Best Worms for Bait Fishing

  • By: Sam Richards
  • Date: August 18, 2023
  • Time to read: 9 min.

Fishing is fun, but it can be frustrating at the same time. Trying to lure a fresh catch can take forever! To make things easier, baits are must-haves. From jigs to spinners, the options will be endless. However, in this article, our focus will be on live bait, specifically worms.

Using live baits for fishing requires a different approach. It isn’t the most economical since it cannot be used more than once. It can also be more difficult to set up. It is crucial that you choose the right one. So, keep on reading and we’ll talk about some of the options that you have for the best worms for fishing.

Benefits of Using Worm as Fishing Bait

Before we have a rundown of the best worms you can use, below are some of the most compelling reasons why it will make an excellent bait.

  • Abundant Supply: Worms are easy to obtain. Whether in your garden or in the forest, you can have a free supply of worms you can take on your fishing trip.
  • Easy to Raise: If you decide to grow worms in your garden, things don’t have to be complicated. Even if you are a beginner, raising worms is straightforward.
  • Goes a Long Way: A lot of worms are large enough and you can cut them into pieces. Each piece will be equally effective when used as bait.
  • Natural Action Entices Fish: Worms will wiggle once they are in the water. This natural action will make it easier to attract fish.

The Best Choices for Fishing with Live Worms

While there are countless types of fishing worms, below are some of the options that should be on your list.

1. European Nightcrawlers

More than being attractive compost worms, European nightcrawlers will also make excellent bait. It lives in deep woodlands litter or can be found roaming freely in the garden. They share common characteristics with the red wiggler, which is another worm we will be talking about in this article. These worms are very active when they are on the hook, which will make it easier to be seen by fish.

Physical Characteristics

On average, the length of these worms will be three to eight inches. It is larger than most worms, and that is what makes it great for fishing. Because its size, you can expect that it is effortless to hook. It can grow as fat as a pencil and up to 1.5 grams once it matures. The color is bluish to pink-grey.

Raising European Nightcrawlers

Growing European nightcrawlers is fairly easy, as long as you meet four of the most important requirements – food, bedding, moisture, and pH. The most challenging, however, is the temperature. Especially if you are from a place with chilling temperatures, the survival of the worms will be at risk. It is best to grow them indoors when the temperature drops. Also, don’t forget to provide insulation as necessary.


  • Lively worm that easily attracts fish
  • Effortless to raise
  • Fat and juicy


  • Slow reproduction rate
  • Sensitive to cold temperatures

2. African Nightcrawlers

Whether it is for fishing bait or vermicomposting, African nightcrawlers are great. They have a very fast reproduction rate, so you can increase their population in your worm bin without waiting too long. Being prolific worms, anglers will not have a hard time scouting for these fishing worms. However, it isn’t as thick as European and Canadian nightcrawlers, which might make it quite tricky to hook.

Physical Characteristics

With a mix of purple and grey, these worms are known for their unique color. Another distinct feature is the raised clitellum or saddle. When they are mature, the length is anywhere from six to 12 inches. They move quickly when they are on the soil, but once you held them in your hand, these worms are unusually slow.

Raising African Nightcrawlers

One of the most important things to note is that it does not tolerate extremely cold temperatures, so take it indoors when it is chilly or make sure to add any kind of insulation to trap heat in the worm bin. The ideal temperature should be anywhere from 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They thrive best in a warm environment. When raising these worms, you should also remember that they are voracious eaters. They can eat up to 150% of their body weight, so make sure to provide more than enough food.


  • No need for refrigeration
  • Fast reproduction rate
  • Nutrient-rich castings


  • Can be quite difficult to raise
  • Not cold tolerant

3. Canadian Nightcrawlers

The list of the worms for fishing bait is incomplete without mentioning Canadian nightcrawlers, which are closely related to the two other worms earlier mentioned. As the name implies, this worm is from Canada, but it is shipped to North America as well. These earthworms need to be refrigerated, and once they are preserved, they will last a long time. To add, it is an excellent source of protein, which will be difficult for fish to resist. From walleye to bass, among other fish, this is one option you will not regret choosing for bait.

Physical Characteristics

On average, these worms will grow from 3.5 to six inches, and they can reach a diameter similar to a pencil. It is large, but considering that it needs to be refrigerated, it can shrink and be smaller than the other worms on our list.

Raising Canadian Nightcrawlers

From all the worms on our list, this is the most difficult to raise. You need to be patient to succeed with these worms. You will need a container and fill it with gravel and sand. Add potting soil, peat moss, or similar bedding materials. The bedding should be six to eight inches deep. Add the worms and refrigerate until you are ready to go out fishing. If there is any sick or dead worm, take it off immediately. Otherwise, it can affect the healthy worms in the bin.


  • Large and juicy
  • Excellent source of protein


  • Needs to be refrigerated
  • Difficult to raise

4. Red Wigglers

As the name implies, these worms are active wigglers. Their movements when they are in the water will make it easier to attract fish to your bait. They are common composting worms and will be easy to raise in your garden. They can also be accessible even in the wild. These worms are best to use if you are fishing in streams and rivers, especially for walleye, trout, bluegill, and perch, among others.

Physical Characteristics

With an average length of two to five inches, these are smaller compared to the worms earlier mentioned. The color, meanwhile, is reddish brown. The tip of the tail, on the other hand, is yellowish. They have rings or stripes, which can vary in size. Their body has a bulging area, which is called the clitellum.

Raising Red Wigglers

If you hate worms that require too much time and effort to raise, then you will have one good reason to love red wigglers. Aside from their fast reproduction, they are known for not being picky in terms of food and they can also tolerate a wide array of temperatures. Therefore, there is a higher likelihood that they will survive under your watch. One of the most important requirements is proper feeding if you want to raise fatter red wigglers. Some of the best foods to give them include chicken mash, rabbit manure, rice bran, and corn flour. Aside from diet, you also have to make sure of proper circulation and the right moisture.


  • Long life when underwater
  • Easy to raise
  • Wiggles to attract fish


  • Can be quite small
  • Tricky to hook

Tips for Using Worms as Fishing Bait

Now that you know some of the best worms that you can use as bait for your next fishing trip, here are some tips on how you can use them.

  • Use a light line, which will increase the chances that fish will bite the worm. This is especially helpful if you are fishing in cold and clear water.
  • Clean your hands before hooking the worms. Otherwise, scent can transfer, and depending on how it smells, it might scare fish away.
  • Be careful when you are holding the worm. Apply too much force and you might end up crushing it. On the other hand, apply too little pressure and it might end up crawling off.
  • Choose your tackle carefully. The size of the hook will depend on the size of the worm that you will be attaching. In most cases, 3/0 or 5/0 will be enough.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is nightcrawler?

Nightcrawler is a common term used to refer to a type of earthworm often used as bait in fishing. It is popular among fishermen due to its effectiveness in attracting fish.

What is a fisherman?

A fisherman is a person who engages in the activity of fishing, either as a recreational hobby or as a profession. Fishermen use various techniques and equipment to catch fish.

What is a catfish?

Catfish is a type of fish that is known for its prominent whisker-like barbels. It is a popular species among anglers and can be found in both freshwater and saltwater environments.

How do I catch fish?

To catch fish, you need to use appropriate fishing techniques and equipment. It is important to choose the right bait, such as worms, to attract the fish. Patience and knowledge about the targeted fish species’ behavior are also crucial.

What type of worm is best for fishing?

The type of worm that is best for fishing depends on the targeted fish species and the fishing conditions. Nightcrawlers, red worms, and garden worms are popular options. Experiment with different worms to see which works best in your area.

What are the best plastic worms for fishing?

The best plastic worms for fishing can vary depending on the preferences of the fish and the fishing conditions. Some popular options include senko worms, curly tail worms, and finesse worms. Different colors and sizes can also be effective.

How do I rig a plastic worm?

To rig a plastic worm, start by inserting the hook point slightly into the worm’s head, then slide it through the body until the hook is exposed. You can use various rigging techniques, such as Texas rig, Carolina rig, or wacky rig, depending on your fishing style.

What are the different types of fishing worms?

There are various types of fishing worms available, including nightcrawlers, red worms, garden worms, mealworms, and wax worms. Each type has its own characteristics and can attract different types of fish


When it comes to fishing, especially for the prized largemouth and smallmouth bass, the choice of bait can make all the difference. Many fishermen, from seasoned bass anglers to beginners, often ponder the best worms for bass fishing. From the rubber worms and soft plastic worms that make it irresistible for bass to strike, to the natural appeal that worms bring to the end of your line, there’s no doubt that worm baits have taken a prominent spot in the tackle box of every fishing enthusiast.

The best fishing worms are those that, given the right conditions, remain active on the hook, and can lure the bass to hold on longer. This could mean the difference between catching the bigger fish you’ve been after or settling for the smaller fish that populate your fishing spot. And while many believe that rubber and soft plastic worms work wonders in enticing the bass, others might argue that the natural movement of real worms, which often comes from your local bait shop, can make them dance on the surface of the water, making them absolutely irresistible for bass.

It’s worth noting that while larger worms might be the go-to choice for many bass fishermen, smaller worms are equally effective, especially for trout and panfish, due to their smaller size. This size makes them stand out among bass, especially in ice fishing conditions or a wide range of temperatures. So, if you’re ever in a situation where you couldn’t buy the right worm, you’ll have a hard time finding a better bait than hooking a worm, as it’s universally acknowledged that fish love them.

In conclusion, when it comes to the world of bass fishing, worms have become an indispensable asset. Whether you opt for the tried and tested rubber worms, the lively appeal of the soft plastic worms, or the natural allure of live worms from your local bait shop, ensure you have the right worm on hand. It’s what many bass fishermen swear by, and given the enthusiasm of bass anglers globally, it’s evident that worms look promising at almost every fishing location.

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