Re: Confessions of a Red Wiggler Fisherman

by Herb S.
(Southwest Micigan)

WOW! Les Albjerg, that is one of the finest pieces of expository writing I've ever seen. Period. And I've been reading fly fishing books, and many others including textbooks, for decades. Thank you!
Herb S.

Comments for Re: Confessions of a Red Wiggler Fisherman

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Aug 29, 2017
Good for the soul
by: Hoppy D

As you know, Les, confession is good for the soul, especially for those who fish on the Dark Side with red wigglers. :-)

Great article! Brought back memories of a worm farm that I once had. Not good memories, either. I can still smell the stench of that thing when the worms all became compost from a massive die-off. Woof!! Flies might get moth-eaten, but they don't stink when their time comes.

Happy worm farming/fishing!

Aug 29, 2017
Great Editor
by: Les Albjerg

Thanks Herb! It was fun to share my experiences in more detail than the blog. I have to give a lot of credit to Chris Stewart for his great editing job.

Have you tried Red Wigglers? Several times fishing this year with my buddies they are trying their 4th or 5th fly while I am pulling in my 3rd or 4th fish. That said, I still have not had the privilege of fishing with a fellow fixed line fisherman. I am finding Red Wigglers to be are really fun way to fish. The Dinsmores size 10 spit shot were a big surprise. One shot on your line because they are so small still leads to a gentle sink rate. They are amazing for fine tuning.

Aug 30, 2017
Bait
by: Herb S.

Les, I have to admit to being a 90% fly and lure fisherman. Most of my freshwater bait fishing has been through the ice with some summer dabbling in bait, including corn on a British hair rig for carp (deadly). At times I’ve used live bait in the form of crawlers, earth worms, crickets, meal worms, wax worms, mousees, spikes, corn borers and minnows, as well as clams, sand fleas, cut bait and shrimp in saltwater. In Michigan and probably elsewhere in the Midwest "wigglers" are Hexagenia mayfly nymphs (great ice fishing bait) and I’ve never seen red wiggler worms for sale here. Your article makes ‘em really tempting!

I also confess to be an inveterate experimenter, something flies and lures foster. Maybe I’d catch more fish if I could reform, but it’s in me and has gotta come out (to swipe a phrase from John Lee Hooker). But bait fishing has charms of its own, simplicity being one and catching vast quantities of fish being another. Your excellent article, copied and in my files, does make fishing red wigglers sound like a lot of fun and highly interesting, so maybe next season another experiment is in order. It’s all....
Happy Fishing,
Herb

Aug 30, 2017
Ranch not a Farm!
by: Les Albjerg

Hoppy - Sorry to hear about your bad experience. That is why I call it a Ranch. You have animals to tend to! My last bedding change took me just over a half hour. One reason is I took longer is I made sure I transferred a lot of eggs into the new bedding. When you see no or very few eggs, it is time to change their bedding.

The castings have given me one of my best tomato crops ever this year! I have a friend who has his wiggler farm next to the sink in a 23 cup (9" x 7" x 7") Tupperware container. I have wigglers in my garden now. They can't take the freezing weather so they are doomed, but the eggs will survive.

Herb - One of the big factors that moved me to wigglers is a commitment to fish more. With that commitment came the reality that I would have to fish pressured waters. One big side lesson I learned from watching Tom Davis' videos (Teton Tenkara) is that you don't have to fish all day or even all morning or afternoon to have a good experience. This means most of the time urban fishing for me. Limiting fishing sessions to 45 minutes to 90 minutes has given me a freedom to enjoy fishing more often! Last week at Wilson Springs, I was fishing next to a lady who caught nothing in 45 minutes. I caught 6 trout using red wigglers. I offered to help her catch some fish, but she refused. Two days ago at one of the ponds, after catching 40 plus sunfish next to a guy who had caught nothing he came over to me and sheepishly asked if I could help him catch some fish. I rigged his spinning outfit with 24 inches of 6x and a Gamakatsu R10B and a Red Wiggler. He caught several sunfish. He had a big smile on his face! I'm not a total snob! I couldn't get him interested in Keiryu fishing however!

I will still fly fish. Red Wiggler fishing is just another tool in the tool box. My two most memorable fish this year have been caught on flies. I caught an 18 inch cutthroat with my Sawanobori 63 with a Keeper Kebari. I saw the fish rise, and made a perfect fly-first cast to the rise. It seemed to me that the fish slammed the fly as soon as it hit the water! It was an epic battle. My biggest trout of the year. The other fish was a 8 inch Brook trout taken from one of those "thin blue lines" that Chris talks about.
I was beating the willows like Tom Davis, and dropped a size 14 Renegade in the calm behind a big rock with my Shimotsuke Kiyotaki 24. It was an epic battle on a stream less than 4 feet wide on an ultralight rig!

I will confess that I have upset people by showing up, putting a wiggler on and having a fish on in less that 5 minutes when they have been fishing all day!

I'm going out this afternoon and checking a Desert Spring for fish, who knows what might be lurking!

Sep 01, 2017
None greater
by: Hoppy D

"There is no greater fan of fly-fishing than the worm."

~Patrick F. McManus, Never Sniff a Gift Fish, 1979~

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