Catching worms Linocut Lynette M Arden
Catching worms on the beach.
Linocut: Lynette M. Arden

Sometimes we go to Pipi beach, which is quite a long way over on the other side of the town away from the river. It is a long beach with rocks about one or two miles down called Flat Rock. Before you get to the sand hills behind the beach you have to go through the aborigine’s encampment. I would be too scared to go there by myself as they have savage dogs. The dogs bark and growl as we go past (my father and Carolyn and me). The aborigines live in shacks made of bits of wood and corrugated iron.

          My father catches worms on the beach. One of the older aborigines who he is friendly with showed him how to do it, as it is quite difficult. You have to drag some burley, which is a half rotten body of something like a shovel nosed shark or stingray up and down the sand in the water. The worms smell the burley and stick their heads out. You can see them waving. Then you feed them a type of shellfish called a pipi. You dig the pipi up and get it out of its shell and hold in your hand (it is still alive).

When the worm bites the pipi you have your fingers of your other hand around its neck very gently feeling it. It rises up to get a good mouthful and just before it jerks down you squeeze it behind the head and it goes all limp, so you can drag it out of the sand. If you are too early or too late it whips out of your hand and you might only get its head. They can easily grow new heads.

Some worms are very long, about four feet, but the best ones are shorter. Some are called slimies because they drip off a lot of slime and go very thin but others have thick strong bodies and keep the best. After they are caught my father rolls them in dry cool sand to keep them. Worms are the best for fishing off the beaches.



All art work and written material on the site remain Copyright of the author:
Lynette M. Arden 2002 - 2011