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Fishing with worms cool again

May 15, 2010 at 06:53 AM

SPRINGFIELD STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER

If you stick around long enough, almost everything becomes new again. Marie Antoinette, who became Queen of France when she was 14, said, “There is nothing new except that which has been forgotten.”

Sooner or later good ideas circle back and appeal to a new audience. My daughters dress in outfits straight out of a 1972 college yearbook. That suitcase full plaid bell bottoms that I saved for posterity could be high fashion again by noon tomorrow. Shredded wheat, oatmeal and those other grainy breakfasts my Mom served up are once again nutritionally sound. Just like Mom said they were. Same goes for garden raised vegetables and breathable cotton shirts. Before long, a generation of movie goers, who will think it’s brand new, will see a remake of True Grit.

The hot new fishing trend takes a lot of us back to where we started when all we had was a cane pole, some braided line, a hook and a red and white bobber. Fishing with worms is back in style. The same creatures we dug up and put in a tin can full of dirt are popular once again. Outdoor writer, Gerry Dethge put it this way: “Cringe all you want, worms are still the best fish catching weapon ever.”

Of course keeping with need to complicate even the simplest things, the return to fishing with worms is not without its nuances. While you may think that all earthworms look alike, the Alabama Jumper, the African Night Crawler and the Red Wiggler all have distinctive characteristics that make them the right worm for specific fishing applications.

The experts say the ideal length for a fishing worm is four inches. Take along your tape measure when you go digging. Securing worms of the proper length will also result in some catch and release worming. If you intend to keep your worms more than one fishing day, you should stir up the soil and check their health. A dead worm will contaminate the live ones. Besides that, CPR on a worm is a losing proposition.

Then, of course, there is the presentation of the worm when you are ready to fish. Some say the worm has to look realistic in the water and needs to be threaded on the hook, possibly even an arrangement of hooks, so that it retains its length and looks natural floating in the water. Another suggestion is to make the worm more appealing by injecting air into it to fatten it up, stopping just before you blow it up. You can always fall back to the obvious and just gob it up on the hook. The fish that might be tempted to nip the tail off your worm will get a mouthful of hook in the bargain.

Of course, the best way to get a worm on the hook is the tried and true method that’s been used for generations. Start looking squeamish, turn pale, break out in a cold sweat, and hope somebody will do it for you.

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