The humble worm, possibly one of the finest fishing baits of all, there can hardly be any species of coarse fish that won’t take a worm of some description. There are four main types of worm used for fishing, the redworm, brandling, dendrobaena and lobworm. There is also bloodworm and joker, while these are worm like in appearance they are larvae rather than true worms, but as most people refer to them as ‘worm’ they will be covered in this article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Redworm. 

The redworm is the small ruby red worm that is usually found in compost heaps and sometimes under old logs and other rotting matter, they are very good bait for a lot of species but seem to excel when being used on the feeder for Bream and Tench, particularly when the hook is tipped with a caster or two, Perch love them too. They are easy to collect from compost heaps, just turn the top over and you start to find them, put them in a bait box with a little of the matter they was in when you found them and put the lid on properly, they are very good at escaping!. They keep for quite a time as well, just keep them cool and out of direct sunlight, heat kills them quicker than anything, make sure the matter they are in does not dry out.

Redworm are usually just used as hook bait and they are best fished as singles, just nick the hook through one end, a size 14 to 18 is generally most suitable depending what fish you are targeting. 

 

The Dendrobaena. 

The dendrobaena is possibly the most commonly used worm due to its easy availability, you can buy them in most tackle shops and in different sizes too, you can even get them mail order. They are used just the same as brandlings although I think they are a far better worm to use. I have had some really good catches of match size carp with a broken dendrobaena tipped with two red maggots on a crumb feeder rig, due to their availability they are the best choice for chopped worm fishing for making the chop itself, they are usually quite a good size so when using them on the hook you can use between a size 8 and 14. They keep for quite a time as well, just keep them cool and out of direct sunlight, heat kills them quicker than anything, make sure the matter they are in does not dry out. 

The Brandling. 

The brandling is a little bigger than the redworm and is usually found in manure heaps, they are a tougher bait and are easy to tell apart from the redworm as they usually have a band or ‘saddle around them that is often a yellowy colour, they can be used for hook bait, either whole or broken in two and hooking on both halves of the worm near to the broken end, use a good size hook, something between a size 10 and 16 is usually about right. They can also be used for chopping when fishing the chopped worm method. They keep for quite a time as well, just keep them cool and out of direct sunlight, heat kills them quicker than anything, make sure the matter they are in does not dry out.  

 

The Lobworm. 

The lobworm is the biggest of the worms commonly used by anglers; they are good bait for the larger species of fish such as Carp, Tench, Bream, Barbel, Pike, Perch and Eels, Catfish anglers sometimes use them in bunches too. Generally fished in singles because of their size lobworm's will definitely pick out the bigger fish and because of the size of them you can use a big hook, something between a size 2 and a size 10 is usually ok, just hook the lobworm straight onto the hook near the tip of the worm, don’t worry about there being loads of bait without a hook in it, the fish usually take the whole thing and give a solid bite, a super bait on flooded rivers when you can hardly buy a bite, a lobworm will often save the day. You can buy lobworm's but most anglers collect their own, all you need is a torch, a dark night and somewhere to go with shortish grass, lawns and playing fields are ideal, its usually better after rain and most difficult after a dry spell, all you have to do is walk slowly along and shine the torch at the ground, the lobs come out at night and you usually find them just moving through the grass all you have to do is pick them up and put them in a suitable container that has some damp grass in or strips of damp newspaper is also good. A method for lobs sometimes used by specialist anglers is to inject some air into them to make them more buoyant to sit on top of weed etc, often referred to as ‘junkie lobs’ they can be a killer method in the right circumstances, be very careful when using needles and syringes though, unless you are completely happy about using needles leave it to somebody who is and just fish them the way they come. Lobs can also be used for making ‘chop’ when chopped worm fishing. They keep for quite a time as well, just keep them cool and out of direct sunlight, heat kills them quicker than anything, make sure the matter they are in does not dry out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chopped worm fishing has become extremely popular over recent years and no wonder, it really is a very successful method, you can either fish it as a method in its own right for Perch, Carp and occasionally Tench or use it to add to ground bait for just about any species of fish. All you have to do is take the required amount of worms, either dendrobaena or lobworm and put them in a suitable container such as a bait box and then simply ‘chop’ them up with scissors, you are aiming to get the worms into fairly small pieces with lots of juice, this is then fed into the swim either by hand or more commonly with a pole cup attachment on the end of your pole, the pole is the most common method for fishing the chop, hook bait is usually a small piece of worm or occasionally a red maggot or pinkie.

 

Bloodworm and joker.

Bloodworm are generally only used by match anglers, they are baits that can make fish feed when all else fails such is their fish catching potential, in fact their use is banned on a surprisingly large number of venues. The baits themselves are not actually worms at all, they are midge larvae. They are usually about 20-25 mm in length, bright red in colour and are usually used solely as hook bait. They come supplied in peat and are sold in small quantities known as hooker packs and these packs usually contain ample worm for a match. The bloodworm is harvested from the silt in the bottom of ponds and lakes by a process known as scraping, this is with a tool that looks like a blunt knife turned on edge (flat) and fixed to a long pole, the scraper is then pushed through the silt and when the tool is removed from the water the worm is found draped over the edge of the blade. Joker is also insect larvae but is much smaller than bloodworm and is the basis of the feed that you fish with bloodworm, joker is usually supplied neat or occasionally in a little damp leam which is a fine powdered form of clay. The commonest way to buy it is in a match pack, this is a pack of joker and a hooker pack of bloodworm usually sufficient for a normal 5 hour match.

There are really only two main ways to use bloodworm and joker, the actual fishing the bloodworm on the hook is similar or the same with both, usually on fine, light pole tackle, the big difference is in the way that the joker is fed into the swim. One way is often termed as ‘balling it in’ with this method the joker is separated by the addition of a little dry leam, just sprinkle it over the joker in a shallow tray so the joker is not too deep and the dry leam gets a chance to work right through it, once the joker is nicely separated you add it to a ground bait mix, usually something that will form good firm balls, the specialist continental ground baits are probably best for this, and then you throw it into the swim at your chosen point, this method works great if you are expecting a lot of fish from the peg or if the fish run a little bigger, one point to remember with this method is to not make up more mixture than you intend to feed at any one time, this is because the ground bait, or rather the additives in it, will often kill the joker The second method is designed mainly for harder venues where scratching for bites may be the order of the day, the joker is separated as before but with grey leam, another form of clay that is stickier and when damp can be made into small balls, the neat joker and grey leam is then fed directly into the swim either by hand or more usually with a pole cup. The joker often has enough moisture in it to enable you to make these balls but if it’s a little dry you can dampen it a bit by spraying it with water from an atomiser, an essential piece of kit to have if you are considering fishing with blood worm and joker. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Chris Nicholls.

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Redworm

Dendrobaena

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Brandlings

Lobworms

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They are usually about 20-25 mm in length, bright red in colour and are usually used solely as hook bait. They come supplied in peat and are sold in small quantities known as hooker packs

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Bloodworm