How to Put (Bait) a Worm on a Hook? And Catch a BIG fish!

How to Put a Worm on a Hook

Worms are one of those fishing baits that are among the first bait choices of many anglers, especially beginners, for both river and lake fishing.

They are easy to use, cheap, and accessible.

Those characteristics are a reason why some anglers like them a lot.

Worms can be used as baits for catching numerous fish species and work well in many cases.

There are different types of worms too, and to choose the best one, you should consider the fish species you are targeting.

Numerous fishing stores offer fishing worms as bait, but you can also try using the ones you find yourself.

So, if you want to know more about these versatile baits and how to put a worm on a hook, read the following chapters:



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Are Worms a Good Fishing Bait?

Worms are one of the most frequently used natural baits, and they work very well.

Some fish species, like catfish, can occasionally eat worms as a natural part of their diet.

Worms may accidentally end up in the water and become a food source.

Worms are great because they can be used alive and whole, or cut into smaller pieces.

When in water, they will move and wiggle, and that movement is very important to attract fish. Unlike movements made by some artificial baits, their movement comes and looks natural, so the fish will be less suspicious and more likely to bite.

A lot of people think worms are baits meant to be used by kids, but that is not true. Their scent is also natural and many fish species are drawn by it.

Some anglers hesitate to use worms because most fish species do not eat worms on a daily basis and they think that fish will not be attracted to them.

If you try to use worms as bait, there is a high chance you will prove them wrong.

A lot of fish species will positively react to live worms, probably because of their movement. However, dead worms are not as good as live ones.

They still have a certain scent that will attract fish but there is no wiggling ...

If you are not a fan of digging trough your back yard in order to find a nice worm, you can visit a local shop and buy them. Their price is quite reasonable.

What Kind of Worms Can you Use for Fishing?

There is a lot of different worm species that can be used for fishing.

One of the most common ones is the Lumbricus Terrestris, also known as common earthworm or nightcrawler.

This worm is widely spread across the world ...

In some areas this specie is not native and it is considered to be a danger for local worm species and the existing eco-system.

You can dig them in your own garden, or any other location, especially during rainy days.

It is frequently active during night. Lumbricus terrestris is excellent for freshwater fishing and it is one of the first choices of many anglers who like the fact that it is easily accessible.

The downside of this worm is that it can not be farmed as it lives in very deep burrowing. It is impossible to farm them in shallow bins.

Another frequently used species are red wigglers and European nightcrawlers.

Both of these red compost worms that can be farmed easily. They live on the surface and do not require big burrows.

European nightcrawlers (Eisenia Hortensis) have one advantage and that is their ability to survive very low, almost freezing, temperatures, and may also be used for some saltwater fishing, but in very limited conditions.

Except for those already mentioned, anglers also use bloodworms, mealworms, leeches, waxworms, butterworms and similar species. Except for efficiency, some anglers choose among worms according to availability in certain locations.

Most of these earthworms work only for freshwater fishing and that is their primary usage.

However, some anglers use them in estuaries where saltwater and freshwater mix, mostly to catch smaller breams. If you wish to use worms for saltwater fishing, you should try using marine worms, such as lugworms, which can be found on sandy beaches in many locations. Bloodworms also work well for saltwater fishing.

What Fish Can you Catch on Worms?

Worms can be used to catch many fish species. Here we are going to list the most common species that can be caught by using previously mentioned worms.


– They are frequently called nightcrawlers, especially in north America, but they are not the same as European nightcrawlers which are scientifically known as Eisenia Hortensis. These worms are mostly used to catch trouts, crappies, bass and walleyes. These worms are quite large and can attract bigger fish. They can also be cut in smaller pieces.


– These are almost the same as the previous when it comes to their size and cutting into pieces, but they live shallower burrows and are considered compost worms. They slightly differ in colour than Lumbricus terrestris. European nightcrawlers are great for carp, trout, bass, sunfish and can be used for walleye too.


– Red wigglers are great for catfish, trout, crappie and panfish. They can be bought in different sizes, but more frequently they are used for catching smaller specimens of the given fish species. They wiggle a lot and can withstand very harsh weather.


– These are mostly used to catch valleyes and bass. Some larger leeches may be used for catfish too. Because they can grow quite big, you may catch larger fish with them.


Roach, bream, perch, striped bass, catfish, and a few more species can be successfully caught when using bloodworms.


– Mealworms are an excellent choice for trout, crappie, bluegill, perch and panfish. They are ideal for smaller fish species because of their small size.


– These are good for catching perch, panfish and crappie. Panfish can be caught on some other worm species too, but according to many anglers, waxworms will work the best.


– These are mostly used for trout and panfish fishing. They look similar to the previously mentioned waxworms but they are much fattier.

What's the Best Way to Fish with Worms?

To use this bait successfully, you must follow some simple rules.


Using them whole, especially if they are large is not always practical and efficient.

But be careful, cutting them in pieces too small for a targeted fish will cause small bites from other smaller fish that will steal your bait. If that happens, use larger pieces.

Some anglers even add chopped worms into their prebaiting mixture for the fish to get used to it.

Keep in mind that worms sink slowly, so consider that characteristic when you decide to use them. Use sharp knives or scissors to make clean cuts. Before cutting, clean the worms from dirt.


Worms are resistant, but you can’t keep them anywhere.

If you wish to keep them alive, they should be away from direct sunlight, heat and dryness. That is especially important if you cut them and keep pieces for later.

If they are exposed to such conditions, they will die fast and wont wiggle when you hook them.


As already mentioned, anglers like to use worms or smaller maggots to attract the fish.

As many fish has never seen a worm, they are going to be interested but careful. If they bite a piece or two before you present your bait, they will be confident enough and eventually end up on your hook.

Maggots may differ in colour, and when buying them consider the water colour. Pick those which are highly visible.


Some anglers, who use worms for bottom fishing, like to use worms or maggots for prebaiting too, but the problem is they sink slow and get swept away by the currents, especially in rivers, before reaching bottom.

In that case you may put them inside small bait droppers. It will ensure that they sink all the way to the bottom, in a desired location.

How to Put a Worm on a Hook - Maggots

What's the Best Way to Put a Worm on a Hook?

For anyone who is first time fishing with worms, “how to put a worm on a hook” is the most important question.

Same as in many other fishing related subjects, do not overcomplicate things, starting from the fishing gear. Worms will not get you the biggest catfish ever caught. Use smaller hooks, thin lines and basic rigs, whether you use bobbers or not.

Beginners often use bobbers, and setting up a rig like that shouldn’t be too complicated. Smaller bobber, positioned a foot or two above to hook, light sinker and a size 4 or 6 hook is more than enough. Hook a smaller piece of a worm, about 1 inch long. Having too long worms will result in small fish biting off parts of the worm. The same goes for a long worm that is impaled numerous times in a spiral way. Use a splitshot to prevent the worm from floating up.

If you use a bit larger hooks, cut off a bit longer part of the worm and thread it onto the hook by piercing it 2 or three times. Leave a small part hanging, but not too long. If positioning it on the bottom, without using floats, attach two medium split shots about 20 inches from the hook.

When it comes to putting a worm on a hook, except the already mentioned way, there are a few more options. If you use very small hooks, you may cut small pieces of worm and string it on a hook (this looks similar to corn stringed onto a hair, but it is directly on a hook).

Another possibility is to impale the worm trough his whole-body length, and this method is often used when fishing with mealworms.

If you like to try completely different method, there are special live bait holders available on the market. They look like a plastic spiral that holds the worm without the need of piercing it. They are available in many colours but they are not so good for smaller fish.

Hooking a worm may seem messy and some people are disgusted by them, but they are actually very easy to hook and very hard to kill by improper hooking. That makes them excellent live baits for inexperienced anglers.

Do Worms Feel Pain When you Put them on a Hook?

There are a lot of opinions about this topic. While anglers claim that worms feel nothing, animal rights activists say the opposite. In reality, there have been just a few reputable scientific studies and experiments about this topic.

Common earthworms are quite simple organisms, when compared to mammals or fish. Their nervous system is simple and basic. They do not have large brains to process every possible signal from their body, and they do not have a complex nerves system to be triggered by outside influences.

Studies are not conclusive, because worms actually do feel something. If you observe a worm cut in two, you will notice that it will instantly curl itself. So apparently, they can sense something, but is it pain or not?

For a long time, a general opinion was that invertebrates do not feel any pain. However, one study showed that worms produce chemicals, similar to those found in mammals, that enable them to feel different body sensations, including pain. Presence of those chemicals suggests that they may feel something bit it is not quite clear how the worm perceives it.

According to those scientists, further research on invertebrate’s nervous system is needed to get a conclusive result.

However, they probably feel much less than a mammal that survives amputation. If the pain was unbearable, they probably wouldn’t be able to regenerate their body parts and continue to live if cut in half.

Does a Worm Die if Cut in Half?

A lot of people think that a common earthworm may survive when cut in two pieces, or even regenerate its body and become 2 new worms. While this statement is not completely true, there are certain situations when the worm, at least a part of it, can survive.

Worms have a front (head) part and a rear (tail) part. Front end can be recognized by the clitellium, a swollen part of the animal.

When cut in two, or more pieces, the tail part will eventually die, although not straight away. The head however, can survive and even grow a new tail, as long as the cut has been done far away from the head, behind the clittelium. The tail part can not grow a head of course.

When you look at their body, they are divided into dozens of segments. If you cut the part of the head, it may even grow that part again but it will lose some abilities.

Also, if the tail part is cut completely, the head part won’t be able to regrow it. There are numerous scenarios and the result depends on a location where you cut it.

The more segments you remove, they are less likely to regenerate.

Regeneration of certain parts depends of a species to. Red wigglers can’t regenerate their sexual organs, while nightcrawlers can.

Anglers cut worms to have a smaller bait, suitable for smaller fish specimens. Because the tail part wont instantly die, it may be used before the head part. It will wiggle and attract fish same as the whole worm.

This rule does not apply to all worm species, and some smaller ones will die soon after they had been cut.

There are certain worm species that can regrow heads and every organ and body part, but those are not used as fishing baits.

How to Put a Worm on a Hook - Good Fishing Bait


When talking about worms as baits, they are truly great and versatile.

In times of modern baits, especially artificial ones, some anglers often overlook these simple but very effective solutions.

Fish you catch by using worms certainly won’t be record-breaking size, but you may catch some decent specimens.

Worms as baits are cheap and simple to use. They do not require any special gear which makes them suitable for various situations. Also, their wiggling ability does not require any special bait-working ability from the angler.

Choose among most popular worm types an you will not go wrong; there is just one thing to keep in mind, and that is to replace the worm after some time, because if it stays on a submerged hook for long, it will loose its scent and slow down the wiggle. You will easily recognize the replacement time because it will start losing colour.

So, next time you go fishing, try to take some worms and enjoy the results!

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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