Posted by: Debra Kolkka | January 13, 2012

The early bird catches the worm


In this case it is Col the worm catcher who catches the worms. If you look at the bottom left of the photo you will see a man bending over. That’s Col, out and about very early at Main Beach. He is a professional worm catcher. The worms are used by fishermen for bait. It is very interesting, take a look.


As the wave recedes, a fish is held close to the sand and when the worms come up to feed, Col grabs them and pulls them out of their sandy homes.











As long as you don’t mind getting your feet wet, and you have lots of patience, it is not all that difficult to do. We used to catch worms when we were kids, not for bait, but to tie them in knots and watch them wriggle out of them. They are surprisingly fast at this.

Col had a seagull keeping an eye on his fish.


I caught up with Col as he was leaving the beach. He had quite a haul.



He estimated that this bucket of worms was worth about $600. Before you dash off to the beach with a fish and a bucket, you should know that a worming licence costs a fortune and you have to be out in all weather. Col had orders to fill and was heading off to another beach for some more fun. He must like it, he has been doing it for 45 years.

There was another hunter out early as well. He looked a bit like Kevin Rudd, perhaps he has fallen on hard times.

People lose all kinds of things at the beach and in the surf. It can be quite lucrative scouring the sand for this stuff.

There were a couple of courting seagulls out early. One was circling the other, trying to get a bit of attention.



There didn’t seem to much interest, and then they flew off.

It was a beautiful morning at the beach.







Bob was out with his fishing rod, hoping to catch breakfast.



He caught a fine looking flathead.



I think Bob’s face says it all. What could be better than being at the beach to watch the sun come up?



  1. Hi Debra, I adore your skies! The worm story is so interesting. I knew you could do that but had no idea they were so long or worth so much. What’s better than a sunrise? To a late riser and night owl like me, the sunsets are wonderful! My new website is coming along well, average of 160 hits p.w. for the first 2 weeks. If you want to take a look it is I just had a thought, I hope it is OK to put it here. Just remove this comment if it is not. I’m now working on another one for my Zonta Club. I am a fanatical follower of your blog. Cheers, Dianne

    • 160 hits is excellent! You must be happy with that.
      I have always liked to get up early, especially when I am at the beach.

  2. LOL Must tell Willie about this post. He also goes worm hunting for bait. Don’t know if he told you, but he went out fishing on his last day in Mooloolaba.

    • I expect to see photos of Willie, head down, bottom up, searching for worms.

  3. Go Deb !

    • It was a great morning at Main Beach.

  4. What a beautiful morning! I love the open rich skies. Maybe I adore it even more since I no longer take it for granted. I lived in China for a few years, rarely blue as in clear blue skies there.

    • These photos were taken today. It was a gorgeous early morning at the beach. We are very lucky to have such beautiful beaches and clear skies.

  5. I’ll admit I scrolled through very quickly through those worm photos-I’m not a fan of them! But I also had no idea that there was such a thing as a worm catcher!

    • I think it would be a great job!

  6. Lovely pictures! I have never before heard of a professional worm catcher, and I am absolutely amused with the thought of it!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • If you love the beach, what could be better?

  7. Great set of photos. I especially loved the photo from “Treasure hunter”!

    • Thank you! It was a lovely morning at the beach.

  8. […] the original post here: The early bird catches the worm « Bagni di Lucca and Beyond This entry was posted in Lucca and tagged case, catches-the-worms, early-at-main, man-bending, […]

  9. What a beautiful post, dear Debra… The skies fascinated me… You did a great set. How I loved seagulls, especially the first one with green bag… Amazing. Thank you, have a nice day and enjoyable weekend, with my love, nia

    • I love the seagulls too. I love to be at the beach early in the morning .

  10. Amazing skies and seas, wonderful photos. It’s gone grey again here in Bagni di Lucca today so I’d quite like to be on one of those beaches. Fascinating worm catcher story, can’t believe $600! But not sure I’d be willing even for that money!

    • Our beaches are beautiful. I miss this when I am in Italy.

  11. great fishing photos!!

    • Thanks! Bob was a happy fisherman.

  12. Very familiar and great photos which bring up fond memories of the many years we enjoyed on the Gold Coast. They will always have a place in our hearts. No matter where we are. Thanks for sharing them, Debra.

    • It is a beautiful part of the world.

  13. Worm catching looks like it would be hard on your back! But earning $600 for a morning’s work on the beach sounds glorious!

    • Bending over for hours can’t be easy, but what a gorgeous place to work.

  14. Oh i see what you mean, you had a fantastic day and these photographs are fantastic, the seagulls, the first shot and that wonderful one of the life guards tower.. very very lovely.. beautiful beach.. c

    • The Gold Coast has certainly changed since we first went there in 1957, but the surf doesn’t change. I love it!

  15. Who knew that’s how you catch worms! Amazing, Deb—–

    • It is quite easy once you know how.

  16. I am going to show this one to Brian, who used to do a little beach fishing, what a wonderful photo essay and those skies…. my my, they are so lovely – bless Bob! and bless the worms. Darwin wrote an essay about them somewhere, without the worms there would be no soil and no life on earth 🙂

    • I don’t understand why people think these worms are icky. They live in clean sand and salt water.

  17. wow, bellissima serie

    • Thank you, it was a beautiful morning at Main Beach.

  18. i’ve come back because I was just showing your post to Brian over breakfast and he asks: Would you know if they bite like the English ragworm or is that a type of lugworm? Was the fish alive or dead? He is intrigued by the fiah catcher … and says that it looks a lot warmer than here and that you take great photos. 🙂

    • I don’t think the worms bite because we used to catch them when we were kids and I don’t recall being nipped. I will email you some more photos of the worms and perhaps you can identify them. The fish Col was using was dead. He said you could use almost anything to attract the worms, even a piece of cheese.
      Bob the fisherman was delightful and it turned out that he knew lots of people I know. I grew up at that beach.
      Say thank you to Brian for the nice words.

  19. Now there’s a job (I don’t think I’d fancy…)
    Beautiful sunrise

    • Apart from the bending over bit, I think it would be a great job. It is a pretty good workroom, and just think how clean your feet would be.

  20. I live by the sea but, until now, I never knew how bait was caught. I learn something new on an almost daily basis from my fellow bloggers posts. it’s one of the things I love about the blog world.

    • It is also possible to dig in the sand for pippies, which you can eat or use for bait. We used to dig these up just to watch how quickly they could burrow back under the sand.

  21. How very interesting! I can’t imagine bending over like that as a career for 45 years — more power to Col! Those worms are surprisingly long. I wonder if the fishermen use pieces of them as bait vs the entire worm. You can tell I am not a fisherman 🙂

    • The worms are quite expensive to buy as bait. Fishermen use pieces of the worm to thread on a hook. I believe they are very good bait.

  22. […] Click here, here and here for more on this lovely beach. […]

  23. […] I really love my early morning walks on the beach. For more on Col, the amazing wormer, click here. […]

  24. […] Col, the wormer, was out and about and Bob, a fisherman I have met before was trying his luck. […]

  25. […] I see him  regularly now and he has many tales to tell. I wonder if there will be a wormer to take his place when he finally gives up. (See more about Col here) […]

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