Catching and Keeping Worms For Bait


This article focuses on those who are beginner to novice anglers.  Catching worms (nightcrawlers, and the common "redworm") can be both easy and fun.  Nightcrawlers thrive best in warm, moist earth or other areas where compost like earth is abundant.  Nightcrawlers come out at night, and can be easily located using a dim source of light (flashlight with a plastic colored cover, or a light stick).  Look for nightcrawlers after dark, under vegetation, around compost piles, parks, or anywhere that is damp.  Nightcrawlers do not bite, but may feel cold and slimy to the touch.  When you locate one, grasp it by the top quickly, and slight pull upwards using gentle soft pressure, until the worm is dislodged from its hole.

The best way to keep your collection of worms alive is a mixture of compost, or peat and regular dirt. 1/3rd dirt, and 2/3rds peat or compost mixture will do fine in a 3x2x2 box.  You can house 600 to 700 nightcrawlers in a box that size.  Cool and damp is essential for good healthy worms.  Never let the worms be exposed to direct sunlight for too long.  Worms can be stored in any container with bedding mixture (dirt, peat mix), and up to 16 worms packed per 12oz container is good for a days worth of fishing, provided the worms are protected from sunlight and heat.

Ice cubes, incidentally, can be used when transporting and keeping worms on an extended fishing trip.  Try the following method on your next trip: in the center of your bait box, which should measure about 12 x 12 x 8 inches if you're carrying 300 or so worms, clear a space in the bedding. Next, fill a glass jar or plastic container with ice cubes, screw the top back on and put it in a plastic bag.  Place the container in the center of the box and push the bedding soil around it.  The ice will keep the soil cool and dampened it will stay that way until the cubes melt. In hot weather, worms will actually crowd around the jar.  The purpose of the plastic is to seal in condensation. With out the plastic, the soil would become too soggy for worms.

Fishermen, are you tired of trying to find worms at the bottom of a can? Take a can and remove both ends and replace with plastic lids. When your worms are all at the bottom, turn the can upside down. 

When fishing with worms, the hook should be carefully placed through the center of the large band located 2/3rds the way up on the worms body.  The band will appear as a ring of flesh separating the lower portion of the worm from the upper portion.  You may use a "float", or "bobber" when fishing with worms, with the bobber being placed 18 to 36" above the hook. Some anglers simply let out about ten feet of line, and gently toss the worm (hooked) under a large tree overlooking the water, or boat dock, or other shaded cover. Just let the worm sink naturally to the bottom, slowly reeling in (one reel handle revolution per ten seconds) until you feel that strike, or watch the line seem to start going out on it's own.

Bait worms are not the only natural baits. Look around any body of water for frogs, caterpillars, grasshoppers, leeches, crawdads, just about any insect of any type hooked and tossed into a pond or lake can easily produce the evenings dinner!


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Capn' Hook