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What is Worm Grunting and How Does It Work

This article was written as a response to the question:
Worm grunting is a fast and effective way to get free fishing bait. Some people even grunt worms for profit.

What Is Worm Grunting? Worm grunting is a technique for gathering fishing bait that involves creating vibrations in the ground. This practice has been around for generations, but in the 1960's its effectiveness became widely known and gave birth to a thriving live bait industry in Florida. As people learned how easy it was to "charm" thousands of large earthworms out of the ground in a very short time, they flocked to Florida's Apalachicola National Forest to make their fortunes in worms.

Grunting was so effective and so popular, in fact, that the forestry service became concerned about the possibility of over harvesting the earthworms. They eventually put regulations in place requiring a worm grunting permit.

How Does Worm Grunting Work?

A popular misconception is that creating vibrations in the ground actually "calls" worms to the surface. It is believed, however, that grunting mimics a particular predator. Moles feed on earthworms and, as they burrow in search of food, they create these same vibrations. This serves as a warning to the worms, causing them to flee to the surface to escape.

How To Grunt For Worms

So now that you know what it is, you just have to try it, right? The good news is that you don't have to live in Florida to be a worm grunter, and you don't need a lot of fancy equipment. All it takes is two pieces of two by four, cut to two or three feet in length, a hammer, and a container for your worms.

The first step is to sharpen one end of a two by four, so that it can be easily pounded into the ground; then gather up your supplies and head out into the yard. Have a good look around for a particularly wormy looking area. If you have some dead, soggy leaves around, that's a good place to start.

Next, use the hammer to drive the sharpened two by four into the ground. You should go at least a foot deep and have one to two feet above the ground. That's it! The prep work is done and you're ready to start grunting.

To grunt for worms, use the other two by four to apply pressure to the board you drove into the ground, while moving it from side to side. This side to side motion is why this technique is sometimes referred to as "Fiddling." As you do this, the two boards rubbing together should produce a vibration, or grunting sound. The vibrations are transmitted through the ground and, if you picked a good spot, should bring plenty of worms to the surface quickly. Just drop them in your container (preferably with some of those dead leaves and some soil) and head off to the lake for a great day of fishing.

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