Using nightcrawlers is one of the best and easiest ways to catch a fish. These worms make an excellent bait choice because they’re rich in protein, do not have any sharp spines or bones, are easy for fish to swallow, and wiggle well enough to attract fish even at low temperatures. If other baits don’t seem to work, try nightcrawlers.
What Are Nightcrawlers?
Nightcrawlers are large earthworms, also known as nightcrawler worms. They get this name from their tendencies of coming out of the ground to eat at night. While gardening or landscaping, especially after a rainfall, you can easily notice these worms. They are about three to eight inches, with some growing as long as fourteen inches. They also have a red-gray color. Nightcrawlers are available in two main types: Canadian and European. These two types only differ in size, with the Canadian nightcrawlers being bigger. However, they both make a great bait choice because you can easily secure them on a hook, and their wriggling attracts fish.
How to Catch Nightcrawlers
Before you set out to catch nightcrawlers, you need to know where and when to look. You can find these worms in the ground after a rainfall because they love damp places. If you want them to come out on their own, look when the temperatures are cool 600F – 700F; they tend to remain underground if the temperatures are extremely hot or cold. Another thing is that you shouldn’t look in high grass. Touching the high grass can cause alarm and push them into hiding.
Here are some of the best techniques to catch nightcrawlers:
- Sprinkle water on your lawn using a sprinkler at night. As the ground becomes damp, it will attract worms to the surface. Then you can turn the sprinkler off and take a flashlight to spot the nightcrawlers. You’ll need to be quick and care to catch them with your hands. But this the method I grew up with and part of the adventure an early morning fishing trip planned for the next day.
- Lay down cardboard or several pieces of flat board on bare, moist dirt. After several days, if you keep the ground moist, you’ll find worms hiding other those boards.
- Use the worm grunting method – Even though this technique requires some patience, it can work. You just need two wooden sticks; push one deeper into the ground and rub the other against it. You’ll create vibrations that nightcrawlers hate, forcing them to run to the surface where you can catch them.
- The electrocution method – For this technique, you need a car battery, two metal rods, and jumper cables. Insert the metal rods into the moist ground and attach them to the car battery using jumper cables. The worms will run to the surface to get away from electricity.
- The detergent method – In a bucket, mix your dish detergent with water. Pour it on an area with bare dirt. Try in several spots, but don’t overdo it. They don’t like suds and thus will come to the surface. Remember to rinse them after catching to allow them to breathe.
These are some of the best ways to catch nightcrawlers. Don’t forget to carry a red light because white light scares them away. If it’s a red headlamp, the better to free both of your hands.
How to Store Nightcrawlers
You’ve caught a few worms, how do you store and keep them alive for your next fishing adventure? Here are tips on how to store nightcrawlers.
- A breathable bait container is the best choice to keep your worms comfortable and alive for longer. The size will depend on the number of worms you want to store, but ideally, don’t overfill your containers. Allow some breathing space.
- Prepare suitable bedding. A mixture of coffee grounds, shredded leaves, and organic garden soil is appropriate. And since nightcrawlers thrive well in damp places, moisten the bedding with water using a spray bottle. Don’t overdo it to prevent your worms from drowning.
- Nightcrawlers don’t like hot temperatures. Therefore, keep the container in a cool place away from the sun.
Tips For Using Night Crawlers as Fishing Bait
Nightcrawlers, also known as earthworms, are one of the most effective and widely used fishing baits for a variety of freshwater fish species. To make the most of using nightcrawlers as bait, consider the following tips:
- Selecting fresh and lively nightcrawlers: Look for plump and active worms at your local bait shop or gather them from moist soil in your garden. Lively worms will attract fish better than sluggish or dead ones.
- Keep them cool and moist: Nightcrawlers need to stay cool and moist to remain active and alive. Store them in a breathable container like a worm box or a cloth bag with damp newspaper or moss. Avoid using airtight containers as the worms need oxygen to survive.
- Thread the worm properly: When hooking the nightcrawler, pass the hook through the thick end and slide it up the shank. Leaving a portion of the worm dangling freely can make it appear more natural in the water and increase its movement.
- Use the right hook size: For smaller worms, use smaller hooks, and for larger worms, use larger hooks. This helps ensure the hook is adequately hidden within the worm and increases the chances of a successful hookset.
- Consider using multiple worms: You can thread two or even three nightcrawlers onto the same hook for larger fish or when targeting species like catfish. This creates a more substantial and enticing bait presentation.
- Fish during low light periods: Nightcrawlers are especially effective during dawn and dusk when many fish species are more active and feeding closer to the shore. They are also great for night fishing.
- Add scent (optional): Nightcrawlers already have a natural scent that attracts fish, but you can enhance their effectiveness by adding commercial fish attractants or scents.
- Fish different depths: Depending on the fish species you are targeting, fish at various depths in the water column. Some fish may be near the surface, while others might be closer to the bottom.
- Use the right tackle: Light to medium-light fishing tackle is generally suitable for fishing with nightcrawlers. The tackle should match the species you are targeting.
- Be patient and observant: Fishing with nightcrawlers requires some patience. Give the fish time to find your bait and be ready for any subtle movements or tugs on the line.
- Practice catch and release: If you’re not keeping the fish for consumption, practice catch and release to help maintain healthy fish populations.
The Most Common Method for Using Nightcrawlers for Bait Fishing?
The most common method is simply tying the fishing hook of your choice, a split shot weight, and a bobber. With this technique, you can suspend your nightcrawler at your desired level and allow it to move freely. This movement is the one that attracts fish. This method is the easiest and doesn’t need any experience. It’s also inexpensive.
Hopefully, this article has given you the information you were looking for about using nightcrawlers for bait fishing. Keep this information in mind, and you’ll be more successful in your next fishing experience.