During the summer months
worms are a good bait for taking specimens- the matchman is often pleasantly
surprised by the bonus fish, which a worm produces. When the going gets tough,
worms come into their own. On flooded rivers they often score when more
conventional baits, such as maggots, have failed.
for the catfish....
Lobworms - the long, fat
worms that live in ordinary soil - are among the most effective of all natural
baits. In summer they are excellent for big eels, bream, Tench and barbell. In
autumn and winter they are also great for big perch, roach and chub. They are
especially good for chub in winter in rivers that are high and coloured (flooded)
as many lobworms are then washed from the bank into the water.
Light reddish-brown in colour, a lob's tail is flatter and slightly broader than the rest of its body. These worms vary in length from 5-8cm (2-3in) to the real 'snakes' of 15-18cm (6-7in) but their average size is 13-15cm (5-6in).
You can dig lobs from the
garden, but the best way to collect them is to look for them on a wet lawn at
night. Tread lightly, using a torch with a weak beam; lobworms are highly
sensitive to bright light and vibrations.
Brandlings have a reddish
skin, which is softer than the lobworm's, and average 10-13cm (4-5in) in length
with a series of yellow rings around the body. They are smaller than lobworms.
When hooked, an unpleasant
yellowish body fluid is released but this is only off-putting for the angler,
not the fish.
Tackle shops sell pots of
brandlings but they can be gathered quite easily from manure and compost heaps.
These are deep reds in
colour - similar to brandlings but without the rings. They are the smallest of
the three types of worm, growing up to about 5-8cm (2-3in) long, and are a
favourite with the matchman. A single offering on a small hook, either by itself
or as a cocktail with caster or pinkie, is most attractive bait for bream and
This worm is fond of pig
manure and can be found living alongside the brandling. Be sure to collect
plenty - redworms make an excellent attractor when chopped and added to
Storing the worms
All worms should be stored
in a well-ventilated box, in a cool place (though not a refrigerator). Use an
atomizer to apply a fine spray of water from time to time as worms need to be
kept damp, but not wet.
Check them regularly and remove any dead or damaged worms to prevent contamination. Don't store them for longer than about two weeks.
You can keep lobs in the
soil in which they were found or, better still, in sphagnum moss or grass
cuttings. This cleans and toughens the worm's skin, helping them stay on the
hook better. Lobs can also be kept in damp leafmould or damp newspaper.
Brandlings stay lively
longer if they are kept in the compost or manure in which they were originally
Keep reds either in the
substance in which they were found or in leafmould.
Worm will catch all
species. Big Tench, carp, chub and barbell are partial to a lob. These fish have
big mouths so do not be afraid to use big bait. Hook size depends on bait size.
A bunch of two or three lobs on a size 4 or 6 hook or a single offering on a 6,
8 or 10 is about right. Use a lob tail on a 14 or 16 to tempt roach, perch and
Big bream can often be
taken on a brandling or redworms when other baits have failed, and perch love
these smaller worms. Present doubles on a size 14 or 16 and singles on an 18.
It is the worm's
attractive wiggle and appealing scent that make it effective. Bear this in mind
when hooking it. A common mistake is to try to 'staple' a worm to a hook that is
too small by piercing it several times; this results in a lifeless lump of
insipid looking 'worm meat'. After a couple of casts the bait tears as the hook
pulls out and soon becomes useless. Even if a fish is desperate enough to take
bait in this condition, it is likely that you will miss the bite because the
hook will not be in the correct place.
Whether presenting whole
baits, part baits or cocktails, hook the worm with great care, threading it on
to the hook rather than piercing it.
A lob tail is best
threaded on the hook through the centre of the tail.
attractor when added to
If the bottom of the swim
is soft silt or weed, use the nail scissors to nip off the heads off lobworm
hookbaits to prevent them burying themselves out of sight.
It's often a good idea to
nip the end off a worm after hooking it in any case. This allows its attractive
juices to flow into the water more quickly.
Puffed up and proud
Redworms are very lively when fished with a caster on a small hook. Itís an appealing cocktail for skimmer and slab bream, particularly in winter.