catching nightcrawler worms

Brown trout caught with worm

Worms can be used for many different species from bass and trout to walleye and are an easy, effective and inexpensive way to get started fishing with live bait.

How to catch bass with worms

Arguably, worms have to be one of the all time favorites for catching bass. There’s hundreds of varieties of earthworms and they are, without a doubt, the most popular fishing bait.


Worms work well for catching largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass and Florida bass. In fact one of the best baits for bass when matched with hook and intended size of catch.


For largemouth bass, worms around 6 or 7 inches work best.


While they work well on their own, consider fixing them to a spinner, spoon or jig for better results.


The best worm for fishing is the every present nightcrawler. They’re easy to catch and readily available.

How to catch nightcrawler worms

  1. wait until dark on a humid summer night
  2. walk lightly and use a low light
  3. the worms move fast while they are partly in the hole, so grab them quickly and firmly with your thumb and index finger

How to keep the worms alive

  • Simply keep them in the fridge, in soil, or damp shredded newspaper
  • Feed them every few weeks by scattering coffee grounds, leaves and grass or cornmeal over the surface of the soil
  • Typically, the healthy worms will disappear to the bottom. Those that remain on the surface should be put back in the garden
  • Keep the soil damp, not wet, or the worms may drown

Tip:  Never save a piece of worm or return unused worms to where you keep them after a day of fishing. One single dead or rotten worm can spoil the whole bunch.

How to fish with worms in streams

When fishing with worms in rivers or streams you should let the worms drift with the current, just slightly off the bottom. Although it’s less common to find bass in streams and rivers, you should still look for structure and cast gently to help preserve the worm.


Letting the strength of the current work for you is another thing to consider when trying to position yourself upstream and trying to keep the worm off the bottom.

  • Use very little, or no weights at all, on your line.

Fishing with worms in lakes

In lakes, worms can be fished many different ways. Depending on what you’re wanting to catch and where you are, you can fish worms on the bottom or underneath a float or bobber.


You can troll them on their own or behind a spinner. Depending on how you have them rigged, you can also pull them over the surface of weed beds or in some cases through the weeds.

Disadvantage of using live bait

The only problem you may find with worms is that they work too well. All fish love worms. It can be a challenge to keep smaller panfish from stealing the worm from the hook by grabbing the worm tail and pulling.


For this reason when fishing for larger bass in shallow weed beds, you might want to try switching to a more durable plastic worm.


If you’re wanting to try fishing with live bait, these are a great bait to start with but don’t be surprised if you end up catching other less welcomed fish like sunfish.