using chunks of prime rib would be cheaper than buying a dozen worms. Worms come in at about $7.50 a pound at a bait shop, so go catch your own.

Frequently, catching the worms is more fun than fishing. But what’s that you say? You’ve never caught a worm! Let an old expert give you a few hints. You can dig for the critters, get a shovel, find some rich moist soil and start turning the dirt over. Don’t do this in the flower beds however, I’ve found that for some reason this upsets the woman of the house. Digging falls into the category of exercise and since many folks are allergic to sweat, you might want to try waiting until after dark, then go crawling around the lawn with a flashlight trying to grab the night crawlers before they pop back down their holes. This usually results in a can full of half worms but I’ve found that the fish aren’t fussy although the worms are divided on the issue. There are dangers in collecting bait this way also that you should be made aware of. The neighbors frequently call the police to report suspicious behavior — terrorists trying to tunnel under their home and all.

You know, after giving this more thought — $20 for a license, $50 for a rod and reel, $6,000 for a little fishing boat and trailer, $7.50 for worms, $1.50 for bandages, $6.50 for needle nosed pliers, $75 for gas for the 3 horsepower motor on the boat, plus court costs and legal fees for gathering worms after dark looks a little costly.

A fish fry at the diner is $7, maybe I’ll forgo the thrill of the hunt and take the cheap route.

Thought for the week — If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick Brooks at