Saltwater fish differs from freshwater species due to the environment they grow up in. So, baits that are effective for saltwater fish are different from the ones used in freshwater. But can you utilize live worms for angling or fishing in saltwater?
You can use live worms to capture saltwater fish to great success, especially sea worms. Sea trout, flounders, rockfish, surf perch are just some of the species attracted by worms. The constant, natural movement of live bait is highly effective in drawing the attention of your target.
Now, let’s take a deeper dive into saltwater angling with live baits. We will discuss the proper way to use live worms and provide you some tips. We will also detail the many benefits you can gain from this method and some of the problems you may face.
Can You Use Worms for Saltwater Fishing
Saltwater angling is capturing fish that dwells in water with a high salt concentration, typically the sea or ocean. You can take a boat to troll deep into the sea. You can also angle by remaining on the shore. This is referred to as “surf fishing”.
Live bait is an excellent strategy for angling in any type of water. They are cheap, readily available, organic, and appealing to fish. Not all species will take this bite. But a large majority of them will, whether they live in the sea or river.
Sea worms are a particular favorite of the fish. They are big and full of nutrients. They also give off a strong odor in the water which makes them more noticeable. This is why anglers will cut up or make an incision on their body before hooking them.
These crawlers are found naturally in saltwater. So, they are part of the routine diet of many species of predator. This makes them extra effective as bait. Usually, if you use a bait that does not resemble any native life-form of that area, fish will tend to avoid it. Because they are not sure whether it is food or something potentially harmful.
The Benefits of Using Worms
First of all, these crawlers are big and they are mobile. This is true for all live baits. They are consistently moving and twitching around, making them super convenient to spot.
They are full of protein to go with their robust built, which only raises the appeal. They possess an organic and highly intoxicating aroma for fish. Since some varieties of worms are part of the fish diet, your target will not be able to resist their presence.
There certain situations where live baits will outperform artificial ones. In the dark of the night or murky, cloudy water, it is very difficult to spot anything. This is where the strong stench of worms gives you the edge. The natural aroma means they will be spotted even if your target cannot see them.
Another plus point is their availability. They are readily available in so many places naturally. You can even take your regular garden variety of earthworms and cast them as bait. They will still give you results.
Additionally, they are more budget-friendly. They will not cost you as much as most of the plastic counterparts sold on the market. They also do not require much maintenance. So, they are ideal for you if you happen to be operating on a low budget.
This type of bait is probably the ideal choice for novice anglers. They are cost-effective and easy to operate. If you are just starting and you do not know which lure to go for, this can be a quick solution.
Plus, so many fish go after natural and live baits. You do not need to be very specific with them. Sometimes, having too many types of lures will make your judgment cloudy. And constantly changing them can get tiresome. No such problems with worms. You can just hang a fresh worm in the water and wait.
The Drawbacks of Using Worms
Not everything about them is positive. They pose their own set of challenges. Most notably, they can be very messy. Trying to use them will result in you getting very dirty. So, expect your clothes and hands to smell and be covered in dirt.
They require quite a bit of planning and maintenance. You are going to need extra storage to keep leftover baits alive for the next session. And you constantly have to refill your stock to have a steady supply of fresh and live baits. Also, not all shops are going to sell you these types of bait. So, you may have to farm your own.
These crawlers will attract a wide range of aquatic creatures. This is going to be beneficial for your cause a large majority of the time. However, sometimes you may wind up catching the wrong target. In that case, you are better served to go with a specific type of lure. Otherwise, you may end up wasting precious resources.
How to Hook a Worm for Saltwater Fishing
Keep in mind that there are multiple ways you can get this done. Some may be more comfortable for you than others. We are going to explain the one I have found to most effective.
First and foremost, you need an appropriate hook. The traditional J-hook is perfectly serviceable. However, manufacturers design a wide variety of hooks according to different needs. So, we suggest getting a hook that is specifically made for the species you are aiming for. This will increase your success rate.
Tie the hook to your line with a knot of your choice. Remember to double-check to ensure that the hook is securely in place.
Then take a worm and pierce its body with the hook a few times. This will allow the aroma to spread faster. But keep the head and the tail intact.
Now weave the hook through the body a few times till it is decently attached. Then add some extra weight to help the bait sink in the water. Otherwise, it will just float on the surface and greatly diminish your odds of getting a bite. It will also improve your casting distance. For the weight, a simple split-shot lead weight will suffice.
Now, you can add a bobber 3-4 inches above the hook and then make your cast. This is entirely optional. The bobber makes it more convenient to spot a bite underwater.
We like this method because it is simple yet effective. You will find this useful whether you are a novice or a pro. But I repeat, if you are used to a certain style of hooking, then go with that. This activity is mostly about being confident and comfortable in the method you implement.
The size of the worm you use relies on the size of your target. A bigger target requires bigger bait. Additionally, if you are employing a very large worm and targeting smaller fish, it is better to cut it into pieces. This will make the bait more manageable and will save you resources.
Some Tips Worth Remembering
Keep your worms fresh and cool. That is when they are most appealing and also more manageable.
If the current is not working then alter them periodically. The worm may be too big or perhaps it has lost its vigor. In either case, changing the bait will increase your chances.
Furthermore, be careful when you pierce the body. You should look to retain as much of the fluid inside as possible. They are more appetizing to fish that way.
What is the Best Bait for Saltwater Fishing
Though worms attract many species, some are more appealing to certain types. Keeping this in mind, here are the best live baits you can utilize:
Bloodworms are a great choice for surf fishing. They are distinguishable because their transparent complexion gives them a vibrant red color. This vibrant color is what makes them lure in fish a lot easier. They are suitable for sea trout, flounder, bluefish, etc. Just be careful not to be bitten by them.
The next crawler we want to highlight is the clam worm. These are quite popular in tackle shops. They have a reddish-brown skin complexion and are very feisty. Most anglers use them for sea trout, surfperch, rockfish, etc.
Now, if you want to use live baits that are not worms, you have a few options. Clams, crabs, and shrimps are particularly popular among many anglers for catching a large variety of species. Minnows are also an excellent choice. Their availability on the market may be an issue as not many tackle shops will sell them.
Fresh worms are an effective, organic, and budget-friendly alternative to synthetic baits and lures. If you are looking to refashion your setup or looking for a more natural method, then give live worms a shot. In certain scenarios, you will get better results with them.