Worm fishing has evolved over the years, and its effectiveness now relies on presentation. H.G. “Tap” Tapply, in a Field & Stream column, highlighted the need to enhance the appeal of worms. Here are 12 tips to elevate your worm fishing game.
1) Add a Spinner or Bead: Enhance your worm’s allure by adding a small spinner and beads. This combo, particularly effective in smaller trout streams, entices fish with a curlicue of irresistible motion.
2) Go Small in Cold Water: In colder temperatures, opt for smaller bait. Lethargic fish in cold water are more likely to nibble at the ends of worms and crawlers, making a smaller offering more effective.
3) Best Time of Day: For selective fish like trout, try worm fishing at first light. Morning is prime feeding time, and a weightless nightcrawler slowly descending in the water can be enticing.
4) Best Jigs for Live Worms: Pairing a dark-colored jig with a nightcrawler is effective for smallmouth bass. A whole crawler, marabou dressing, and dropping the rod for a few seconds on a hit can lead to success.
5) Catch Brookies on Red Wigglers: Red wigglers, found in manure or leaf piles, are excellent for brook trout fishing. Their small size and habitat make them irresistible to hungry brookies.
6) Get to the Bottom for Walleyes: When targeting walleyes, ensure your sinker taps the bottom. Distinguishing between bottom and a bite can be tricky, so feel for life at the end of the line before setting the hook.
7) Worm Fishing Under a Bobber for Big Bass: Drift a nightcrawler under a bobber for pond bass. Drift along weed transitions, using minimal weight and a quarter-size float to prevent fish from feeling resistance.
8) Spoon-Feed Trout a Worm: On days when trout are less active, try a spoon with a garden worm. Replace the treble hook, and cast with a stop-and-start action for effective trout fishing.
9) Always Fish Worms in High Water: Turbid water enhances a worm’s appeal. In high water, worms stand out, presenting a dark, solid shape to predatory species like bullheads, brown trout, and walleyes.
10) Pinch an Inch of Nightcrawler: Use a bucktail jig with a 1-inch pinch of nightcrawler for big-water shoals in late summer. This setup covers the hook, deflects weeds, and offers a secure and enticing bait.
11) How to Drift a Worm the Right Way: Drift worms through feeding and holding areas in bigger rivers. Use the right-sized worm for the target species, tick the rocks with just enough weight, and be ready for sharp tugs.
12) No Shame in “Fly Fishing” with Worms: Combine a piece of worm with a wet fly for an effective strategy, especially in quick-water pockets of late-spring brooks. It may not be traditional fly fishing, but it works.
These tips cover a range of scenarios and techniques, offering valuable insights for anglers looking to up their worm fishing game.
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