Fishing is an ever increasingly popular sport and past time, with freshwater anglers spending upwards of $1 Billion USD per year on fishing supplies and resorts in North America alone. Now, the majority of fishermen who have years of experience will tell you that the day’s fishing is what it is all about, getting back to nature and all that, but it is still nice to catch a big one now and then. Learning how to best present live or artificial baits to the fish will increase your chances of catching those big ones for pictures or trophies, and a lot of smaller, better tasting freshwater fish for on the campfire spit at supper.
Before presenting live worms to fish while fishing in freshwater locales, you must first make sure that the worms stay alive, and to keep them wiggling and writhing. With your lively and wiggly worms at hand, you can set up your fishing line in many different ways, and more than one will turn out to be the best way to present live worms when freshwater fishing. It can depend upon the water source as to the best way to present live worms, so you should have four methods of setting up your worms; one for creeks, one for rivers, one for lakes and one for very sunny and hot days.
Worms should always be presented as if they were swimming through the water, either behind a lure, spinner, blade or spoon, or suspended and swimming slowly behind a weight, the current making the worm appear to swim (you can use a bobber using this method). Some worm harnesses have two or three hooks, so that you can thread the worm’s head through the top one, and use the other two to hook the worm at equal distances along it’s body, making a strike more likely when you get some nibbles.
When fishing in lakes, you should use reflective blades or spoons as leaders, placed at least eighteen inches ahead of the worm on the fishing line. Tie the blade setup to the fishing line, then add about eighteen to twenty-four inches of fishing line to the end of the blades or spoons. Then tie a hook on the end of the added line, hook your worm up and start fishing.
Fishing in rivers is the trickier of the freshwater fishing locales, because you can be presented with all sorts of water conditions, from clear to muddy water, and from nearly stagnant to super fast currents. The sunnier the day, the shinier the leader, blade or spoon that you should use ahead of your worm. The reflections attract the fish to the bait, and once spied, the fish attack the worm. Of course, you can always try the simple hook and worm setup, where that is all that you put on your line, but this should only be used where there are lots of fish biting, in clear waters and on cloudy days.
When fishing with worms, it is most important to keep the worms lively, not allowing them to drivel up and die in your worm carrier. Simply using the canisters that the worms are sold in will not keep your worms alive, let alone lively, during a long fishing day. And, lively worms are the very best bait for freshwater fishing. When fishing for fun, say maybe sunfish, crappies or other “junk” fish, you can use the almost dead worms on treble hooks, and something will bite it. However, if you want to catch some good freshwater sport fish, like trout, walleye (pickerel), bass, grayling or other species, you will need your worms to stay healthy and lively for the entire fishing excursion.
In order to keep your worms lively and living all day, if not all weekend long, you should invest in a worm bucket, or a worm carrier. They come with worm food, and can be kept at a cooler temperature with ice inserted in between the outer and inner cores. There are some smaller models that are meant to be carried in a cooler, but you can use an over-the-shoulder, soft cooler for this purpose, and you get the bonus of a few cold ones, and some fresh, cold water to drink as the ice melts.
The best way to present live worms when freshwater fishing may change from locale to locale, and from one weather system to another. However, one thing that you know when fishing with worms in freshwater ecosystems is that you are very likely to catch some very nice sport fish.