Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Worming like a rockstar...




This morning my father, duckhammer (the maine outdoorsman), and myself hit the flats at low water to get our limit of 1000 sandworms used primarily for salt water fishing. This was the first opportunity to have this segment of our lives documented on photo.



My father has dug sandworms his entire life and can credit at least 50 years of tenure in the industry. It would be fair to say that he might be one of the all time greats having harvested millions of sandworms. As retirement nears, I anticipate that I'll quit when he does...



But it is great to say that I have worked with my father and have been able to participate in an industry that is quietly phasing out as the number of worm diggers has steadily decreased over the last thirty years. Nevertheless, when it's right the money is astronomical and when it's not, you hope to walk off the flats with $75 bucks in your pocket. I've seen tides when I've made $350 in two hours time and others where three hours of labor would produce $50...

Have a great day,
Downeast Duck Hunter

8 comments:

tugboatdude said...

that industry sounds much like the blue crab industry in virginia.it's a hardcore way to make a living and many people aren't passing there knowledge of the trade onto there kin

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

Yeah Tug,
You're right that it's a family thing and I will not be putting my girls on the flats, I'm on them to get ahead so they can have a better life...

I've done it for over twenty years now and it has given me so much... When I got out of college my final tab was only $6,000 for four years and I'm fortunate that I've been able to use my mind and body to do the very best I can in life to cut ahead...

However, this industry isn't for the faint of heart and to do well you need plenty of guts and get absolutely no glory... My father and I figure that in about two hours time we can take between 3,000 and 5,000 digs depending on how good the digging looks... So you would be moving tons of mud chasing those 12 cent wigglers and god only knows how many calories one can burn but I've lost about ten pounds in one month and I eat everything in sight!!!

What makes things hard is once you commit to a dealer, you are bound to the orders that are placed throughout the summer, or for full time diggers the year... So I have to toggle my lobstering where I go when I want to against worming where the tides and orders dictate my day... It does make for a busy summer, but I can make more than teaching in three months time...

Swamp Thing said...

Ignorant question - are those different than what we call "bloodworms" down here?

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

Swampthing,
Actually I dig both sandworms and bloodworms, on that particular day I only had around 20 at $.24 per bloodworm... We put them in a separate container from the sandworms so they don't attack... There are full time bloodworm diggers but my father and I only pick up bloodworms for extra pocket change... I might get a total of 1,000 bloodworms a year which amounts to $240... Thanks for asking...

Downeast Duck Hunter

Swamp Thing said...

Much respect. That sounds like a lot of damn work. And I almost wholly thank bloodworms (their nastiness and their price - $12 per dozen down here) for my nearly complete transition to artificial lures about 5 years ago. Ugh!

jcha84 said...

Hi, what is the name of the tool you are holding in the pictures?

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

jcha84, we call it a worm hoe. Basically it is a gardening fork altered and longer tines added. Our local welders fabricate these and repair them. Thanks for swinging by...

DEDH

grldigr said...

Ya, I must say, worming is hard work that is not for everyone. I have been diggin' bloodworms for 12 years now and wouldnt dream of doin' anything else.(unless my body just dont let me dig anymore! lol)I'm 29,5'1, weigh 100lbs, and yes I'm a girl! I dig year round, yes all winter, even on those days you tell yourself you should be home,(or snowmobiling!)but all n all,luv my job.