Salmon Angling Method: Rolling the Worm-bunch
The worm-bunch is a deadly method of baiting for salmon. It can be used throughout the season but kills best when fish are moderately fresh-run. The worms to use are the big blue-headed dew-worms which slink out of the lawn after a summer shower; a torch used after dark will reveal them. Keep them in a well-aired box in moss mixed with a little wet pond-weed. If a close-fitting box can be obtained this may be sunk in a shady part of the garden. Give the worms a feed of diluted fresh milk mixed with a little boiled oatmeal twice a week and they will wax sleek, tough, and fat.
The tackle consists of two large single worm-hooks tied about 10 cm (4 ins) apart in tandem. Good-quality round-bend hooks with the bend measuring about 1.5 cm (3/4 in) across are the ones to use.
The size of the lead is important. The best plan is to obtain a stock of 6 mm (1/4 in) drilled bullets, thread a couple of these on to the line, and fix them two feet above the hook by means of astop. Some anglers also like to incorporate a .
The number of bullets to use must be found by experiment. When the bait is cast square across the pool it should be weighted so that it rolls round slowly in an arc. Too much weight will anchor it to the bottom and too little will cause it to move too fast. Depth of water, speed of current, and the nature of the bottom are variables which make more or less weight desirable. For this reason some anglers use quickly detachable leads.
A clean gravel, shingle, or pebbly bottom is best for this method of fishing. On strange water, occasional snagging is to be expected and then the main thing is to avoid force. If the bait fails to come in on gentle recovery of line then the angler should walk 18 m (20 yds) up or downstream and pull from a new position; the hook can then nearly always be shaken free.
Getting annoyed and jerking the line savagely only serves of course to fix the hook into whatever is holding it.
It is well worthwhile carrying a small home-made otter for freeing tackle. One about 15 cm (6 ins) long, keeled with lead, with a wooden pin which retains the line in a slot will do the trick.
The hooks are baited with three or four worms hooked by head and tail, and held together in a compact bundle with an elastic band.
The fishing itself is systematic. The angler casts and allows the bait to trundle round in a slow arc. After taking a pace he recasts, and so on. The water is therefore covered metre by metre and no fish is missed. On smelling the bait salmon will come upstream to meet them.
After some experience in the method the angler will learn to distinguish between a small trout tugging at the tail of a worm and the vibration made when a salmon takes the bunch into his mouth and starts to chew them. Expert anglers quickly shake small trout off and re-cast.
A strong rod, 2.4 or 2.7 m (8 or 9 ft) long, of cane or fibreglass, suits this type of fishing. An efficientholding 90 m (100 yds) of 5 or 6.2 kg (12 or 14 lb) nylon is satisfactory. Since fish may have to be held in heavy water there is no sense in fishing too light.
Whatever may be said against worming for salmon it must be agreed that the method takes fish from waters which are too small and too overgrown to be fished in almost any other way.
Fished with skill and understanding the worm-bunch will kill fish that are otherwise impossible.