Bait fishing is one of the most common fishing methods and live bait is the most successful way of fishing among all. Nothing attracts the fish like the wiggly worms do such as the nightcrawler.
Parallelly, no baits get stolen like the live worms. The main reason is the worm wasn’t hooked properly. So, how do you hook a nightcrawler properly?
There are several popular methods of attaching the worm with the hook. Some are more realistic than others, but at the same time, are riskier.
Sock baiting, when the worm covers the hook like a sock, is the most convincing way of attaching the bait. But often, the bait gets stolen. The standard method is safer and more likely to get a fish but may take longer to get the first bite.
Besides different hooking methods, there are different casting methods as well, that affect the outcome. Keep in mind, when you fish with live bait such as the nightcrawler, there is no saying which fish you will pull up.
A large variety of fish likes the worm and more likely than not, the first fish that sees the bait will bite. You can’t really choose which fish you bait for.
With that out of the way, here are some of the hooking methods for nightcrawlers –
1. Standard Baiting
In this method, your goal is to attach the worm to the hook as securely as you can while keeping it realistic.
For this –
- Take an ideal-sized nightcrawler. The ideal size will vary depending on the type of fish you are after, as well as the size of fish available in the vicinity. For example, a 6-8-inch worm is best for bass, but for perch, 1-3-inch is ideal.
- Take the hook and pierce it through the worm close to its head. Pierce the worm at about half an inch behind its mouth. Pierce all the way so that the hook comes out on the other side.
- The worm is hooked and connected to the hook but for strength, we will pierce it on 2-3 other spots, with about an inch interval. Watch out though and don’t pierce your finger in the process.
Work your way up to the middle point of the worm. Let the other half dangle freely. This free dangling part is the part that does the wormly wiggly movement to attract fish.
That’s basically it. This is the most standard way of hooking a nightcrawler to a fishing hook. Then again, there is no saying what you’ll catch with a nightcrawler. It is a high-demand item among fish, and just about anything will bite it.
Hooking worms was never the safest bait for fishing. But among other methods, the standard hooking method is the safest method of attaching nightcrawlers to hooks.
2. “Sock” Baiting:
Sock baiting is another baiting method for worms in general. Nightcrawlers are one of the best choices for this method because girth is important for this. Basically, you are wearing the worm on the hook, like wearing a sock. Hence, the name.
To do this –
- Take a Thick worm from your worm pile. Usually, a healthy worm works best. The thicker, the safer. But too thick a worm might intimidate the fish, and the hook might pierce out through too thin a worm and poke your finger. So, a healthy worm.
- Take your hook and pierce the worm right behind its mouth, about half an inch back from the end. Just insert the hook and don’t bring it out on the other side.
- After that, slide the hook through the worm. Push the inserted part backward, covering the hook. Be careful so that the hook stays inside the worm and doesn’t pierce out.
- When nearly the whole hook is covered by the worm, you are done. It should take about a third, or half of the worm to cover the hook completely. Leave the rest of the worm free and let it move on its own.
This method of baiting the hook with worms is slightly different from the standard method. This method is more of a high-risk, high-reward technique. It will get you more bites than the standard method when you are going after fish that are very careful and easily spooked.
Since the metal part of the hook is not visible, it is more convincing for the fish. But at the same time, the dangling part of the worm is less secure than the other method. Fish can easily slurp the loose part without biting the hooked part.
Sometimes, they just bite the loose part and run. As a result, the tip of the hook pierces the worm and breaks it. In short, the sock baiting method gets you exposure to more types of fish but also increases the risk of losing the bait. So, be prepared and keep enough bait supply nearby.
So, those are the two most used baiting methods. Besides knowing how to bait the hook, there are a few useful tips that will help you along the way. Here is a shortlist-
Always use fresh worms. The fresher the worms are, the more responsive and active they will be under the water.
The best way is to dig up your worms at the fishing site if possible. Otherwise, collect your worm beforehand and store them in a jar with plenty of dirt to keep them alive.
The hook size changes based on the type of fish you want to catch. I believe you know that. Similarly, worm size also depends on the fish. While the fish doesn’t get offended by the worm size, they do consider whether it is worth it or not.
Big fish prefer not to spend energy on a piece of food that’s too small. Similarly, small fish do not like to bite prey; they are not confident that they will be able to swallow it whole.
If your worms are too big, you can cut them into pieces and use them that way. Some people like to tie their worms after baiting. The simplest and effective enough knot for this purpose is half hitch. The knot will reinforce the nightcrawler with the hook.
Before grabbing the worm, grab some dirt or sand. Make your hand dirty. This will prevent the worm from slipping and accidentally piercing your finder.
If you feel cringe at the real nightcrawler you can put power bait on your hook.
If you are having a hard time catching fish, and want to wreck your number high quickly, worms, especially nightcrawlers are a great option.
Some people prefer to use green worms for fishing. If you also want to increase your success rate a little further don’t hesitate thinking about whether you should use green worm or not. You know the green color increases the bite rate.
So, It will easily get you back-to-back bites and with enough experience in both baiting and pulling the fish in, you can convert most of the bites into catches.
But again, there is no choice which fish you will get. The same rig might get you a trophy-sized bass, lovely walleye, or it might get you a puny panfish. You can increase your odds by casting at certain spots, but that’s another topic.
Another thing I want to mention is, when fishing with nightcrawlers, make sure to bring an ample amount of it. You will be surprised how fast you will go through your bait. But then aging, baiting properly will reduce the number of losses. Anyway, take care and have a good one.