One of the simple pleasures in life is striving to be more self sufficient. I feel at times we as a society are losing this seemingly innate ability, instead being lulled into complacency. Perhaps it’s our “modern” lifestyle or perhaps something harder to define but either way, fewer and fewer people seem to be catching their own bait these days. While there is nothing wrong with buying worms from the local convenience store, those who do not at least understand how to harvest their own fishing bait are missing a vital part of the entire cycle.
As a kid, one of the most interesting parts of any fishing trip happened days before when we would grab flashlights and quietly sneak across the lawn in search of night crawlers. If it rained earlier in the day, the evening was sure to entice dozens of large crawlers to emerge from their tunnels. Contrary to popular opinion, night crawlers do not emerge from their tunnels for fear of drowning. Instead, rain and high humidity allow worms of all species to move above the ground at night without fear of drying out and dying. Above the surface, worms can move about more freely than underground to explore new territory and find food.
While finding night crawlers is a relatively easy task, extracting them from their burrows requires practice. Night crawlers are covered in tiny bristles or setae that help them crawl as well as serving to anchor them firmly in their burrows. To pull a night crawler out of its burrow, a person must apply gentle but constant pulling pressure. Too little and the worm slips away, too much and the worm breaks in half.
A quick search of the internet will yield many other interesting ways to catch worms, including using dish soap, car batteries and even chainsaws. While I like technology just as much as the next person, I have to say that in this case, I am just going to stick to the old methods and leave the “high tech” worm catching methods to the professionals.