Though some regions are deep in snow at this time of the year, other regions are enjoying at least fair weather and all of us will soon be looking forward to spring. Spring for many of you avid and not avid sportsmen and women means getting out on some nice blue lake and trying your hand at fishing.
While fishing can be fun and relaxing, these days buying night crawlers can certainly put a dent into your pocket book. Which means if you want to save money you can either purchase one of those fake rubber worms, that you can use time and time again because even the fish know they are fake or you can decided to grunt your own worms.
That's right I said grunt your own worms. Worm grunting can literally help you get hundreds of night crawlers within a few minutes of effort. Not only can you catch your own free bait, but you might even get enough extra night crawlers to sell to your friends or the local bait shop. Worm grunting can be an interesting if somewhat unique hobby and do I dare say it? It is, if done right an art.
What You Need to Start Worm Grunting
Like any hobby if you are going to start worm grunting you need a few basic tools. In this case just three. A 3 foot long two foot wide wooden stake that is called a stob. A piece of metal that is twice as wide as a ruler and about 2 feet long which is called a rooper, and of course a bucket to put your freshly caught night crawlers in.
Next you need to find a place where night crawlers will be thick. Old unused garden plots where the soil is rich or wooded areas are great places to start. You then pound the stake into the ground so that it does not wiggle too much. Get down on your knees with the rooper, place it on the head of the stake and begin to rub it back and forth in fairly rapid strokes. If you are doing it right you will begin to hear a sound like a bullfrog's grunt and before you know it night crawlers will be making their way to the surface in droves.
Now all that is left for you to do is gather them up by the handfuls quickly before they make their way back down under the soil.
What makes the Night Crawlers Rise to the Surface?
Though some of the few remaining men who make their living from worm grunting would like you to believe that the worms are charmed into coming to the surface of the soil, the truth is that the vibration caused by the rooper being dragged across the top of stake mimics the digging vibrations caused by a mole, the night crawlers most feared enemy. It is the instinct for survival that drives the night crawlers to the surface where they end up at the end of fish hook, unless they are one of the few that are lucky enough to escape before they can be scooped up.
Worm grunting used to be very popular in Florida during the 60's and 70s and many worm grunters made decent livings from worm grunting. However, nowadays, this is an almost forgotten art and there are only a handful of worm grunters left who learn the art from their fathers and their fathers before them.
Though worm grunting is less popular than it once was it will probably never completely die out as long as there are people interested in learning the art. In England there is an annual worm grunting competition in the town of Sophoppy, Florida holds a one day worm grunting festival each April. They even have a Worm grunting queen for any young woman wishing to compete for this covetous title.
While worm grunting may not be for every one it sounds like a fun thing to try, and I plan to give it a whirl myself this spring when the weather is fair and the fish are once again biting.