Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Miniature Worm Raiser

For The Man Of Leisure
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In the noble art of fishing, there are many forms that bait may take - from the most intricately crafted and delightfully coloured "fly", to the humblest maggot squiggling on a hook. These of course have their disadvantages. The higher quality the fly, the more expensive that feathery construction will be. Maggots are, of course, free to anyone willing to farm them; but in these dark days, keeping a rotting sheep's carcass in one's back yard is all too likely to raise one's neighbours' suspicions. Before you know it you may be facing accusations of being an incipient serial killer, a terrorist striving to culture a strain of anthrax or, worse still, some kind of "modern" artist working on an installation. It's simply much more trouble than it's worth. Worms are the bait of the traditional fisherman. They always have been and, I'm quite sure, always will.

One can, of course, purchase worms at one's nearest riverside or coastal fishing shop, but again this seems an absurd expense, given the preponderance of juicy fish food wrigglying about in the earth. One could collect more than enough worms on a summer's day digging in the garden, but this would leave one's soil lacking aeriation - terrible for the geraniums. And, of course, digging in the woods outside of town, at the dead of night, perhaps - well if people's suspicions were raised by the dead sheep, really, this is going to raise their eyebrows even more.

What one needs then is a way of raising the worms to the surface so that they can be collected easily as one casually strolls across the nearest grassy area - as if one were merely picking daisies. To this end, I suggest a miniature "worm raiser", somewhat similar to the equipment used in the Frank Herbert book, Dune, but (I hasten to add) in actuality based on the real-world principle by which birds raise worms to the surface. For our feathered friends know that the simplest way to raise worms is simply to pitter-patter across the grass in emulation of falling rain. The worms feel the vibration and automatically wriggle their way up in order to avoid drowning; the bird gets a juicy snack.

I propose, then, a six-inch high, battery-operated tippety-tapping machine that would be pushed into the earth and switched on. Said machine would give out its - rather basic - sonic signals: dum... dum... dum... dum... And viola! Worms surface for a chap to gather at his leisure. It couldn't be simpler.

Furthermore, one can but hope that it would only be a matter of time before the technological prowess of the Japanese led to such miniaturisation as would allow the combination Worm Raiser / Golf Tee. Gathering bait could then be carried out during a quick round of golf in the morning, one could retire to the clubhouse for luncheon and cocktails, then spend a restful afternoon fishing on the reedy banks of a quiet river. What more could a chap ask for?

Guy Fox, Sep 01 2002

I think this is the one that sprang to my mind..... http://news.bbc.co....2070000/2070220.stm
[po, Sep 01 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

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       Got me hooked. Charming link, po.
FarmerJohn, Sep 01 2002

       Lovely writing
thumbwax, Sep 01 2002

       There should be medals for this sort of thing. The Victoria Croissant. Now don't give me 'principles' young man, surely you can accept a gong from a fellow anti-monarchist Englishman?
General Washington, Sep 01 2002

       Sometimes called worm grunting or worm calling. Btw, Cleopatra was known to make her own flies, she was a pretty good angler by some accounts.
ty6, Sep 01 2002

       worm ({[[(charming)]]}) you mean
po, Sep 01 2002

       Hmm. Waxing poetic. Hmm.
reensure, Sep 01 2002

       I'm only too happy to accept a gong from a fellow revolutionary, General Washington, my dear man. I've always been a great admirer of your work over there with those Colonial chappies, with your independence and what-not. (One in the eye for those damned Hanoverians, eh?)   

       Absolutely wonderful link, po. Worm charming. Sounds almost as good as the Belgian bird-whistling stick-whittling competition.
Guy Fox, Sep 01 2002

       Did that link really "spring" to your mind,po? Or did it just kinda worm its way to the surface? Loved both the idea and the link.
jurist, Sep 02 2002

       Eminently croissantworthy. Now that I think about it, the small croissant looks a bit like a baby worm or chrysalis or something.
madradish, Sep 02 2002

       There's an old horror story with this premise. Except the 'drummer' was a grist mill and the worm was gigantic. My daughter has a kids book where the grist mill is replaced by electrical probes which drive the worms from the ground.
phoenix, Sep 03 2002


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