The Ultimate Fish Bait? Bloodworms


Everyone has dangled a worm from a hook at one time or another in hopes of catching a fish. Arguably, worms are the best bait for catching the widest variety of fish in both salt and freshwater. No one knows for sure why. Maybe it’s the smell, the reddish color or the wiggle. Regardless of the reason, worms do catch fish.

Most freshwater anglers use earthworms, night crawlers and red-wigglers with great success. But savvy anglers are switching to bloodworms, found on the tidal mud flats of Maine and Canada. Bloodworms are so effective that some call them the “ultimate fish bait.” They have always been the bait of choice for saltwater fishermen who cast bottom rigs on the coast for winter flounder, weakfish, bluefish, perch, porgies and striped bass. Yes, particularly striped bass!


It’s no wonder that someone eventually tried a couple dozen bloodworms in freshwater to see if they would tempt its landlocked striped bass population … and guess what? Bloodworms do catch stripers and just about every other fish that swims.

Anglers who use them brag about catching lots of pan fish, small cats and even the ever leery largemouth bass.

So why, you ask, don’t more people fish with bloodworms? First and foremost, they are only available at a few bait outlets. They are also quite expensive – about $1.00 each when sold by the dozen. Care must be taken when you put them on the hook. They can and will bite your fingers with the pinchers inside their mouth.

They catch fish by bobber and bottom rigs anywhere there are fish. Since it is believed that the smell of the bloodworm lures the fish, only a small piece is needed to catch white perch and small cats. Larger pieces or whole worms are used to fish for stripers, bass and large catfish.

When blood worms can’t be found or are too expensive for your fishing budget, try one of the synthetic bloodworm baits sold by Fishbites and Berkley. The scent emitted as the artificial strip bait dissolves in the water, is said to replicate that of a live bloodworm. It also stays on the hook better and often allows the angler to catch more than one fish per bait.


As mentioned previously, bloodworms are not always easy to find, but they can usually be purchased at the Terrell Bait Shop, Highway 150, Terrell, NC (828 478 2024) and Beach’s General Store, Highway 73, Stanley, NC (704 483 1053).

In closing, they aren’t called bloodworms for nothing. They bleed a lot when cut into pieces and make quite a mess. Have water and towels near the cutting station for cleanup.













Tip from Capt Gus

Bloodworms, saltwater marine animals, die after about five minutes in fresh water, so it is prudent to change baits frequently. On the other hand, why are you fishing in fresh water?



Capt. Gus Gustafson is an outdoor columnist and a full time professional fishing guide. For more information, visit or call 704-617-6812.





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