Time to fish or catch bait

By Roger Wolfe - Outdoors Columnist

Well let’s see … Spring Gobbler season is over, mushrooms are all but done, and ramps have finished out. What on earth am I going to do now?

At least trout season is still in full swing, well that is until the end of the month. The trout streams should still be holding enough cold water to keep the trout active and feeding to provide a decent amount of action.

That should keep us anglers preoccupied for a while longer at least. Thankfully, as the water temperatures start to rise above the comfort level of the trout, the smallmouth fishing will pick up to take some of the pressure off.

One might even be able to entice those once finicky large mouth to provide a much needed bite once the sun warms the water to their liking. Nothing like trout fishing in the morning and then hauling in the big mouth bass in the afternoon.

If we catch a warm streak, might even hit the river for some catfishing. Ahhh, I guess summer really is approaching with all the fish starting to take the bait.

Oh, speaking of bait, better start catching some. At least with all this rain lately it shouldn’t be too hard to catch all the night crawlers that you could ever use.

No matter what your target fish are it is hard to beat a couple dozen freshly caught nightcrawlers to entice them on to the end of the line. Does anyone even catch their own nightcrawlers anymore?

I remember spending many a damp and rainy night scouring the front yard, and sometimes even the neighbor’s yard, gathering up all the slimy crawlers I could in preparation for a big fishing trip. I also remember the shrieks ringing through the house when my mother unwittingly opened up a coffee tin in the refrigerator only to find my fresh batch of fish bait.

Nothing keeps your worms happier and healthier than a coffee can half full of fresh dirt or ground up newspaper, a few coffee grounds and a couple dozen of their closest buddies tucked way back in the very far corner of the fridge in the kitchen. I can’t say that same method of storage always keeps Momma happy though.

Oh there are more civilized ways to keep your bait fresh. There are dozens of “Worm Keepers” or “Bait Houses” on the market that will keep your worms fresher longer and grow them bigger and every sort of sales pitch imaginable. Rest assured that if you don’t have the latest and greatest nightcrawler hotel a plain ole coffee tin or even washed out butter bowl will suit them just fine.

Hint Hint, butter bowls are a lot less conspicuous in the kitchen fridge than a big styrofoam cooler with the logo of a happy worm on the side. Just saying…

The trick to keeping your freshly bait fresh is definitely to keep them cool and moist and what better place to do it than in the fridge. Now the privilege of getting to keep your bait right beside the left over tuna casserole might be a little hard to come by at first, but with time, the better half will warm up to the idea. Either that or give up trying to fight the inevitable.

After all, we are just trying to provide for our family. A fresh meal of fish requires that we always have an ample supply of fresh bait on hand. It is just a bonus that you see your bait staring at you every time you open the refrigerator to get a cool beverage just begging you to take them fishing.

Hey, there is even another argument to make, “Honey if you want me to get rid of those worms, I will! Me and the boys are going fishing this weekend and we will take care of them. JUST for you sweet pea!” Who could resist that logic?

So, whether you slink around the neighborhood on rainy nights armed with a flashlight and a bucket or if you prefer the flip and dig method for gathering your nightcrawlers and worms, you should always keep a good supply on hand and at the ready. Where you store them is up to you.

If you even notice, any time you pick up some bait from the local tackle shop, where do they keep theirs? In the refrigerator! If it will keep those Canadian nightcrawlers fresh all the way from Canada, it will surely keep some home grown West Virginia Crawlers fresh until you can liberate them in your favorite fishing hole.

DISCLAIMER: If you keep your nightcrawlers in the refrigerator, do not say I told you to do it. I just said it was a good idea and a good place. If the ruler of the kitchen takes offense to bait being stored in their area of the house, I cannot be held responsible. Just agree to get rid of them! Fishing is the best way.

By Roger Wolfe

Outdoors Columnist

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