One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

John Liechty

Arriving to the lake on each given day, I’m sure that I have packed everything possible that would be needed to have an enjoyable Xperience of fish catching and fun. With me is an assortment of wooden and plastic plugs that would rival the aisles at Bass Pro Shops. Plus, I’ve got enough rubber worms that if they were melted and remolded into tires, the entire bus could go around and round. And of course, I’ve got the random hooks and other miscellaneous components to last an average angler an entire lifetime. But, one can never have too much and any one lure or soft plastic could drastically change the outcome of their day.

As we load the boat in the morning in preparation for the day ahead, we cross off each item of importance as it comes aboard, all the while joking about our excessiveness, addiction to fishing, and the abundance of gear it takes to catch a little green fish or two. In the spirit of kidding, my client for the day says, “There’s a worm on the ground, let’s bring it too.”

At first glance, I smiled and shrugged it off as just a joke (because it was), but, after a second look and short inspection, I realized it was in perfectly good condition. In fact, it appeared as if it had never been used before. I picked it up, added it to the overabundant arsenal and said, “I will catch a fish with this exact worm.”

Through the duration of that day, we managed to fish from sun up to sun down with little success. We focused on techniques that were much bigger and better than this one forgotten worm and failed to even soak it for a minute.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

However, just a few days later, we were back out on the water, and I had tried out the presentation I chose to start with. I rustled through the tackle box and gathered another hook and looked for something nice to pair with it. When, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something. It was a familiar looking offering: a lonely worm waiting and wanting to be used. Indeed, it was the one I picked up from the asphalt, and fittingly, I placed it on the hook on the end of my line. Like I declared a few days ago, I said, “I’m going to catch a fish on this,” and proceeded to tell them the story of how it came into my boat.

They laughed at me and the idea of a professional fishing guide using trash to fish with. But, the level of confidence I exuded kept them intrigued. Soon, they realized I was serious, and the probability of me actually catching a fish was pretty good. Heck, it was almost too good, as they had both witnessed some miraculous catches and predictions in the past. Honestly, after a short period of time, I believe all the confidence in the boat was in this one misfit lure. It had quickly acquired a sort of mystique and was now more valuable than any other offering.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

I patiently waited for an opportunity to see this magic worm in action and then the opportunity presented itself. A rather large smallmouth bass was spotted cruising the shallow water ahead. Typically, these can be some of the trickiest fish to catch. Once you see them, they see you and they put up their guard. But, I was not using an ordinary lure. I had something special tied to the end of the line, and my hopes were high. I flipped a short cast in the direction of this bronze-back bass and felt a light tick transfer through the rod. Could it be? I set the hook swiftly and yes, it was the exact fish we had seen. After a short burst of acrobatics on the glassy calm surface, we landed the fish.

The lost-and-found worm was perfectly on display at the top of the fish’s mouth. Just sending the message home that it truly was a special bait. After all the preparation and the plethora of lures it only took one cast, with one worm to make a memorable catch.

John Liechty is the owner of Xperience Fishing Guide Service in Angels Camp. Contact John at 743-9932.

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