How to Best Grow Bait Worms

dowbright(z6 in Missouri)April 8, 2012

We are going to be using a lot of bait worms now that we've retired to a lake, and they cost a fortune around here. I wondered if I can raise them myself, not for composting purposes, but for fishing. Any suggestions? Lots of wildlife around, so in ground would be eated if I am really feeding them right and make the habitat good. So hoping one of you has an answer!

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dowbright, congrats on retirement...believe me it's a kick, especially living near a lake. When I was a kid we spent our summer weekends at my grandfathers cabin and my brother, cousin and I fished every day for sunnies, or brim as you probably call them. Our supply of bait (sod worms) was unlimited. Grandfather had a pit dug under a large tree for shade and we filled the pit with leaves and kitchen scraps which included fish parts as well. We would take a potato fork and dig up about about fifty sod worms and head for the fishing dock. Each of the three of us had one of those wire fish stringers and we always came back with three fish to a hook.

Several things I have learned since which will help you collect the bait worms is to lay a layer of leaves on top of the pit, cover the pit with a large black plastic trash bag, top off with a piece of scrap plywood. Just be sure to water the pit well after placing in the kitchen scraps and be sure to cover the scraps with a layer of dirt first. That way you can keep the coons and other criters at bay.

To speed things up add about a 100 sod worms to the pit initially and leave them be for about a month.

If you use Canadian night crawlers for bait I would suggest you deposit the left overs after fishing in a grassy location under a tree. Water the area well and let them loose at night so they can burrow down without drying out too much. I use just the tail section for my trout fishing and save the heads with rings to deposit in an area where I hope to establish them some day. This may take some time, maybe even several years, but after a rain some night you may see these night crawlers prowling your lawn. Use a flash light with some red cellophane attached over the lens with a rubber band to collect the night crawlers at night after a good rain. You can also water the lawn well in the evening to draw them out at dark.

Good fishing dowbright.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 8:38AM
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dowbright(z6 in Missouri)

morgan, it was a delight to read your thoughtful and instructive reply. Already you've taught me a lot. I think I'll try all of the things you suggest. We grew up fishing at my grandpa's country place that had a pond and a creek. Some of the best memories of my life. Yours sounds much the same.

Are you around in any other forums here, or is vermicomposting your main thing? Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 4:32AM
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I haven't tried the garden form here, however I am a member of another on-line garden forum which I have been a member of for several years. They have a three year old vermiculture section which has gone through some changes. It started out with much to do about the commercial tiered systems which were very popular around that time, then it shifted to discussions mainly on the more simple home made systems using peat moss or choir as a media for red wigglers. I have been vermicomposting for nearly five decades and have always used peat moss for my indoor vermicomposting.

I spent some time reviewing old threads in this forum after joining less than a year ago and found it to be quite different from the other forum. Especially in the area of knock-off type systems which were quite unlike anything I had ever heard or seen before. But generally speaking the basic principals of vermicomposting are the same.

I had a different reason for raising red wigglers back when I started and one of the side benefits was taking my kids fishing for sunnies. We used what we called the cork loop method which later on became the method used for lure fishing for white bass and wipers (hybrid-stripper/white cross), which you are probably familiar with. Our four kids made lures for private label similar to the "Road Runner", only significantly better quality materials and workmanship. We called them 'Morgan's Raiders' after General Morgan, the first MI5, or one of the South's best kept secrets.

If your in to this kind of fishing and want to try something new and different dowbright, contact me at and I will fix you up with some lures and teach you how to use them in a way you probably never dreamed of.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 5:18AM
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dowbright: This is one instance where I can suggest purchasing and a huge quantity of worms. If you have just retired and anticipate lots of fishing and visits from friends or youngens then you are going to need a lot of worms. You do not want to have to skimp with fishing worms to preserve enough to multiply. Lots of bedding cardboard, or even purchased peat. Keep very moist. Even search out foods. Maybe even process them a bit by cutting, grinding, freezing, or ageing. You have an immediate use for your worms. The remains are what will start and keep your bin going.

You also might want to try out a couple types of worms to see which fish best in different seasons.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 11:49AM
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