Food For the Fish
Catching fish is not as easy as one might think. If you say that just all you need to do is stick some bait in the hook and wait until the fish bites, you are only half right. There are various kinds of bait which you can use, and all of them are applicable for different kinds of situations. This article discusses some of the different kinds of bait you can use.
Who has not enjoyed a lazy day fishing on a bank of a stream or river bank. Its always a treat when you cast your line and you notice a nudge on the line. You are so close! The moment you descend down a hill and sit by the stream in a bid to enjoy your evening; FISHING. With rod, reel and tackle box in hand, you set out to spend your leisure time casting your pole. Then you lower the rod, and there comes a nudge; YES, the fish liked the bait and has caught the hook.
Bait is indeed, the most important part of fishing. Fish will get attracted to your rod only if the bait is attractive. So, which bait do you think is ideal to catch fish easily; the European night crawlers, leeches, worms or artificial bait? Should the bait be dead or alive? Is real bait better than artificial?
Catching Fish Right
The “right” bait for fishing depends on various factors like the fish you intend to capture, the abundance of certain baits in your area and the local laws which define the kind of bait suitable for the water in your area.
Certain types of bait work better for specific species of fish. For instance: Maggots, grubs and worms are best for the Bluegill, while European night crawlers, insects and leaf worms are best for the Bullhead.
Consider all these factors before you set out for your fishing trip. You could use, live, prepared or artificial bait.
Kind of Bait
Live Bait: As the name suggests, this bait is live. These include crickets, worms, night crawlers, insect larvae and more. You can easily acquire it from fish bait or tackle store. Some people like to acquire it themselves. They set out at night with a flashlight to stock their tackle box with “live bait”. Earthworms, leeches etc are easily available in the mud or in compost bins. It is inexpensive and easily available. Nothing is better than live bait. Fish get attracted to the wriggling, moving bait. When worms are put in water, they wriggle aggressively before they succumb. The only challenge is that that you need to collect the bait just before your fishing trip and also ensure that the bait is alive till it enters the water.
Prepared Bait: Unlike live bait, this bait is prepared in advance. Prepared bait could be kernel corn, bread balls, cereal balls, baked potato pieces, salmon eggs and more. Fish are attracted to bait based on their smell and movement. Prepared bait creates an enticing smell for the fish.
Artificial Bait: These are also known as “lures”; created to lure fish. They are manmade and commonly include plastic worms, spoons, streamers and the like. The only thing you need to take care is that unlike live bait it will not move by itself. You need to keep shaking your fishing rod to create movement to attract fish. The best part about artificial bait is that it can be created depending on the fish you intend to catch. You can use bass lures to catch bass and trout lures to catch trout.
You can choose any of this bait. However, the best way to understand which bait is perfect is to try. Stock your tackle box with different types of bait and see which works best.
The first and most common is when a fish simply sucks the worms into its mouth as it takes in water and expels it through the gills in this case more often than not the fish will be deep hooked in the back of its throat.
Then there is the take when a fish merely picks the worms up in the front of its mouth just with the intention of moving them away from its lye.
In both cases you will feel the fish moving off with the worm and all you need to do is tighten up on it to set the hook,in the case of the second take there will be times when you fail to connect or even play the fish only for it to throw the hook half way through the fight, but that is why it is called fishing not catching !
Finally there is what I call the snatch take not so common in my experience a fish may be watching your worms unbeknown to you but in you action of winding in the line or trying to move your worms you will induce the fish to grab the worms this can come as quite a surprise if you are lucky the fish will hook its self if not you are just left with another fishing moment to talk about
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All I use when the rules of the water permit a float and worming is a pike bung above my normal worming controller setup. The bung must be put on the line upside down with a beed on the top you then need a movable stop knot on your line above the bung. There are then two factors that will control the speed of your worms when fishing the size of the weight in your worm controller and the distance you set the stop knot from the float. Again play around till you get the pace correct for your worm to move in the water. This is a great way to fish for a change and the action of the float taking your worms down the river rather than across will stop your worms snagging on the bottom.
If you wish to discuss anything in this blog please email on phone.
This is fishing the worm with no weights on your line the worm or worms effectively acting as your weight. When using this method casting upstream can be effective as it helps the worms to sink in the water as they move back past you this tactic is good both streamy and deep water. As before control of your worm or worms is essential it is a great way to fish as there is less chance of getting caught up on the bottom. Fish again with the rod held high and if you feel the worm stop just lift the rod top to send it on its way again.
The only way to worm fish effectively is to take control of each cast you make this means you must be in touch with the worms on the end of your line so that if you contact a taking fish it not a surprise and you can feel through the line what is going on. This is why I like the yellow braid so much you have great direct feel to your worms and can see where your line is in the water even in poor light conditions.
How many times have you cast your worms in square to the flow then with line running off your reel believed the worms were working their way down the river only to find the worms stuck in front of you and line was being by the flow of the river?
Clearly a loss of control has lead to happen. Each cast should were possible be made square to the flow of the current I then engage my bait runner on the reel this allows line to be taken off the reel but under tension so that you can still keep that feel to your worms. The worming rod should be held vertically and as high as possible as this will help reduce the chances of your worms becoming stuck, during this critical period of the cast I always hold the running line in my hand so I can feel what is going on.
The important thing then when worming is to get the weight right for the section of the river you are fishing. The worms should move through the water at or just below the pace of the river, your weight must be adjusted till this is achieved. When starting to fish a run or pool do not always cast your worms as far as possible often if not disturbed fish will hold up closer in so it is best to start with a short line and work it further out as you go
Understanding the movement of the water and working out where fish may hold and stop to rest is very important, but you cannot beat reliable local knowledge. If you know the spots where fish are regularly caught this is the first place to try. Generally fish like to be in areas of the river where the water is well oxygenated and they only need a minimum of effort to stay in their lye.
I will always use a medium to long shank worming hook with bait supports cut into the shank these will help hold the worm in place I find a size 1 good as it is easier to thread your worm or worms on to the larger hook the worms will cover the hook in any event. If the worms will not provide enough weight to cast I will use lead shots however for the deeper quicker water I use worm controllers or bait controllers as they are sometimes called.
The best system is to have interchangeable weights of different sizes that are fitted into a plastic tube attached to your line,this enables you to change weight while worming so you get the best set up to control your worm when fishing.
There are four worm types used for salmon worming:
- Lob worms this worm can be found in lawns evidence by the worm cast it makes it is also called a nightcrawler as they will come to the surface on a damp warm night to mate
- Black headed worms these worms can be found in the damp surface soil under mature cow pats however not all soils are suitable to support the worm the ground must be damp.
- The Dendrobaena worm or composting worm as it is more commonly known. This worm comes in a variety of sizes up to 1 Gram being small one and a half gram medium and 2 g plus large.
- Brandling Worm these worms can be found in mature muck heaps they are very soft and can be on the small side
When it comes to worming for salmon my preferred choice is the Iobworm it moves well in the water and from my experience of worming in a coloured river it has a good smell for the fish which I am sure helps when trying to entice a fish to take the worm.
The black head worm is smaller than the lobworm but very durable it is not always possible to get a consistent supply of this type of worm. More recently the large dendrobaena worm has gained in popularity which is also an excellent worm for the sea trout
As different worms will give off different scents to the fish it can be a good idea to change worm types if you are having no luck with the worms you are using. Even try a cocktail of the different worms together.
Tackle rods and reels
In today’s ever changing market there is a wide range of equipment available and worm fishers will have their own favourites to suit the way they fish but for my part I have a selection of three worming rods
- 12 foot 3 piece Greys bait worming rod which has a tip action I find the rod length helps to give you that extra control when worming and casting
- 11 foot 4 piece Greys spinning rod this suits the smaller waters it too has a tip action
- 10 or 11 foot Shimano Bait worming rod a 6 piece rod that can be assembled to the length you need for the conditions the rod has a stiff action throughout and is great in tight situations when you need the raw power to slow or stop a running fish.
I was brought up back in the sixties to use a multiplier which gave great feel when actually fishing but over the years the fixed spool reels have been improved and I now favour the Shimano 5000 GTE Bait Runner. This reel I find far easier to cast and when worm fishing you have the use of a bait runner that when engaged will allow a fish to take line from the reel with little or no resistance. Playing a fish is also more comfortable with an easy to use clutch control on the bottom of the reel.
Given the choice between monofilament or braid line I will always use the braid line because you have a more direct feel to your worms when worming this makes it easier to detect a taking fish. I always use a high visibility yellow coloured braid and attach about 8 ft of monofilament to it before adding suitable weights and my worming hook. The yellow line is more easily seen than most other colours and gives the advantage of visual location of your worms and combined with the direct feel your control is improved. Braid can be made very fine in some cases too fine I use a 30 lb test and it is only equivalent in diameter to a 8lb monofilament line it is very easy to cast and it floats making control of your worms much easier when fishing.
Worm hooks weights and worming float
A long shank worming hook with bait supports is my normal setup