by Karel Křivanec

I have taken the name of this article from the children rhyme which everyone knows in our country, because this expresses the best what I want to write about. I could have also called the article as: “The Year of a Worm”, but I am not entirely sure, whether it was just the last year or it will be this year. But I will start from the beginning.

For several years, we can see especially on American fly fishing websites increasing a number of articles about various types of worms. Worm as a pattern of a fly fishing bait is nothing new in our country and it got here from Poland, where it was often used in muddy water after strong rains. At the Youth World Championship 2009 in East Bohemia, one day the Doubrava River was so muddy that something could have been caught only with Polish worms.

Also at the World Championship in Poland in 2010 on the San River, water was high and muddy and after two days domestic team was winning when they were fishing with Polish wormies, but the third day the situation changed, even if it was still raining and Czechs jumped from the fourth place to the first one and Polish dropped from the first to the fourth. These imitations of worms called Glaicha sometimes proved well, but it was not persuasive.

Last year, something very interesting happened at the Youth World Championship in Poland on the Dunajec River and its tributaries. It was raining for a long time and water was high and muddy, but from this extremely unfavourably situation, the US team gained three medals! It was almost a crushing victory of young Americans with the sum of placings 53, before second Polish (79) and third Czechs (100) and also with two medals from the individual competition (1st Wittosch, 2nd Chioffi) and the entire US team finished up to the seventh place.

Red SquirmitoEven if we analysed this competitions, it was not caused by a better draw, because the Americans had the sum of success rate of their beats 112 and the Czechs 116. The assessment of teams in individuals has shown that the Czechs were first in the Sector I (Czarny Dunajec), where the influence of high water was lower than in four other sectors, where the Americans won. Almost a crushing victory the winners gained on the main stream of the Dunajec downstream of the dam in sectors IV and V. 

After the competition, we assessed the cause of their success by the fact the Americans used a new type of material which they used in their Squirmy Wormies, which were much better than the Polish ones called Glaicha. It was also interesting that these new types of wormies were attractive mainly for big fish, while our competitors had to release lots of fish under minimum size (25 cm). The winners applied another novelty - the use of jackets from dry neoprene which were dressed over waders and thus they got to places where it was impossible to wade without them.

In the middle of September, in our country on the Svratka River, there was a traditional international competition with the participation of about 60 competitors including the home top fly fishermen. It was after rains and water was high and muddy. In this situation, the first two places were taken by two Czech youths, who were at the World Championship in Poland and had several American wormies at disposal. Their victory was also clear and especially they caught many big graylings which were not tricked by even experienced competitors who were fishing on these beats with nymphs.

And when something similar happened to another competitor who used worms at the competition of the 2nd league in the Otava River in Strakonice, then worms were chased and those who did not have them were asking for the ban on their use. At various discussion forums in the Czech Republic, this discussion was discussed from various angles and the ban on using of artificial worms was required, despite the fact that there were many opposite opinions. Also “sure news” have emerged from the backstage that even FIPS-Mou deals with the question of possible ban on the use of these baits.

As I am against any bans and restrictions in competition rules, my opinion about the worm is clear. Of course, it is not an artificial fly, but it is a legal fly fishing bait, such as various fish-like streamers or lures of the Blob or Booby type. These new American wormies are new for fish and therefore they take them thinking that they are worms flushed from meadows. I think that when fish meet this artificial bait, their interest will drop, and furthermore these worms do not work everywhere and under all conditions. Therefore, I would give this opportunity to fish with artificial worms to everyone.

At the fly fishing competitions according to FIPS-Mou rules, fish is not killed and all fish is released, so why should wormies be banned, as long as every other fisherman can fish here with the same bait? The ban would have to be issued by the fishery owner as a general restriction in fishing. If the ban on these wormies shall be applied, it will not be easy to make wording of the rules to avoid new and unexpected problems.

After the success of young Americans in Poland, the number of news on American webs about wormies and their successful use both on rivers and various still waters rapidly increased. Many articles about tying of various patterns of worms have been published here from which is clear that no glue can be applied on soft rubber with which the soft material does not get along with. I have not read anything about the use of these worms and thus I will add a bit of my own experience.

Squirmy Wormy RedWe can use worm weighted with tungsten bead and fish with it at the top of the leader as we fish with the weighted nymph which we revive by gentle moves of the rod tip and at the end of the drift we hold it for some time before a new cast. We use the non-weighted worm on the dropper in combination with the weighted nymph at the end. During the drift, we lift up the worm and let it drop and at the end of the drift we hold it for a while.

Ed Herbst Logjam WormThe take is usually strong and therefore it is necessary to choose a stronger tippet. If we fish for trout, we should count with the fact that the soft rubber does not survive many takes and therefore it is necessary to prepare more wormies. Mostly various shades of red and pink colours of this soft rubber is used, but also wormies of orange, brown, green and other colours can be successful. As I have mentioned, this new bait is also useful for fishing of big experienced graylings, but also other fish species.

Analysis of bonity beatsby sectors (PDF, 179 kB)