I wasn’t aware until recently that I’m famous.  I doubt you’ll guess why, because I myself was quite surprised. No, it’s not because I’m a professional athlete (that would be Kurt Warner, or even Curt Edward Warner).  Nor is it because I’m a business tycoon – those who know me know that I am not of the Werner fame behind Werner Ladders, Werner Paddles , or even Werner Enterprises. I do own a Werner ladder, however, and I have always enjoyed the fact that I never had to put my name on it because it was already prominently displayed there. Once when I was in line to purchase a lift ticket at Stevens Pass the nice lady in the ticket booth asked if I was the Werner behind the paddles.  My reply obviously disappointed her because she wasn’t nearly so pleasant after learning that I was just a non-paddling commoner. As for Werner Enterprises, I’ve always admired their trucks but don’t even have so much as a commercial driver’s license, let alone a controlling vote on their board of directors.

If you guessed that my fame comes from being a best-selling author of fly fishing books you’d be wrong again because I haven’t quite yet reached that status (although I did have my ten minutes of fame a couple of years ago). But like the river temperatures in summer, you’re getting warmer because I am famous for something having to do with fishing: it would seem I’m famous for a line of fishing bait.  That’s right, Werner’s Wigglers.

My non-fishing friend “Big Fritter” was recently on a week-long bike ride up into Canada. No, he’s not a middle-aged over achiever so instead of pedals and 15 gears, his bike has a V-twin engine and a Harley Davidson badge on the gas tank (and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t wear neon spandex while he rides, either). After a less than welcoming stay (due to weather) north of the border, he and his biker gang cut a swath of terror as they rode south through Glacier National Park and into Northern Idaho, striking fear into innocent families on summer vacations. As Fritter and his band of rogue compadres rumbled through the vicinity of Sandpoint, Idaho, they stopped for some reason unbeknownst to me – perhaps to guzzle beer, beat up the locals and steal their women. Probably it was just to buy some gas and use the restroom.  Whatever the case may have been, Fritter snapped a photo of  simple sign in the window of a convenience store – photo that would forever change my life.

Like all kids I spent a fair amount of time dangling worms under a bobber, and even though I caught my fair share of fish I never really enjoyed that method of fish deception all that much. Even armed with the knowledge that fish would rather take a chunk of fleshy bait over a synthetic insect imitation any day, fly fishing captured my heart and soul and to this day defines who I am. Not being a bait angler suits me just fine. I mean, who besides porn seekers would read a blog titled “The Unccomplished Worm Dangler”? No porn here, other than the very occasional fish porn.

I find it highly ironic that the slogan for Werner’s Wigglers is: “Try ‘Em You’ll Like’m, The Fish Do”. In my last three outings, I’ve been skunked (and only one of those trips was for steelhead, in which case one expects to not catch fish). Clearly the fish don’t much care for me and it would appear that I am not worthy of the Wiggler name. Perhaps I should invent a really fishy looking pattern that’s a cross between a San Juan Worm and a Woolly Bugger, tied on an articulated hook, and call it the Werner Wiggler!  Nah, I don’t want to be famous for copyright infringement either.

Regardless of my fishing prowess or lack thereof, here I am – famous (if even mistakenly so) for night crawlers and red tiger worms, cured bait such as Prongs and Coontails, frozen bait (sardines, smelt and herring) and even meal worms and maggots.  Yes, maggots. Had I known all this before, the character in my books might have been Maggie the Maggot instead of Olive the Woolly Bugger. Hey now– there’s idea for another book (by Kirk Werner)!

In the meantime I wonder if I can get a pro form deal on some Werner’s Wigglers?