Of Cops And Crawlers

Do you gather nightcrawlers after a spring or summer rain to save a few bucks? And have you ever been questioned by authorities about your crawler-catching activities?

This past Friday night—about 11:30 p.m.—as steady rains soaked my family’s residential lawn, I couldn’t help but notice the nightcrawlers moving about on our driveway and the adjacent sidewalks and streets. The purpose of my late-night walk was to give our Lab, Togo, a bit of exercise and allow her the chance to relieve herself before spending the night inside.

Togo sniffed at the many crawlers—as well as numerous frogs and toads—but for whatever reason, she likes to slurp only worms that have dried in the sun. To use a food analogy, I guess she prefers raisins to grapes.

After placing Togo in her kennel, I grabbed the brightest flashlight I could find and then retraced my steps through my neighborhood. You see, I’d memorized the locations of several magnum crawlers, much like a muskie angler mentally marks big-fish sightings.

By midnight, my Ziploc sandwich bag was feeling the weight of a few dozen juicy crawlers, and while I found most of them on public property, I’d be lying to you if I didn’t admit to quickly running up a neighbor’s driveway a time or two (or more!) to save the worms from becoming road-kill in the morning.

Thankfully, Johnny Law didn’t arrive on the scene, and I didn’t have to explain why a 49-year-old man feels the need to run around at midnight hunting for nightcrawlers.

P.S. Early the next morning my son, Luke, hopped on his bike and picked up a few more worms off the street, and later in the day we enjoyed the fruits of our labor with fast-paced action from redhorse suckers (above) and small channel cats.


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