This time of year brings me back to boyhood days. I guess it was about the first of April that I started to get excited about it, knowing that the MA trout season opener was just around the corner on the 15th. It would start with talking to my friends on the school bus about Baker’s Pond or Crystal Lake, or maybe Nickerson State Park ponds in Brewster. That would start the juices flowing ! I would start building the worm box, with scrap boards for the sides and screened at the bottom to hold my precious collection of nightcrawlers. I would slip out almost every wet, dewy, foggy night for the next couple of weeks, seeking to add to my supply. I looked in pretty much every neighbors yard on my street and within a mile of my house. I would stealthily creep along their lawns with my flashlight beam partially shielded, looking for the glisten and shine of a stretched out nightcrawler. If I spotted one, or sometimes two linked up together, I would carefully approach looking for the end closet to the hole. Once located, I would slowly bend down, shielding the light beam, so as to not spook the worm, and swiftly and firmly grasp the worm close to where his tail entered the hole. The trick was to be patient and just hold on without pulling for a few seconds until the worm relaxes his grip in the hole. Only then could you slowly increase the pressure and get the worm from his hole without breaking him.
As I remember back in time, this bait quest was very exciting to me, almost safari-like, and every bit as exciting as the actual fishing I was soon to be doing. Perhaps it was the escape from the house, my homework, or the bedlam of my siblings. Whatever it was, I know now that I felt free and alive, as I became happier, wetter and wetter in my slimy quest. Not much as changed for me as to how I feel when I am on a fishing related adventure. I don’t do the freshwater thing too much anymore, because it seems harder and harder to find the solitude and access that I can get from the salt. I still find it brings out the boy in this man and I like that.
PS: Watch here for more stories and remembrances – perhaps a tuna catch story ?