Friday, 29 December 2017

More on lugworms

Dungeness Black Lug - Following on from yesterdays post regarding lugworms, and the lack of in Lade bay, I`ve been contacted by Dave Bunney from Dungeness. As many of you may well know Dave is well known in these parts as an ace finder of rare birds in and around his garden at South View (Bee-eater, Woodchat and Red-backed Shrikes, Radde`s and Melodious Warblers in 2017). He also dug/pumped for bait for over 30 years professionally, so knows a thing or two about these prized worms; I joined him out on the sands one afternoon about 10 years ago whilst researching for a Countryman magazine article, and I can confirm its damn hard graft. 
 However, according to Dave, numbers of Black Lug often decline during December - March, probably because of the cold weather, but no one really knows for sure why some years are worse than others, so maybe this winter is a random poor year, but he assures me that come the spring they will return in vast numbers. He went on to say that "millions" can get washed ashore following storms out at sea, whilst offshore fisherman have reported great bunches of worms being attached to anchors when dragged up, suggesting large populations in the sandy seabed of the Channel.
   Apparently, `Pete the Bait` (no surname, no pack drill) is a glass half empty kinda guy, so maybe my gloomy prognosis was ill informed. Oh, and I learned something else too - Dave`s wife also dug bait alongside him for seven years!
  Many thanks for the information on Black Lug Dave, and keep finding those rarities in the New Year.


  1. Well let's hope Dave is right, there's a lot of hungry birds out there. Just out of curiosity, how do the pumps work then.

  2. I`m no expert but what I`ve seen is: the pump suction tube is placed into/over the faecal cast and the handle pulled up thus extracting a thin coil of sand and the lugworm, the skill being not to break the worm as its sucked up. As you can imagine not having to physically dig the worm out with a spade increases the extraction rates hugely.