Worms are the best bait

Worms are the best bait

You gotta love worms. Prepare them right and you can catch anything…and I’m not just talking about fresh water fish!


Ever since people have been fishing they’ve been using worms. Fish love them and you can catch the smallest…and biggest fish on these wrigglers.


The great thing about worms is that just about every fishing tackle shop sells them and they’re easy to raise yourself.


Nearly all fresh water fish will readily take a worm and a surprising number of salt water species as well.


In Victoria the 3 most common species sold are scrub worms, night crawlers and compost worms.


Scrub worms and night crawlers are preferred by many anglers but I’ve had as much success with compost worms…especially tiger worms….so fish aren’t all that choosy!


The number of large Australian native fish caught on scrub worms would be massive and this includes some very, very big Murray cod.


Scrub worms and night crawlers can be a little expensive to buy but if you’re fishing our country rivers they are the ‘go to’ bait, especially the scrub worms. These naturally live in the soft soil near most river banks and are something the fish would find in the water….especially after rains wash them in. It’s a bait they know….and love!


Night crawlers have a number of different species native to Africa, Europe or Canada. They’re the same size as a scrub worm but tend to be a bit more lively….especially at night. In fact, they have to be bred in special ‘escape proof’ boxes because they have a habit of crawling off in the dark.


Compost worms are a smaller size worm. They are bred to quickly eat organic waste and do this real well….so well in fact they are sold in garden centres to eat compost.


I’ve heard people say that fish don’t like compost worms and this might be based on their smell…they release a strong odour when put on a hookbut I think this could actually attract fish. I’ve fished with compost and night crawlers at the same time and never really notice a difference between the catch rate between them.


Compost worms are very lively and very easy to raise yourself. Go buy scrub worms or night crawlers from a fishing tackle store and they’ll cost you dollars but raise your own worms and you can kiss bait costs goodbye.  


Raising scrub and night crawlers can be done but they take a bit of work. Raising compost worms is as easy as falling down!


There’s plenty of info around on breeding compost worms and I’ve made a short video on a real simple way. Once you get them started they breed like crazy and this is an absolute bonus for the angler….all the bait you need, when you need it, at no cost…..it doesn’t get better than that.


Most anglers just stick a worm on their hook and cast it in….and this works….but there’s a heap more stuff you can do to increase your fish catching rate.


Using live, wriggling worms on your hook attracts most fish but they can also be used as berley.

The simplest way is just to keep a regular trickle of worms, one or two at a time, going into the water. This works well on a river where you can let them drift down stream past your bait – old time trout anglers would drift an unweighted worm on their hook down stream and throw in a worm every couple of minutes….and catch a heap of trout.


Worms can be mixed in your berley. I really like adding both the worms and their castings ( the dirt they live in) to my berley mix. You do this and you’re adding a heap of “wormy” smells to your mix…and fish like that!


So you can mix live worms in your berley…but there’s more….dried worms!!


Yep, dried worms!


I first came up with the idea after eating dried tomatoes for the first time…the flavour was intense.


After that I tried it with some worms.


I left my bait in the car in Summer and all the worms died so I threw them in the garden. A day later, after high temperatures, they dried right out. They went flat and dark red…so I put them in my berley for the next day’s fishing and the results were too good to ignore…a truckload of fish – carp, redfin and a good sized cod.


So now if I ever have dead worms I never throw them out. In fact a few Summer’s ago I dried 4 cups of worms. They shrank after drying but they worked real well in my berley….better than live worms!


I’m still experimenting but the results look positive…

So it’s worth considering ways of using dead worms because they seem to do the job.


Another thing you can do with worms is freeze them. When  you throw worms in your fishing spot they often  burrow into the leaf litter and soil…so they’re useless as a fish attractor. If you freeze them they stay where they land…this makes them more useful.


Finally, there are flavoured worms…

…I know this sounds even stranger than dried and frozen but it can also have great results.


Earlier this year I went fishing in the Morning Peninsula in Victoria, and couldn’t buy sand worms anywhere….so I did the next best thing – I made them!!


I took a handful of worms and added some salt and tuna oil to them. It didn’t take long to kill them, but they didn’t shrink and they must have picked up the flavour ….cos the fish really liked them!


I’m sure you can develop a flavour that will make them absolutely irresistible. Try different things to flavour your worms …the options are limitless. It will take a bit of experimentation and you have to work out what makes them too soft to stay on the hook but…the results may just get you hooking a load of fish.

So why not change the humble worm into a fish magnet by adding you own version of flavours and spices….you could be in for a real nice surprise.

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