The Fine Art of Worm Grunting

For your Monday viewing pleasure we have two videos showing worm grunting in Florida.

Worm grunting is a technique used to lure worms out of the soil to collect as fishing bait. Basically, you take a stick (called a “stob”), pound it into the ground and rub a metal rod (known as a “rooping iron”) against the top of the stob. The deep vibrations are said to mimic the sound of burrowing moles, the natural predator of worms. When they sense the vibrations, the panicked worms crawl to the surface of the soil. (The high population of earthworms in the area profiled, upwards of 1 million per acre, makes grunting a sustainable practice.)

In England, grunting is called “worm charming”. And yes, there are competitions–in Sopchoppy, Florida, Shelburne, Ontario, and South Devon, England.

Kelly adds: Attn: geeks! After viewing, shall we discuss whether Dune author Frank Herbert knew about grunting…er…thumping? Were the Shai-Hulud fleeing even more terrifying SandVoles?

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  1. Charles Kuralt did a great segment on worm grunting in his “On the Road” series. I did a quick search on You Tube, but I didn’t see it. It’s a blast to watch.

  2. I have never heard of worm grunting. This week I am going to ask some older folk about it. In the Pines is one of my favorite songs!

    If I could do this, my hens would love me.

  3. I used a spade fork to do that when I was a kid to get worms for bait. Push the tines as deep as I could then pull the handle back and let go, the fork would vibrate, kind of like plucking a guitar string,when the fork got loose or there weren’t worms, just move to another “wormy” looking spot. Mom appreciated me not digging holes all over the yard.

  4. We always called this fiddling for nightcrawlers. You cut down a small sapling in a damp area using a handsaw about a foot above the soil line. Then cut down the stump. The worms boil out of the soil by the hundreds.

  5. Pingback: Shock the Worm | Root Simple

  6. Where can I get the Iron to grunt the worms out? I am sure they sell them, does anyone have a site or contact? Thank you.

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