Last night around 10 p.m., I stepped out onto my front porch and immediately noticed a tell-tale sign of spring. Yesterday’s evening rains soaked the dirt enough to cause hundreds of nightcrawlers to surface, thus thwarting death by drowning in drenched soil. Rare is the occasion that I fish with worms, and that’s not because I’m anti-bait, I just don’t find myself in many situations that call for them. The exception here is opening day of the trout season, or while wading for smallmouth midday in the summer.

But worms are just a good thing to have handy, and when they’re covering the sidewalk, it’s hard to pass up a free coffee can-full. So, wearing pajamas and flip-flops, I picked up enough last night to keep me stocked for the next month or two. I just couldn’t help myself.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes bait-gathering can be just as fun, if not more fun, than catching fish with said bait? Crayfish are a total blast in small creeks, and you’ve got to love a bait that goes equally well with a beer and hot sauce as it does on a hook. I’ve had lots of trouble walking away from solid herring bites even though the intention was to chunk the herring for catfish. What can I say…sometimes quantity is more fun than quality. And six herring on a Sabiki Rig pull pretty hard. So what’s your favorite bait to catch?