The Unaccomplished Wiggler?

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?


  1. Patrick

    Fun stuff. Have to ask…would the contradiction of a Werner’s Wigglers fly rod wrap be suitably offset by the possibility of funds for new equipment acquisitions? Maybe some tippet to replace that which you had trouble finding? 🙂

    • admin

      Pat, thanks for bringing up the matter of missing tippet spools. I fear that I will be paying a visit to the local fly shop to replace it all. No doubt once I’ve done that I will find my missing spools.

  2. Dave

    Kirk, as far as namesakes go, I sure wish I were part of the H.B. Reese family (yes of the famous Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Reese’s Pieces). Which sold in 1963 to the Hershey Company for $23.5 Million. If I had been lucky enough to be part of that Reese family tree…. Well, let’s just say that things would be vastly different. Alas, it was not me.
    I grew up being called Reese Cup, Reese’s Pieces, and other various candy derivatives. But much to my elation, the 1990’s brought about some vindication and retribution. Do you remember the Reese’s slogan in the 90’s? There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s. Need I say more?
    Maggie the Maggot, Tilly the Tiger Worm, and Nattie the Night Crawler meet Olive the Woolly Bugger. Sure why not! Olive explains how they all harm fish, and they have no place in a tackle box or on a river where a native fish might live…
    Oh look there I went and got on my soap box again… I gotta stop that!

    Good read man.
    Catch ya next time!

    • admin

      Ah yes, Dave- I do not have the monopoly on cases of mistaken famous identity. Several generations ago my great great grandfather loaned money to a friend to start a tire business. No interest was charged, nor was part ownership requested as part of the good faith loan. My great great grandfather went broke and Goodyear Tire went on to do fairly well, I am told. Oh how things might have been different indeed!

      Thanks for chiming in. As always, I enjoy your soapbox 😉

  3. Rebecca

    Go out and purchase your fly tying kit right away. I’m sure you can design the perfect Werner Worm that fly fisherman will order by the dozen.
    At least you have an idea for an off-shoot of the Olive fame – a series for the non-fly fishing kiddoes!

    • Kirk Werner

      I can’t tie a fly to save my life…I need a gifted tier to step up and help create the Werner Wiggler.

  4. The Big Fritter

    I love it, royalties for the new series! Signed, the Big Fritter. Have a good one Kirk.

    • Kirk Werner

      Welcome and thanks for chiming in, Big Fritter, but more importantly thanks for changing my life!

  5. Oscar Werner

    On a trip to Calif. in the 60’s a stewardess asked my friend if I was Oscar Werner, the famous German movie actor who starred in the film Ship of Fools. He answered yes and I got great service on the flight, even though we were in coach class.
    Oscar Werner

    • Kirk Werner

      It’s an honor to have the Father of the Unaccomplished Angler on board. Looking back on my childhood, I can see that you were shielding us from the pressures associated with fame and fortune. Thanks for that- growing up the son of a famous German movie star AND the namesake of the Wiggler bait company would have ruined me and your other son 😉

  6. Bob Nicholson

    Well, I sure have enjoyed this website (I confess, I found it by accident while searching for Werner’s Wigglers website. ) If course, you are more accomplished than I, as I am still trying to figure out how to do a blog (figure I have something to say; just don’t know how to blog yet…so…you either you are quite accomplished, or I am in much worse shape than I feared.) I for one also like the idea of fishing with someone better more accomplished than I – not hard to find such a person (of course, I love to introduce someone to the joys of fishing.)
    Joyful in North Idaho,

    • Kirk Werner

      Bob, if I can start a blog, anyone can—I recommend you start with a basic WordPress site. They’re pretty easy to navigate and manage. Thanks for visiting and good luck to you.

  7. Art Anderson

    from Werner’s Wigglers
    thanks for the chuckle if you ever get to north Idaho giver me a call and I might have a T shirt for you just buy a cup of my worms and the phone number is on the cup

    • Kirk Werner

      I shall seek you out next time I have the opportunity to grab a cup of worms!

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