Worms, crickets and catching the spirit

Published 11:33 am Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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Bobber fishing in a local pond should be a required summer curriculum for our local children. If you are going to fish with a bobber, you will need bait. Acquiring bait may involve getting dirty, spending a few bucks, or possibly an impromptu church service. Here are some of our family favorite methods to acquire bait. 

Worms are the tried and true bait for pretty much any freshwater fish. They are like potato chips to fish, I guess. Any time they see one they think, “Huh, might as well eat it.” At least, that’s what happens when I see a chip. 

Growing up, my fingernails were always packed with dirt from looking for worms. In our flower beds and under shrubs, my brother and I would work tirelessly to fill a small tub butter container. It wasn’t until recently that my wife introduced me to “worm charming.” 

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Worm charming is the most effective way to fill your buckets with worms. All you need is two sticks and some moist soil. Shove one stick an inch or two in the ground. With the other stick, rub the one that is in the ground. If there are worms in the area, they will come to the surface after thirty seconds to a minute. 

The first time I watched my kids worm charm, I assumed I would be teaching them that everything you read on the internet isn’t true. Next thing I knew, they were squealing with delight as a dozen red worms came up to the top of the soil for easy pickings. 

My next favorite bait for pond fishing is crickets. Sometimes fish may be picky about worms. I guess they may just not want a potato chip. Never has a fish rejected a cricket, however. Crickets might as well be a bite-size chocolate to panfish. 

Unfortunately, when you are fishing with crickets, you need not tens, but hundreds. For this reason, I tend to head to my local bait shop. Paying a small price for hours of entertainment is a fair trade in my book.  

Crickets are notorious escape artists. It’s hard to only get one out of the tube. Two or three more will find their way onto your shirt, arm or face if it is too close. 

One bait shop we’ve visitedhad a lady working who was scared of crickets. I always offered to scoop them out for her, but the shop policy made her do it. One fateful day, two or three crickets escaped and made their way inside the lady’s t-shirt. The shouting and dancing that followed was reminiscent of someone “catching the spirit” at a charismatic revival. 

After the commotion, I put a few bucks in the offering plate – I mean, cash register. My kids had a laugh that evening as they re-enacted the crazy hollering and dancing they saw in the bait shop. 

Even though school is out, my kids are still learning lessons thanks to worms, crickets and catching the spirit. 

The author’s children learn life lessons while digging for worms.