When I was a kid in South Ohio, I developed a reputation among my young friends for several things.
One, that I loved to hunt and fish, and two, that I was the richest kid in the neighborhood. The second trait was not that I had a rich father, who too often worked in the striking steel industry, or a mother who was a housewife. This is because at the age of 12 I acquired a great newspaper route delivering articles for the Portsmouth Times. I handed in these papers after school six days a week, rain, snow or shine, and for my efforts I won a considerable sum of $ 5 to $ 7 per week. Sound like bad pay for the job? Maybe, but that was back when a candy bar cost 3 cents, a Pepsi a nickel, and a long quiet day at the local movie theater with popcorn, about 25 cents.
It taught me the value of money, so when I found out that a dozen nocturnal bots cost a dime, I decided to save some money and grab my own. I quickly learned how to do just that, a simple business that you can easily do on your own and save a lot more money than I did. Nightcrawlers are everywhere and can be found in many old houses with rich, dark soil, not to mention places from golf courses to graveyards where you can find permission. This includes my own home, the lawn of a century-old farm that has produced my bait needs for many years.
All you need is a dim flashlight and a can to carry them. You’re looking for them after dark, of course, and my favorite part is after a hot, drenched summer rain that will bring the worms to the surface. Nightcrawlers are sensitive to light, and if you shoot a powerful beam of light directly at a worm, it will come back underground with incredible speed. So you’re using a weak beam, and the instant you see that bright pencil-like shape in the grass, you move the beam around until it’s barely lit, and then you bend down, press down. one finger where the worm enters the ground, and use your other hand to slowly and carefully disengage the caterpillar. Nothing to do it.
Several nights, I picked up a few dozen worms in about half an hour, the day before I intended to go to Lake Erie for a walleye or bass hunting trip, or even to a local lake for them. river cats. And it always makes me happy to save money, especially since the penny it once cost me has swelled to a lot more for just one dozen. I got a little lazy when my kids turned eight or nine. They loved competition, and I would pay them 50 cents a dozen and then take them out fishing to enjoy their catch.
What to do with excess worms? I kept them in my fridge in damp sphagnum moss in a purchased worm bait bucket for days. My wife didn’t like it that much, but she liked the walleye and the channel cat fillets, so we made a compromise. For a while I also kept extra bait in my cool basement, building a box, filling it with good soil mixed with sphagnum moss, and covering the ground with a damp burlap sack. or two. I sometimes added coffee grounds that I was told hardened the worms, and maybe it did, or a little oatmeal for food. And I checked the box every few days to remove any robots that were on the surface that might be damaged or sick.
But that was the extent of it, and my result was an endless supply of the one bait that almost all fish were happy to gulp down on any occasion. If you want to save money in these still tough times and keep a constant supply of bait or fishing trips, I might recommend that you catch your own as well. Perhaps your own lawn will provide a lot, or some place nearby will have it. The money you save will be good, and the convenience even better. They are there right now. Catch some.
Dick Martin is a retired biology professor who has been writing outdoor articles for over 30 years. You can reach him at [email protected]