Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 38

Picking backyard ground gold

BY JAMES HODGINS

For Wild Northerner

Worms. I have them.

My yard, in my opinion, has an overall abundance of worms. I'm a picker and I’ve been doing it since I was kid at camp and at home. My mother constantly reminds me of the time I was four years old and I would pick worms off the road after a summer rain and put them in my pockets where she would discover them in the washing machine after she washed my clothes. When I was a kid, with my sister and cousins along with my Grandpa, we would be at camp walking around the grass with flashlights looking for these night-crawlers, the blades still dripping from the days rain. If it didn't rain, my Grandpa or Dad would set up a sprinkler to wet the grass so that we could get out and catch our bait that evening. It was a win-win for everyone. We had bait for fishing and Grandpa had fish to eat that night for supper. Each day we were at camp we would tend to our homemade wooden worm box that we kept in the shade under the camp which was covered with a dampened burlap sack. We would drop in banana peels, coffee grinds and scraps of newspaper for worm food to get them big and appetizing for the fish and, boy, they didn't disappoint. There were many times I would see a bass and I would simply hook one of our worms once and let it float to the bottom which was immediately gulped up by the fish. Those moments are burned fresh in my mind and it still fuels my love for fishing today.

Nowadays, picking to me is a no brainer. I use them for fishing on a regular basis, they cost money and I have a free supply literally at my fingertips. One night in late spring, I went out after dark and picked six dozen in under 15 minutes. Six dozen worms saves me a lot of coin that I can now use to purchase more tackle to use with the worms, known as Hodgydews.

Worm picking is easy. Wait until it's dark on a rainy day or night, grab a flashlight, cellphone or headlamp and slowly walk around your yard trying to be as

smooth and fluid as possible as any vibration will notify them of your presence.

If you look closely you will see the light shine off the worms and if you are fast

enough you will be able to grab them before they zip back in their holes.

Oh yes, some of them are fast, sneaky and resilient.

HEADLINE: Picking backyard ground gold

BY JAMES HODGINS

For Wild Northerner

Worms. I have them.

My yard, in my opinion, has an overall abundance of worms. I'm a picker and I’ve been doing it since I was kid at camp and at home. My mother constantly reminds me of the time I was four years old and I would pick worms off the road after a summer rain and put them in my pockets where she would discover them in the washing machine after she washed my clothes. When I was a kid, with my sister and cousins along with my Grandpa, we would be at camp walking around the grass with flashlights looking for these night-crawlers, the blades still dripping from the days rain. If it didn't rain, my Grandpa or Dad would set up a sprinkler to wet the grass so that we could get out and catch our bait that evening. It was a win-win for everyone. We had bait for fishing and Grandpa had fish to eat that night for supper. Each day we were at camp we would tend to our homemade wooden worm box that we kept in the shade under the camp which was covered with a dampened burlap sack. We would drop in banana peels, coffee grinds and scraps of newspaper for worm food to get them big and appetizing for the fish and, boy, they didn't disappoint. There were many times I would see a bass and I would simply hook one of our worms once and let it float to the bottom which was immediately gulped up by the fish. Those moments are burned fresh in my mind and it still fuels my love for fishing today.

Nowadays, picking to me is a no brainer. I use them for fishing on a regular basis, they cost money and I have a free supply literally at my fingertips. One night in late spring, I went out after dark and picked six dozen in under 15 minutes. Six dozen worms saves me a lot of coin that I can now use to purchase more tackle to use with the worms, known as Hodgydews.

Worm picking is easy. Wait until it's dark on a rainy day or night, grab a flashlight, cellphone or headlamp and slowly walk around your yard trying to be as smooth and fluid as possible as any vibration will notify them of your presence. If you look closely you will see the light shine off the worms and if you are fast enough you will be able to grab them before they zip back in their holes. Oh yes, some of them are fast, sneaky and resilient.

I have classified my Hodgydews into a few categories. There are the Over Achievers - the ones that stretch out far where 3/4 of their body length is above ground. They try to scramble when they sense you, but they over achieve and can't scoot back in the hole fast enough. There are the Shadow Huggers - you catch a quick glimpse of their heads at the last second as your light crosses their path. In a glimpse they are gone. There are the Lovemakers - ones stuck together in love’s embrace and not aware of your presence. It's a two for one and sometimes on a rare moonlight occasion you come across a three-for-one. There are the Newdews. Too small to be plucked from the garden, but they still have potential to be a Hodgydew if they work hard and stay true.

Then there are the true Hodgydews, the ones that are quick, the ones that test their abilities. These worms put up a fight. These are the ones that will gator roll. These are the ones that will not be removed from their homes in the middle of the night by force. Yes, these are the worms that bring home the personal bests. These are the worms that make picking just a little bit more enjoyable.

Get out in your own backyard, local field or greenery after rain and see if you can light up some dew worms. It's also an excellent way to get your kids more involved in the outdoors and fishing, and what kid is going to say no to playing outside after dark or bedtime? Your kids will have fun being outside, you have a free supply of worms and you both will have memories for a lifetime.

Happy hunting and fishing.