THE SPORTSMAN’S WORLD: The Art of Worming

By Leon Archer

When I was a kid, I learned to capture, care for and use fish worms.

The capturing and the using I enjoyed, but the caring for worms could be a bit of a pain. I learned early on that you couldn’t just gather a bunch of night crawlers and leave them in a bucket with a few leaves and expect that they were going to live happily ever after.

Nothing smells worse than a container full of dead worms. By trial and error, I learned to keep both the worms and my long-suffering parents happy; I learned the art of worming.

The art of worming consists of two distinct, yet vitally connected parts. The first part is the catching and caring for the worms. The second part is using the worms most efficiently for fishing.

I can’t prove it, but I firmly believe that the number one bait of fishermen, at least in Upstate New York, is the lowly worm. That’s probably why we kids called them fish worms.

More refined folks called them angle worms for the same reason. As long as they were available, they caught just about every kind of fish a kid wanted to fish for.

I even went so far one year as to nurse a few of them along in our basement until the ice was safe for fishing. I thought they might just be the magic bullet on hard water, but although they caught fish, they were no better than the minnows and jigs that we used.

The effort was hardly worth the returns, but other times of the year they were easy to procure and deadly on the fish.

Now when I say worms, there were two main types that I used for everything, night crawlers and what I call rain worms. I majored in night crawlers, but I didn’t ignore the smaller rain worms.

Night crawlers were easy to catch every spring, requiring only a flashlight, digital dexterity, and knees and a back that could stand an hour or two being bent over. On a good wet spring night, I could pick up 200 to 800 worms. It all depended on how wet I was getting and how soon my body started grumbling about the abuse.

I had several large, leaf filled boxes in the basement of our home. Each one was capable of holding up to a thousand worms safely for a long time, but in reality they came and went on a regular basis. I sold night crawlers and my father and I used plenty of them as well.

It wasn’t quite as simple as dumping them in and taking them out; there were certain chores connected with worm ranching.

After a few weeks, the remaining old leaves and worm castings had to be removed and new leaves put in the boxes. The removed residue was great for the family garden, but if left too long in the boxes before being replaced, it became toxic to the inmates.

If maintained properly, the worms were happy and my parents were happy.

It was extremely important to remove any dead worms or even those that did not act very lively. Usually dying worms would come to the surface of the leaves, but not always, so as I took worms out for sale or use, I was constantly on watch for the dead or dying.

When I did change the leaves in a box, I counted the worms into a bucket, allowing me to keep track of my inventory, before returning them to their refurbished home.

When picking up night crawlers, inevitably some will be broken as they are pulled from their burrows. Usually I dropped them back on the ground where most of them would survive if they got back underground. The others ended up feeding the robins the next morning.

If I knew we would be fishing in the next day or so, I would keep them, but sort them out when I got home. It was very unwise to try to keep them with the other worms. I tried to never put a damaged worm in the boxes; it was just asking for trouble down the road.

Rain worms are a different story. Because of their smaller size and very pale pinkish color, they were the very best worms for fishing for small brook trout. They were tougher and stayed on the hook better than a night crawler, which made them a pretty good bait for pan fish that could often rip a piece of night crawler off the hook without paying any penalty.

There were many times when a rain worm would do a better job than a night crawler.

I usually picked rain worms up off driveways, roads and sidewalks early in the morning. I also dug them. They are found in much larger numbers than night crawlers when digging worms.

I never tried to keep any great number of them, but they did very well in smaller containers with soil in the bottom and a layer of leaves over that.

Fishing with live worms is an art as well; one size does not fit all. Worm fishing for pan fish and small trout was the easiest; simple and straight forward, small worms and small hooks but larger species each had their own likes and dislikes when it came to worms. Big night crawlers became the go to bait, but how it was hooked made a difference.

A number 2 hook baited with a whole night crawler was our basic bait for bullheads. We wadded it up on the hook in small folds, going in and out the length of the worm. If much was left hanging off, the bullheads would just tear it loose and be gone. Rock bass were always eager to take a similar bait. Black bass, on the other hand wanted the worm loose and flowing, so we hooked them once or twice near the collar band of the worm. With walleyes, we hooked the worm as near to the head end as was feasible.

Rainbow and brown trout were the fussiest. The worm needed to look natural and whole. Part of a worm was usually ignored, and a worm bunched up on the hook like one was fishing for bullheads was a no starter right from the get go.

Most of my worm fishing for larger trout was done in the spring or after a heavy rain in the summer. High roily water increased one’s odds considerably. I almost always used a single snelled number 6 hook below a willow leaf or Dixie spinner.

The spinner caught the fish’s attention in the cloudy water, and as they homed in on it they would grab the night crawler. It was a deadly combination.

Even today, my favorite bait is the lowly earthworm. I still catch them and use them successfully. I know it is still cold and the snow cover is tenacious, but before long it will be time to start harvesting those wonderful night crawlers, and when that happens, spring fishing will be close behind.

Time for the art of worming.

Trout, salmon season opens April 1 in NYS

The opening of trout and salmon season in New York state is just 10 days away.

The 2014 trout and salmon fishing season opens April 1 and New Yorkers can now purchase and print a fishing license from their home computers by visiting http://licensecenter.ny.gov in order to be ready to enjoy New York’s great outdoor fishing opportunities on opening day.

Lifetime fishing licenses also are available.

“New York offers some of the best fishing in the country,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

“As part of the state’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative, fishing license fees have been reduced and licenses can be easily purchased and printed online from home. Now anglers don’t have to wait until fishing season to get ready. I encourage New Yorkers to go online, buy their licenses and look forward to a great fishing season,” Cuomo said.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said the DEC is stocking rivers, lakes and streams to provide “ample opportunities for anglers to reel in a great catch.”

Fishing licenses, which are required for persons age 16 and older to fish in New York’s fresh water lakes and rivers, may also be purchased by phone at (866) 933-2257.

Anglers who purchase by phone will receive a confirmation number to use immediately as proof of holding a license until their actual license is received in the mail.

Whether fishing trout, salmon, bass, walleye or sunfish, New York provides outstanding fishing opportunities. For a wealth of helpful information on suggested fishing locations in various DEC regions and tips for beginning anglers, visit the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishing.html.

A list of waters scheduled to be stocked with trout this spring can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30465.html

DEC’s website also provides specific locations on streams where DEC has purchased fishing rights easements. Maps showing PFR easements are available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html

In addition to the many trout stocked by DEC, anglers are reminded that many waters support one or more species of wild trout that are also available to add to the enjoyment of a fishing trip.

Anglers are also encouraged to contact a DEC Regional Office if they have questions about fishing opportunities within a specific region. DEC Region and Regional Office Information is available by gonig to http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html

Fulton, Oswego residents take part in tough bike race

From left to right, Ron Molinari, Chris Caza, Scott Somers, Bryan Blake, Greg Mills, Jim Nicholson and Rick Bush. Absent are Teddy Volkomer, Josh Molinari and Jeff Ballard.
From left to right, Ron Molinari, Chris Caza, Scott Somers, Bryan Blake, Greg Mills, Jim Nicholson and Rick Bush. Absent are Teddy Volkomer, Josh Molinari and Jeff Ballard.

By Rob Tetro

Ten cyclists from Fulton and Oswego are in training for The Tour Of The Battenkill, considered “The Toughest Single Day Race In America”.

Bryan Blake of Central Square, Jim Nicholson, Chris Caza and Jeff Ballard of Fulton, and Scott Somers, Ron Molinari, Josh Molinari, Teddy Volkomer, Greg Mills and Rick Bush of Oswego will have their endurance put to the test when they take part in the 63-mile race in Cambridge, Washington County, April 5-6.

Cyclist Rick Bush said the team began training in November. The training process involves preparation for four basic periods: Base Training, Build, Peak and Race periods. Each period is designed to prepare cyclists for various parts of a race.

“Each period targets specific elements experienced in a given race.”, Bush said.

This year’s race will mark the third trip Bush and his teammates have made to Cambridge.

The Tour Of The Battenkill is known as “The Toughest Single Day Race In America” for a reason. As if the distance of the race wasn’t challenging enough, the participants face an uphill battle in more ways than one.

There is a section of the race that is a little more than 10 miles long that travels uphill on dirt and gravel roads. The challenge presented by the elements of the race aside, Bush points out The Tour Of The Battenkill also attracts an impressive array of cyclists.

Amateur and professional cyclists consider The Tour Of The Battenkill to be one of the premier events of their season. For Bush, being a part of this event means being a part of what he considers the most prestigious, challenging and rewarding races of the year.

He said the intensity of the training matches the difficulty of the race itself.

“The training for this one race is by far the most intense training of the season.”, Bush said.

For more information about The Tour Of The Battenkill, visit WWW.TOUROFTHE BATTENKILL.COM

Bush and his teammates express sincere gratitude to the sponsors who helped them make their third appearance in The Tour Of The Battenkill a reality — Murdock’s Bicycle and Sports, J&A Mechanical, Homestead Funding Group, Nicholson Law Firm, Summit Physical Therapy, Pathfinder Bank and Fajita Grill.

Fulton hoops on the up and up

By Rob Tetro

Seniors Mark Pollock, Seth Britton, Jeremy Langdon and Austin Haskins left their mark on the Fulton boys’ basketball program.

Despite facing some rough moments throughout their careers, they didn’t quit. Coach Matt Kimpland said it was the efforts of his seniors that set the groundwork for the improvements Fulton showed this season.

As his seniors move to the next phase of their lives, Kimpland hopes they are physically and mentally prepared to give their best efforts regardless of the challenge they face.

As it is every season, the Red Raiders faced some of the best teams Section 3 has to offer. Despite taking its lumps against some of these premier teams, Fulton proved to be far more of a formidable opponent than they were in other seasons.

In a season that saw the Red Raiders score 150 more points than they did a season ago, they also had a 5-13 overall record, which left them one game shy of qualify for Sectional play.

Kimpland said some of his younger guys can move on toward next season feeling confident, having seen what it takes to be competitive with the impressive opponents Fulton plays against year in and year out.

Looking ahead, 2014-15 figures to be an exciting season for Fulton.

After moving up to varsity last year as a freshman, Cody Green will return as junior.

This season, Green met every expectation coaches had for him. Even with teams striving to slow him down, Green scored 311 points this season.

Sophomores and juniors got a lot of playing this season and the Red Raiders hope to benefit from this next season.

A junior who had a memorable season was Chris Jones, with nearly a double-double in every game, including games against perennial powers Jamesville-DeWitt and Christian Brothers Academy.

Kimpland considers Jones to be the most improved player in the program. Despite showing progress over the summer, his breakout season was a bit of a surprise to his coaches.

Kimpland credits Green and Jones for how consistent their outside/inside play was this season and he is excited about what the duo can accomplish next season. Fulton also will see the return of third-leading scorer Josh Hudson next season.

Overall, the team appears excited and motivated headed into the off-season having doubled their win total from last season. Determined to build on the momentum the team established this season, seven of eight returning Red Raiders wasted little time beginning their preparation for next season.

The initiative his players have shown hasn’t gone unnoticed by Kimpland. In fact, he said Fulton’s future is even brighter because of the natural drive and enthusiasm his young team has displayed.

Bantams collect for food pantry

The Fulton Bantam hockey team recently concluded its “Hockey for the Hungry” food drive to benefit the Food Pantry at Believer’s Chapel of Fulton.

Sponsors pledged to donate one can of food for every goal the team scored in the month of February.

The Bantams tallied 51 goals on the month, collecting more than 320 cans in addition to $55 in cash donations.

Bowling Scores

Monday Night Women’s Michelob/ Shuba 2 Construction League
Bowled at The Recreation Club

Monday, March 17, 2014

  • Beth Brownlee         609- 191, 219, 199
  • Tamie Allen         558- 171, 184, 203
  • Michelle Simpson            548- 195, 186, 167
  • Gina Coomey                   538- 155, 214, 169
  • Patty Davis                       529- 179, 180, 170
  • Sara Shatrau                   518 -161, 190, 167
  • Della Daniels                   515- 169, 183, 163
  • Paula Distin                     493- 165, 170, 158
  • Annette Cotton                 489- 167, 157, 165
  • Rhonda Wolfersberger     480- 179, 116, 185
  • Chris Wolford                   468- 166, 145, 157
  • Jennifer Hudson               467- 156, 144, 167
  • Sharon Allen                    452- 143, 170, 139

Winning Edge Women’s League
Bowled at Lakeview Lanes
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

  • Pat Pardue                      608- 179, 222, 207
  • Chrissy Morrison             529- 175, 195, 159
  • Kathy Pipher                    529- 197, 163, 169
  • Rhonda Delaney              527- 163, 204, 160
  • Donna Murrell                  525- 166, 181, 178
  • Della Daniels                   520- 147, 181, 192
  • Carm Cavallaro                513- 186, 158, 169
  • Sherry Timm                    507- 150, 182, 175
  • MaryAnn Schreck             504- 184, 180, 140
  • Paula Distin                        503- 159, 183, 161
  • MaryAnn McGregor          493- 164, 174, 155
  • Katie Jodway                  490- 165, 178, 147
  • Kathy Barkley                   486- 172, 136, 178
  • Dawne Hartranft              475- 122, 178, 175
  • Jackie Coon                    465- 145, 197, 123
  • Tricia Hines                     464- 191, 150, 123
  • Linda Yager                      460- 182, 136, 142
  • Sandy St.Phillips              454- 172, 128, 154
  • Sharon Kells                    450- 135, 158, 157

Burritt Motors hires Backus

3-22_MILEbackusMorgan Backus joined Burritt Motors recently as a service lane coordinator, said business owner Chris Burritt.

“We’re delighted to add Morgan to our growing service team,” said Burritt. “This newly created position is going to pamper our customers by giving them and their vehicles the utmost personal attention right from the moment they drive into our service department.”

Backus will be in charge of greeting customers, inspecting their vehicles and giving them an overall “wow” experience by being extremely attentive and helpful, Burritt said.

Backus, from Mexico, has two years experience in the automotive industry. She  previously worked as a delivery specialist, certified tech expert and car and leasing salesperson.

Burritt Motors’ history dates back to 1955 in Hannibal when Chris’ grandfather, Elmer O. Burritt, purchased a Chevrolet franchise that he operated until 1963.

To expand in a larger market, Chris’ father, Richard, purchased the assets of a Chevrolet dealership that had been located on Oswego’s East Third Street. About a year later, he built the present dealership on Route 104, which underwent a $2.5 million expansion and renovation last year.

The dealership celebrates its 58th anniversary this year and can be reached at 343-8948, www.burrittmotors.com or www.themechanixgarage.com.

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