Shoes Or Worms?

Webb’s World


Dan Webb has been counting the pennies this month, and is not convinced his investment in the worm market has been paying dividends…

What can £30 buy? One-half of a meal out with the wife? A pair of shoes for the kids? A good night down the pub? (If that’s not enough, you need to take a long hard look at how much you drink!) A trip for two to the cinema? For most people (excluding Pete Goodman), £30 isn’t to be sniffed at! It’s affordable but at the same time not the sort of amount of money you want to give away too often! I love my fishing and I don’t mind paying for good bait, but when £30 only covers the price of fish food, that’s when I start to get upset!

As I’m writing this, I’m just days away from my next credit card statement where the normal diesel, floats and McDonald’s coffee bills have been grossly inflated by masses of bait after practising and fishing the Drennan Knockout Cup at Tunnel Barn Farm (thanks very much for the invite Tom, I hope you didn’t mind the subtle hints)!

It’s that time of year, around spawning time, when those picky commercial fish just want to start gorging on a worms. A kilo of worms causes a noticeable dent in the wallet but add to that four to six pints of casters in case they come shallow and suddenly thoughts of remortgaging come to mind!

Spending money on bait is a consequence of going fishing, but when it costs more to feed fish for five hours than the wife at a restaurant, that’s when it gets too much.

I feel like I’m putting a pound coin in my Cad Pot every time I ship out. I get a twisting, swirling sensation in my stomach that’s aggravated every time I miss a bite. It’s another expensive blob of bait that’s failed to catch a fish! More often than not, I find I’ve left my chopped mess in the sun a little too long and the debate starts up in my head: “That bait’s gone off, if you want to win, Daniel, you must chop some more.” Then the other little voice sparks up: “No no, they are only fish, they will eat what you give them, please, please think of the children!”

Why can’t those fussy finned bandits go wild for nice cheap pellets while spawning? Unused pellets can be packed away at the end and kept for months. If the kids are going without new shoes this month, at least the leftover bait that their sacrifice has funded doesn’t end up in the bin! Why can’t F1s crave corn in the spring? Imagine how happy everyone would be turning up with a gallon of corn to every match! “Oh dear,” I’d say, “I’ve got three pints of corn left, shall I freeze it? No, it’s only cost me £2.50, I’ll just give it to the fish as a thank you!”

All this is a long way away from me sobbing into my worm and caster mix as I tip away tonight’s take away money into the lake for the fish to eat!

Luckily, I managed to get through to Round Two of the Knockout Cup so all those worms didn’t die in vain, but there was one little thing that did upset me. A quick chat with Dale Shepard, the match winner and taker home of £1,000 in prize money, revealed a secret; he’d fed four pints of peat with his worms! Not only had I fed four pints of neat chopped worms and won nothing, Dale had bulked out his feed with the mud that comes free with his worms, and just to rub salt into the wound walks off with all the cash too! I’ve got to admit, it did hurt!

I’ll be realistic now, bait is never going to be super cheap but corners can be cut to an extent. The middle ground is meat. Commercial fish do love a bit of cheap tinned pink reconstituted abattoir scrapings. The only problem is that this cheap worm alternative has a dark side. Not only do these messy sinister pink cubes cover your pole and bait boxes in an evil, impenetrable fatty slime that never washes off, but its real cost is long term. Its fatty revenge slowly eats at your pole and catapult elastics and ruins your waterproofs. The seasoned meat bagger can often be identified after a rainy day by his wet legs caused by his leaky waterproofs.

I’ve heard several different ways to describe the expense of fishing. Some say it’s as expensive as you want it to be. Others say you don’t need to spend a fortune to catch a few fish. I say that these people are idiots because I’m sure that if I didn’t go fishing, I’d have a Ferrari and my daughter would have two new pairs of shoes each month!

But some people just make it too easy for it to be expensive. Just who are these loonies who pay £30 for a Fish ‘O’ Mania ticket and simply don’t turn up?! This year, there has yet again been a fight to get tickets and many qualifiers have been sold out only for up to 40 people not to turn up! If you know who any of these people are, do yourself a favour and ask them for their leftover bait!