Worms Anyone?

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LaqueRatt

Well-known member
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Cedar Lake, IN
Getting back into fishing after a long absence. No excuse, except life was pretty busy for awhile. Now I'm fishing again with my 7 year old grandson. Started a worm bed because that's what I fished with usually as a kid. I'm wondering though are worms really all that great? Seems like as a young adult had a lot of luck with jigs and have bought a few to play with. Also remember using minnows now and then and bee moths. Thinking when the kid gets his casting down, he's actually doing pretty well, maybe we'll be using jigs more. Anybody use worms besides kids?

Any tips for a rusty fisherman who mostly fishes a shallow clay lake and area ponds? Mainly looking for crappie, bluegills, and cats. Would a fish finder be worth the money? Seems like a decent one is pretty expensive.
 
I seldom mess with crawlers anymore. They are the least maintenance of all live bait, but still a lot of added hassle, remembering to move them in/out of the boat, bringing a cooler and ice to keep them from overheating, etc.

There are a ton of soft plastics out there for panfish that work well. I've also used Gulp crickets and worms and done pretty well with them, they're quite a bit tougher than live bait as well.
 
Down where I am from, live worms work very well for the fish you mention. Panfish love live worms and live crickets. The smaller catfish under 1 pound will take worms very well also. Larger catfish here up to about 20 pounds prefer chicken livers, gizzards and hearts more. Catfish over 20 pounds seem to prefer panfish.
 
I use worms in addition to plastics for panfish. I'll take about 500 with me when I go with my fishing buddies on our annual Minnesota spring trip in a couple weeks. We do use nightcrawlers in Ontario on our annual walleye trip. We hang them on lindy rigs that we bounce with ( I can't take worms with us on that trip becuase of the agricultural restrictions at the border.)

Walmart and other big box retailers that sell worms are selling nasty mush in my opinion. The nearest bait shops to me that have decent worms are in the opposite direction of the lakes that I fish. Thus, a dozen nightcrawlers from those shops cost about $10 when figuring in the cost of the worms and the gas to go get them.

I started raising European nightcrawlers about 18 months ago to cut worm costs. Cost about $60 to get everything up and running and now I have so many worms that I give them away or let them go. I feed some to the chickens, and I use the castings for garden fertilizer.

I feed the worms with vegetable scraps from the kitchen, augmented with shredded newsprint and plain cardboard.

Regarding fish finder for ponds...if I was only fishing ponds, I don't know that I would spend the dollars on a fish finder. You might look into those small "castable" finders that you can't throw out there and view the soundings on your phone. I think they're about $150. On the other hand, you could scour Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist and maybe find a working older unit for cheap.
 
Getting back into fishing after a long absence. No excuse, except life was pretty busy for awhile. Now I'm fishing again with my 7 year old grandson. Started a worm bed because that's what I fished with usually as a kid. I'm wondering though are worms really all that great? Seems like as a young adult had a lot of luck with jigs and have bought a few to play with. Also remember using minnows now and then and bee moths. Thinking when the kid gets his casting down, he's actually doing pretty well, maybe we'll be using jigs more. Anybody use worms besides kids?

Any tips for a rusty fisherman who mostly fishes a shallow clay lake and area ponds? Mainly looking for crappie, bluegills, and cats. Would a fish finder be worth the money? Seems like a decent one is pretty expensive.
Depends on where and what you fish for...in my area we use lots of worms on harnesses trolling for walleyes in the big lake. Nothing wrong with plastics and jigs, I often add a worm to my artificial baits if they dont work well on a particular day. It can be work to get started on a worm bed, but once established, not much maintenence.
Fish finders can get expensive pretty quickly, what do you need it for?? Most use them for finding depth and bottom structure, not needed for finding fish in shallow water as you will spook them before they showup on the fish finder..
 
I live in a lake town, but it's only an 800 acre lake and not very deep. Average depth of less than 10'. We are preparing to dredge it, but that's a whole different topic. There is a fabled deep hole off a point near where my grandparents once lived. Gramps and the old man used to spend a lot of time trying to find it. Not sure if they ever did. Other locals have told me the same thing. A fish finder would enable me to find it and give me an idea what the heck is going on on the bottom of this lake. Also wouldn't a fish finder tell me how fast the boat is going?

Water is pretty murky here. The dredging is supposed to solve that. So what thrives here is pretty much in order: crappie, catfish, bluegill, bullhead, perch, and something called Wipers I think? Some sort of hybrid bass. I've not caught one yet. Maybe they didn't survive after the state stocked the lake. Once in a blue moon somebody pulls out a pike, a bass, or rock bass. We also have more than our share of carp. Perch are small and bony. Carp inedible. So looking to fill my stringer and my belly with crappie, bluegill, and catfish.

Some of my best days have been fishing the creeks and ponds around town and I just got permission to fish a pond that nobody fishes at, but gets stocked regularly. Looking forward to taking my little buddy out there.

Any recommendations on jigs or lures that are good for panfish? I bought some I guess you call them tube jigs? They are sorta yellow orange.
 
As far as tubes for crappie/panfish, Iike the "sparkle squirt" tubes available at Cabela's/Bass Pro. They're either 1.5" or 1.75". Absolutely slayed the crappie up in Minnesota on them last year. They didn't seem to care which color.

I also like 2" squirming grubs with swirl tails. Have had some success with those.

Going out tomorrow after some crappie and will try some drop shotting with my nightcrawlers, as well as tiny fluke swimmers on 1/16th jig heads.
 
Strictly artificial, most fly fishing. The problem with worms is the fish swallow them. There’s no such thing as catch and release. It‘s basically catch and kill. If you want to eat everything that you catch, no problem.
 
In my area minnows work best for crappie, never much sucess with worms on them. Got to get rid if those carp in that lake!! If you can build up a minnow population in your lake, the perch will come back..
 
The crappie around here love worms, especially after rain when the water is a bit cloudy.

Pinch the barbs of all your hooks, and you can release them just fine, as long as you don't wait too long to set the hook.
 
Getting ready to head out to the lake. I'll not pinch the barbs; need some fish in the freezer. Love the crappie fried. Also love me some walleye.

I'm happy to catch and release bass that jump on the line. My fly fishing is all C&R.
 
Thanks for all the tips on artificial baits. I'm pretty clueless. Searching murky memories that are many years old, seems to me I used to use something called pinkies maybe? Later on some sort of rubbery little guys. Color was important. When fish were biting, ran out of the good ones and switched to a diff color and nothing. I'd beat it back to the bait shop for some more of what was working and back to catching fish. I don't recall "tube" baits being around at the time, or the ones with a curly tail.

The only time we really ever released fish was when they were too small to eat. Most of the time the hook was in the lip. If the hook was swallowed we'd cut the lead off. Interesting idea removing the barbs, but seems that would mean you'd miss fish maybe.

Carp have always been the bane of this lake. No idea why. Shore fishing if you hooked into something big, you'd pray it didn't start moving side to side which was a clue you had another damned carp and not a cat. Carps we'd just leave on the shore for the coons and cats to get.

Back in the 60s when I was just a little guy we had a fish kill. The idea was to get rid of carp and gars. Man, I'm telling you, you guys have never seen so many fish. The entire surface of the lake was covered. Killed the good and the bad. People from a certain nearby community came out in droves to grab carp, some as long as 6' to take home to eat.

After this wasted summer of death and stink, the lake was restocked with good fish. Soon we were back where we started. Carp up the wazoo. Seems those fish are hard to kill and we didn't get them all.

Now we're about to do it again. After dredging. This dredging though seems like a lot of money spent for nothing. We have 40' of silt on the bottom and sounds like they'll at best suck up a couple feet of it. I don't see that doing much good, but maybe I'm wrong. I really really don't want another fish kill, but after talking to a town board member it sounds like that may not happen. I'm not so sure we can ever do anything about those carp. We even have an annual bow fishing contest and over a weekend tons of them are removed. Yet it never seems to really help.
 
The crappie around here love worms, especially after rain when the water is a bit cloudy.

Pinch the barbs of all your hooks, and you can release them just fine, as long as you don't wait too long to set the hook.
We pinch the barbs on our hooks when we fish in my pond, helps the fish when we return them. Just need to keep the line tight when bringing them in...actually it improves your fishing skills !!
 
Is there a creek, stream or river that feeds into your lake ? That might be where they are comming from!! Some communities build screen gates across feeder creeks to prevent unwanted species from invading there lakes and ponds.
 
Are these "sparkle squirt" tubes universal crappie killers or do you have to match the color to your lake, your conditions? Since they're being recommended I'm going to pick up a few. Any others I should grab?
 
Here in the Northeast there are a lot of bodies of water that are artificial only, so I decided a long time ago to hone my methods to only fish that way. The only thing I ever use them for now is if we go horn pout fishing or if I take a child fishing on my boat. Then I'll buy a tub of worms for sure.
 
I don’t allow worms in my boat and it really annoys my father in law. We mostly catch and release, keep an occasional fish that doesn’t look like it will make it. Live bait increases the mortality rate since fish tend to inhale it.

Hey, if you are just putting meat in freezer there’s nothing wrong with that either.
 
I began raising worms 18 months ago because of a number of factors. It was more of a science project, and I'm very close to deciding to getting rid of the worms. I'm finding it isn't worth the work for me. The worms are European Nightcrawlers, a variety which are much smaller than the large Canadian Nightcrawlers, but bigger than red wigglers. Even though they're very lively in the water and very durable, I just don't catch much on them.

I have much better success with artificial baits. The only situation in which I've had great success with nightcrawlers is when I'm bottom-bouncing for walleye; that's normally up in Ontario, and I can't carry worms across the border without a lot of hassle.
 

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