wormhunting 102

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Jason E.
Jason E.'s picture
wormhunting 102
<p>I know that a lot of folks on this site simply purchase bait and won&#39;t find this diatribe interesting.&nbsp; A few might, however, so forgive me if this post bores you to tears.</p> <p>Over the years, I&#39;ve approached bait gathering with a similar philosophy to fishing.&nbsp; Instead of simply trying to &quot;max out&quot; my conquest/harvest of living creatures, I&#39;ve tried to learn about them on their own terms.&nbsp; With worms, this has taken on some interesting twists over the years.&nbsp; For the past couple of fishing seasons, I have managed to acquire almost all of my bait from nature (no store purchases).&nbsp; A few exceptions include waxworms in the winter and lobster meat from my buddy who works at Red Lobster (I&#39;m hoping to try some lobster at the roundup this spring, by the way).&nbsp; By harvesing bait (minnows, worms, etc.) in this way, I have begun to learn about how some of these creatures live. &nbsp;</p> <p>Every spring, I have faced a dilemma.&nbsp; The ground is frozen hard but the water is open and I need bait!&nbsp; Even if I did want to buy it, a lot of stores don&#39;t carry it until &quot;opener.&quot;&nbsp; I&#39;ve learned a few valuable lessons the past few years, and this year was a real eye opener, esp. with the fast warmup.&nbsp; I tried to dig up worms at my in-laws&#39; farm (usually a reliable source) but the ground was still frozen.&nbsp; This brings me to lesson #1:</p> <p>1. I dug in a spot of ground where there had been standing water all spring.&nbsp; As the snow melted and the water seeped into the ground, it got rid of the frost and the worms came up.&nbsp; So, locations that pond up in spring can be good options early in the season.&nbsp; I had to dig deep (2 ft.), however.</p> <p>I then tried to find worms near my house, in St. Cloud, since the ones from the farm were small and too few in number.&nbsp; I looked around one night, but found nothing.&nbsp; Until, I looked at a spot of ground located near some concrete.&nbsp; Apparently, where there is pavement or a building, it soaks up the sunlight and warms the ground sooner.&nbsp; The worms like this!&nbsp; I found zero worms on the &quot;regular ground&quot; but a bumper crop was all over the dirt near the concrete.&nbsp; I went out and snapped a picture the next day.&nbsp; As you can see, there is even still snow on the ground, but the worms were nonetheless there the night before.&nbsp; So, lesson #2 is:</p> <p>2. Worms come up first in the spring near ground that is warmest.&nbsp; Look near structures or pavements that soak up sun.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://www.siteground285.com/~roughfis/sites/default/files/SUNP0055_0.JPG" style="width: 600px; height: 480px;" /></p>
Gunnar
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I found the same thing last

I found the same thing last spring re: areas that are temporary ponds being the best spots to find worms when most of the usual spots are deserted. Hoping to get out this week to get a good first batch of 'em.

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2020: 10 days fishing 11 species 0 lifers. 2019: 34/45/13 2018: 39/40/5

Reekfish
Reekfish's picture
Wormz, etc.

I've always enjoyed looking for surprises under rocks, logs, bark, cardboard, and loose railroad ties. I've found a good deal of worms that way along with the occasional (non-bait) mouse, spotted salamander, lizard or toad. Also, I find tons of ants and ant eggs. I've often wondered if ant eggs would make good bait- has anyone ever tried? Maybe for micros?

The cost of bait can really add up so I like the idea of foraging. Wormhunter, thanks for the tips! What do you generally store your worms in (i.e. a soil mixture, papery product, etc.)? Also, do you keep minnows for any length of time (maybe in an aquarium?) or do you usually only gather enough for one fishing trip?

Gunnar
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I think castandblast

I think castandblast mentioned ant eggs many times when he was living in the Golden Triangle.

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2020: 10 days fishing 11 species 0 lifers. 2019: 34/45/13 2018: 39/40/5

Outdoors4life
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Reekfish.....

Yup ant eggs are great but hard to hook if you find the small red ants. A couple years ago I dug up parts of my yard and collected many eggs. Only problem I had was not getting bit by the ants protecting but then again I was collecting a large amount and had thousands of ants on the ground around me and a dozen bites were worth the amount collected. They don't stay on teh hook well for multiple fish like a sliver af crawler but they work well.

It is all perspective!

Acer Home Inspections

Reekfish
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Interesting

I'll give it a go sometime. For a larger bait, maybe they could be tied up similar to fish eggs...?

Jason E.
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In terms of keeping worms

In terms of keeping worms alive for a long time, it is always important to refrigerate them.  If you live with other squeemish people, that can sometimes involve strategic and sneaky behavior.  Old butter or margarine containers often go undetected (as long as your soily fingerprints aren't all over the lid).  Buying a small fridge or cooler unit that is dedicated for bait is another option.  I just use one of the lower drawers in my fridge at home, and my wife accepts that arrangement.

Coffee grounds and newspaper, along with some dirt, can really help keep the crawlers lively.  Something about the caffeine in the grounds, perhaps?  I don't know, but I've found that particular combination to be the best.  Of course, some soil and old leaves also work, just not quite as well, for some reason. I had some worms live for months in my fridge, as long as they were mixed with the coffee grounds.

I've never tried ant eggs before.  Interesting idea.  I am planning on trying some lobster meat this year (my friend works at Red Lobster and got some of their discards, which I froze for later).  I thought about freezing up some grasshoppers and trying those too.

In terms of minnows, I use dead ones more often than live.  Freezing works well, but keep an eye on the new fishing regs about transporting water and such. 

Heidi
Heidi's picture
leftover lobster...

I know from lots of firsthand (literally) experience that freshwater fishies around the Cities   L O V E    lobster (cooked - didn't try it raw or frozen) ...I used it very successfully for bait several times, feeding fish by hand however - no rod, reel, hooks or lines - and nearly got my hand taken off along with the lobster I was offering. It's definitely worth a try! (both hand-feeding lobster to fishies like feeding cookies to squirrels in the park, or using leftover lobster the "normal" way as fishbait). 

"Can you pull the leviathan in with a fishook?" Job 41: 1

 

Eric Kol
Eric Kol's picture
Great insight. I'll have to

Great insight. I'll have to try the warm areas around courts and the like. 

Carpy Diem!