Working the Tides

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Photos by Michael Cevoli

Few jobs are more backbreaking than digging the mud flats for seaworms — a popular bait for a host of species, from striped bass to flounder.

You spend three to four hours at the bottom of a tide bent over at the waist, standing in mud halfway up your shins or deeper, swinging a short-handled hoe with one hand and plucking sandworms and bloodworms out of the mud with the other.

You get paid by the worm: roughly 20 cents for a sandworm and 35 cents for a bloodworm. As tough as it is, the job still attracts hundreds of independent, industrious Mainers who like working for themselves in the outdoors and adhering to a lifestyle dictated by tides, rather than a time clock.

Anglers Journal earlier this year tagged along with several members of the hardy band who work the tides for a living. Look for the full story in the summer issue of Anglers Journal.

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