J. Castwell
April 4th, 1999

Defending Worms

I think most of us have used worms. And probably minnows too. I did. Way back then life was simple. I was learning how to catch fish. After all, the whole point of fishing is to procure fish. Man has been 'procuring' things for eons. We do that. We procure. Before civilization we 'procured.' It is some of the stuff that makes us men. It is the mark of a 'man' when he can 'procure' real well.

The idea at first is simply to get some fish. But as time goes on, other elements wiggle their way into the game. It is not enough to get food for a meal, some should be put away in a freezer as well. During this metamorphosis of development subtle changes also occur in the brain of men. We call them excuses. They are found to be rather effective as labor saving devices. "Gee Mom, you mean I was supposed to clean my room today?" "Ms Snurdly, my dog ate the assignment." "I would have landed it but, the cheap line broke!" These we found would relax the necessity of stellar type results.

Alas, there is one to whom the reason for the excuse route had no appeal. The un-celebrated worm fisher. Rod and worm thus armed, he goes forth and procures his fish. Period. He has no organization of which he is a member. No special, or fancy gear, such as the 'tweedy' element of some fishing societies. He just fishes; and is content with what ever the gods fasten to his line. No excuses.

And how does he differ from those who fly fish you may ask? Had he not been content with greater numbers and bigger fish, he could have well covered the possibility of inferior 'procurmenship' by adding an element of chance to the game. Lighter rod, thinner line, fussy imitation bait. These would have given him a great gob of excuses as to why he was gone all day and returned with nothing. The pressure would have been removed. No longer would he be expected to provide table fare, but instead he is now perusing recreation. Such is the wonderful world of fly fishing.

With each book written and read, more and more information is produced by the great and near-great on how to 'procure' fish. But, in reality they only offer more and more excuses as to why one could fail to excel. The more elements of the game, the more opportunities to fail to produce. Therein lies the success of books on fly fishing. The less pressure to 'hunt and gather' the more we can recreate.

The late craze of 'catch and release' is just another way of counting; it is an attempt to put the pressure on for those who seem not to be able to escape the ties of modern society. It is regression creeping into the pleasant pastime we have come to hold dear.

It once again allows, indeed encourages some to claim a higher 'score' of 'releases' than their companion. This is a true corruption of our sport and should be shunned at all costs. Not that 'C& R' should be discontinued, not at all. It is very necessary in these times. But the lying about it must stop. It has fostered an element of our sport to rise to a place of distinction, when under scrutiny they should be expelled from it. This type will often indulge in the game of "How many hits did you get?" If they must count things let them find a new pastime. It is not of our sport. It is not what it is made of.

"I object to fishing tournaments less for what they do to fish than what they do to fishermen." ~ Ted Williams (1994)

So now to address the unheralded worm fisher. He with no organization, no library of books each resplendent with wonderful pictures of various worms in fetching poses. To him who has no need of excuses and never has been tempted to go that devious route, I say congratulations, you are indeed a man. A man in a man's world. One who needs no one. Needs no reason for not excelling. You simply go out and fish. As man was meant to do.~ JC

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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