Worm Grunting and Kinchafoonee Creek Tales

Otto's maternal grandfather, Benjamin Woody, loved to go fishing in the Kinchafoonee Creek and he shared his passion with his numerous grandchildren.  His preferred appliance for angling was a homemade cane pole with a wiggling worm. 

Pronounced kinch-uh-FOO-nee, the creek begins somewhere in Marion County, Georgia and flows for about seventy five miles ending at the Flint River near Albany, Georgia.  The part of the creek Papa preferred for fishing is situated in Webster County, formerly known as Kinchafoonee County, and located only a few minutes from his doorstep.   

Papa preferred to fish with earth worms and he knew exactly how to coax them out of the ground; a practice that is commonly known as worm grunting, a disgusting sounding description for this little known exercise. Because of an interesting episode on the Discovery Channel we now understand that the distinct sounding vibrations made by this method mimic the sounds made by moles, a predatory animal which stalks earthworms. 

Papa used an archaic and fragmented wooden boat paddle and an antique saw blade to coax the worms out of their hiding places.  Apparently until recently the scientific community did not understand how the method worked, but after lengthy research have now determined that the groaning sound truly does cause the worms to emerge out of the ground.  Actually, the soggier the soil, the easier it is to charm them to the surface. 

Those entrepreneurs who sell fish bait to the consumers actually use this unusual method to gather their stock.  The local professional worm grunters must obtain a permit in order to practice their trade; some families, like the Revell clan, have essentially been practicing this technique for generations, and compare it to making music. 

If you are not convinced that this practice is authentic, investigate the 9th Annual Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin' Festival; or the Competitive Worm Charming Championship, in the Apalachicola National Forest in Florida, maybe then you too will become a believer. 


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