Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I've Got Worms

Like every other warm-blooded American human, I learned how to fish using worms. Good ol' American earthworms. When you sit down and think about it, worms are possibly the freakiest creatures on God's green earth, but fish think they're yummy, so who am I to judge? They're slimy, wriggly, they can contort their bodies to all sorts of different lengths and thicknesses, they don't seem to have any eyes or other facial features, they live in the dirt, and when you put them on a hook, it seems like their insides are even gooier and slimier than their outsides. They're more than a little freaky, if you sit down and think about it. Not that they freak me out or anything, just that they're freaky. I think maybe, instead of sitting down and thinking about worms all day, I should stand up and not think about worms for a while. Sounds like a good idea to me...

For some reason, when I googled "large worm", several photos of Jimmy Carter were included. I will let you make your own joke. For those of you under the age of 35, Jimmy Carter is a former President of the U.S.A and peanut farmer.
From worms I graduated to minnows, leeches and even the occasional kernel of corn. Around the age of ten I got my first fly rod, and even before I learned how to cast it, I took on the snootiness that sometimes gets associated with hoity-toity flyfishermen. I would never be caught dead fishing worms again. In my 10-year-old brain, only little kids who didn't know any better, and complete rubes, fished with bait. Me, fish with worms? Never again!

I continued being an elitist snob, walking around with a stick up my butt, looking down my nose at bait fishermen, for a long time. It wasn't until my early 30s that I began to realize that it didn't really matter how anyone caught fish, as long as it was legal. Who was I to judge? I was just some jerk who knew how to expertly cast a fly rod, that's all.

That's not to say I started fishing with worms, though. Not until I had kids, at least. Once the Girl was a little over 2, I wanted to teach her how to fish, and there's no better way to learn how to fish than impaling a wriggly worm on a hook and catching some scrappy sunfish. So, that's what we did.

This spring the kids have been fishing hard. That is to say, they have wanted to go down to the lake at least three separate times to try to catch some sunnies and bass. We even ran out of worms the second time. Since I had been out of the "worm wrangling" business for almost 30 years, I didn't know where to find many worms. I dug holes all over our yard and my in-laws' yard, but mostly only found little puny worms. I was thinking we may have to go buy some worms at the local bait shop, but then the Wife just happened to turn over a pile of leaves that had been sitting in a far-off corner of our backyard (right outside our back door), and unleashed an enormous glob of huge worms that would have looked super tasty, if I was a largemouth bass.

About half of those brave worms gave their lives to help the kids catch a bunch of fish last week. But then the kids left on a road trip with their Aunt the next day. I had no other option but to go back and fish with worms myself after they left. What else was I supposed to do? Let those poor worms die in a cottage cheese tub in my fridge? No way! If you want to look down your nose at me, I fully understand.


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