Outdoor Articles

How To Use Worms As Bait When Fishing

by Pursue The Outdoors on November 30th, 1999 in General Fishing

I realize that many anglers may be thinking that they already know how to use worms as bait when fishing, but my contention is that simply “threading” a live worm onto a hook and calling it fishing bait simply isn’t right. We, as anglers, should respect the fish we are attempting to catch more than this. When live worms are traditionally used as bait, and are “threaded” onto a hook, they end up looking like some sort of worm ball, and this is just wrong on many levels. The most important thing that’s wrong with the “threading” technique is that the bait ends up looking very little like what a live worm looks like in nature, and as I said, ends up looking like a worm ball. And when is the last time you saw a worm ball in nature?

More than 15 years ago, my fishing mentor JRW came up with a solution to this problem, and I haven’t attempted to “thread” a worm onto a hook since. That solution is called a set of gang hooks, and it’s the best way to use a worm as bait when fishing. You see, a set of gang hooks allows a worm to presented in an outstretched and natural manner, the way God intended. Presenting a live worm in a natural manner makes all the difference in the world.

JRW used gang hooks, and was the greatest live worm angler that I’ve ever known. He consistently caught not only numbers of trout, but trophy trout out of rivers and streams that received very heavy fishing pressure. Very few people knew his secrets, but one of those secrets was that he used gang hooks. He knew how important it was to present bait in a natural manner, and thus caught a lot of fish. JRW could never understand how people didn’t use gang hooks to fish with live worms. To him, using gang hooks and presenting bait naturally, just made sense.

This is exactly how to use worms as bait when fishing: Begin be taking the end of your line and tying on a small barrel swivel. Now tie a set of pre-tied gang hooks onto the opposite end of the barrel swivel. Now add a live worm to the gang hooks (if the worms are large, simply pinch then in ½). At this point split shot sinkers are added to your line above the barrel swivel. If you’re fishing in the current of a river or stream, the goal is to have your offering bounce off of the bottom as it flows naturally with the current (bouncing off the bottom as it flows). If you happen to be bobber fishing, just add a bobber to your line, and if you happen to be still fishing, simply add an egg sinker to your line above the barrel swivel. What was just described is exactly the way that JRW rigged live worms as bait.


The bottom line is that using worms as bait isn’t rocket science, but to do it effectively, it is a bit more involved than simply “threading” a worm onto a hook. By using the simple technique of a set of gang hooks, you too can catch more fish. How do I know this? Because I’ve personally been doing exactly what was joust described, to catch fish for more than 15 years.

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