We anglers know how excited we are when we decide to go fishing. We grab our equipment and head toward a lake. Then we ask, “Where can we get worms?” Not many stores have a worm department.
Searching for worms is a new problem for me because one of my sisters recently bought a lake just off Alabama 9. She and I aren’t serious anglers. We love sitting on the bank and doing what we call “feeding the bream.” We mostly catch tiny bream, at least those that do not have lips capable of eating a worm without biting the hook. Many in this lake do, and some are so tiny they cannot pull the bobber under the water. As we fish, we relax and talk and shush each other whenever we get a nibble. We squeal when we reel in even the tiniest fish.
I am squeamish, so my sister usually removes my bream and tosses it back. I never realized that a bream can skitter away as fast as a kid on a water slide.
So, my new pleasure is hampered only by having to drive out of my way to find worms. Recently, I learned there is a new solution.
A couple of weeks or so ago, while waiting for a friend who shopped in the sporting goods department at Oxford’s Walmart, I glanced into the “worm refrigerator.” In front of me were the little cups that I knew held worms. After I spent a few seconds reading the labels, I saw something next to the refrigerator that surprised me. A display of worms sat on the glass countertop. “No refrigeration needed,” it read. Even better, the display stated that the worms lived for months in their cup.
Wow. If true, I could actually place a cup of worms in my car and be ready to dash to the lake whenever I get the chance. Maybe less daunting, I would be to able keep them on the back porch, but not indoors, during the summer months. Again, I am squeamish, but I am also curious. I had to find out how fishing worms can live without cold temperatures.
While searching the Internet, I learned about Wanglers, a company that imports a certain species of red worms from the Netherlands. Even better, the worms, like blouses or shoes, come in colors, which kind of belie the name “red worms.” They are available in either chartreuse (bright green) or a color the company calls “natural.” The picture on the display showed the “natural” to be reddish brown.
Even more intrigued, I spotted a phone number on the Internet and called. Lucky for me, the owner answered the phone and told me his story which follows:
Jeff Williamson worked for 40 years in the fishing tackle business. His supervisors asked him to study the live worm business to possibly consider entering the live bait business. After he finished his project, the supervisors decided against the idea. Williamson said he asked if they minded if he followed through, and they didn’t. He developed a business model and formed a partnership with a marketing guru, Paige Eliason.
The two brainstormed for a company name. “Who are these for?” she asked. “Anglers,” he said. She thought for a moment, combined the word “worm” and the word “anglers.” The word “Wanglers” popped out of her mouth.
“These worms are from the Netherlands,” said Williamson who lives in South Carolina. “There are thousands of species of worms, and this particular species doesn’t require refrigeration.”
The team experimented and found the perfect medium that provides the nutrients to keep the worms alive for months within a range of temperatures of 38 degrees to 85 degrees, if kept out of direct sun.
Williamson’s business background allowed him to have the contacts to pitch the idea to Walmart. The buyer liked it. She kept a cup of worms on her desk for months.
The company, which has been in business only one year, also sells t-shirts.
Prior to marketing the worm business, Eliason had never fished, but now she does. Williamson summed it up, “Now she’s hooked.”
Contact Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org