- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 10, 2005

My wife recently ordered me to never again bring a new fishing product into the house that smelled so horribly of garlic that it permeated every room in the lower half of our abode, as well as portions of the upstairs. Honestly, it smelled like a half-dozen Italian restaurant kitchens combined, maybe more.

The odorous saga began with an e-mail from a company, FoodSource Lure Corporation, that said it had a new colorful and digestible bait product that was so good fish would snatch it up and not let go.

I’m skeptical about such claims because, when word in the industry gets around that someone writes about fishing, it isn’t long before you’re thought of as their pal who’ll pass along any old silly promotional message to fill column space. (Some of these companies send me messages so friendly, you’d swear they were related to me.)

I returned an e-mail to the FoodSource spokesman telling him that we don’t print claims of wonder compounds or lures based on company statements alone. I’m willing to purchase or accept gratis a small amount of such a product, then will check it out. If it does the job as promised, I’ll pass it along to the readers; ditto if it doesn’t.

Next thing you know I received two small Ziploc baggies. One contained a few 5-inch-long FoodSource Food Sticks that looked like plastic worms and reeked of licorice; the other had 1-inch-long bright green FoodSource Meal Worms that smelled so strongly of garlic, they seemed to penetrate even the bag. Both products are said to be 100 percent biodegradable and do not contain any plastics or polymers. If left in the water or on the ground, they’ll decompose in three weeks on average, say the FoodSource people.

Enter my friend Mike Guy, who volunteered to help me test these aromatic wonders on a chilly, windy day. We visited a family farm pond that is home to largemouth bass, crappies and bluegills. The water temperature was somewhere around 50 degrees, and in this pond the bass and other fish do not always cooperate because they can feed on resident minnows, insects and crawfish.

I attached a 1-inch FoodSource Earthworm Garlic meal worm to the hook of a tiny 1/16-ounce shad dart, then snapped on a thumb tip-sized bobber a couple of feet above the lure. To make sure that the little tuft of bucktail dressing on the shad dart wasn’t the sole catalyst to draw a strike from fish, I rigged another rod with a plain hook and one of the green meal worms.

After two casts, the plastic bobber on the rod with the shad dart went down, and a fat, red-breasted sunfish soon strained against the nylon. It had the garlic-flavored meal worm firmly in its mouth.

Moments later, the other rod with the plain hook and meal worm received a strike. It was a chunky crappie. It, too, had sucked in the “bait.” Both rods received strikes from more bluegills and crappies.

Meanwhile, Mike — a good bass fisherman — was casting the FoodSource Food Stick worm. Nothing happened. Incidentally, the licorice-flavored worm brought back memories of the 1960s when bass fishermen would buy small bottles of oil of anise in drug stores and dab it on everything, even fast-moving spinnerbaits.

The fact that Mike didn’t hook a bass with the new flavored worms doesn’t prove a thing — yet. There’ll be more test outings to come, including several on the tidal Potomac. Eventually, Mike put down the bass rod and picked up a little spinning outfit rigged with the garlic-strong meal worm. A couple of casts later he reeled in a fat crappie that measured somewhere around 13 or 14 inches. It had attacked the artificial meal worm as if it hadn’t had a snack in a month.

So we can pretty well state that the FoodSource meal worms work like crazy, but additional trials are required for the bass-size worms known as Food Sticks.

By the way, unlike the very popular Gulp! baits from Berkley that also act like a food magnet for fish, but need to be kept apart from unused grubs and worms lest they get stuck together, the FoodSource products can be put back into the bag even after use and while wet.

If you can’t wait and wish to see the FoodSource lineup and a gang of testimonials from bass, trout and catfish anglers, check out fslures.com, or send an e-mail to info@fslures.com or call 866/375-8737.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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