A woman had a much needed day off of work and decided to take some of her younger relatives fishing. So she packed up the one small fishing rod she owned along with some hooks and stopped by the store to pick up two dozen nightcrawlers on her way to the local community pond.
She soon arrived at the pond and picked out a nice spot where she and the children could sit comfortably. As she was setting up her rod to fish, she couldn’t help but overhear a particularly obnoxious man speaking out loud, despite being unaccompanied. “Worms are for women and children,” he bellowed to no one in particular. Right.
Ready for some Serious Fishing, he didn’t have any time for people out at the old fishing hole with no goal other than to have some fun and try to relax a little. So, decked out from head to toe in the latest in Real Men’s Fishing Gear®, he got as close to them as he possibly could (short of actually standing on their toes) and started tossing out his enormous lure, along with any semblance of etiquette. After all, what right do mere amateurs have to choice waters? And if someone is already fishing there, the waters must be choice. Why else would they be there? Why should he fish the substandard waters represented by the other 97 percent of the shoreline? Just because they were devoid of people? Forget that.
This aspirant pro angler wasn’t concerned that the softball-sized spinner bait he was pitching with an oversized heavy action casting rod – just like his heroes on the regularly-televised B.A.S.S. Tournaments – might be overkill for the little northern impoundment he was fishing or the moderately sized bass that inhabit it. He was above such trifling issues. He was a real expert, as indicated by all the corporate sponsor logos that appeared on his bright orange shirt (which certainly wasn’t frightening any of the fish in the shallow, clear water below).
The woman and children team with their single fishing rod and pathetic little worms out-fished the expert 20-0, catching a nice assortment of panfish, bass and carp which they happily photographed and released. The next Jimmy Houston in-the-making went home with nothing but the hundreds of dollars in officially authorized gear that arrived with, but at least he stood his ground for what was right.
This is a true story, reported as it happened only a few days ago in the State of New York.
For what it’s worth, I’ve been fishing with worms for decades and I’ll continue to do so. Some of my biggest catches have come on nightcrawlers drifted weightlessly in the current. In many situations, it’s tough to beat.
I just did a quick review of the “Biggest Fish Caught in Pennsylvania” in 2012. I chose Pennsylvania because I’m familiar with it, and I know the Fish and Boat Commission posts these kinds of lists. As it turns out, a dozen and a half of the biggest fish landed last year (including a 26 pound carp, a 15 pound steelhead, an 8 pound largemouth, a channel cat over 17 pounds, two walleye well over 11 pounds, and two striped bass over 20 pounds) were caught on worms. Granted these are only catches that have been reported, but the point remains.
Purists scoff at the lowly worm, insisting on the sophistication of their “traditional” fly tackle. Big money bass tournaments and their emulators forbid their use with the argument that it somehow takes away from the “test of skill,” though the rules undoubtedly have more to do with selling products for the countless sponsors whose logos appear on every contestant’s boat, shirt and hat. Millions of others – of all ages and sexes – continue to fish with worms for many reasons, but most of all because they work.