Are you a fishing enthusiast who loves using live fishing worms as bait? Are you tired of the cost and inconvenience of buying live bait? You can easily keep a stock of juicy worms at your fingertips by composting with worms. Your kitchen scraps are going to waste! They would make great food for your fishing worms. As a bonus, you will get plenty of free fertilizer for your garden, lawn, and indoor plants. It’s inexpensive to start, and it takes just a few minutes per week.
Vermicomposting, or composting with worms, is a fairly popular household activity. The worms are kept securely in a composting bin. You can make a basic worm bin from a tote in minutes.
Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm offers three types of worms:
- Red Worms
- Meal Worms (Darkling Beetle larvae), and
- Super Reds (European Night Crawlers)
Are Red Worms for Fishing?
Red worms, or Red Wiggler Mix, are ideal composting worms. They voraciously eat up organic matter. Red worms produce prized humus (poop) that provides essential fertilizer and earth-friendly bacteria to plant bedding. However, they are a bit small for fishing. Also, they do not stay alive very long under water. If your primary motivation is to compost all your kitchen scraps, the Red Worm is the way to go. If you are aiming to catch fish on a regular basis, consider instead the European Night Crawler (below).
Meal Worms for Fishing
Meal worms are a traditional, all-natural bait for fresh water fish such as trout. Experienced fishing enthusiasts have different opinions about meal worms versus artificial bait. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm produces both dried and live meal worms for fishing. They are not especially easy to grow yourself, as this involves caring for beetles and timing your fishing trips just right.
European Night Crawlers for Fishing
Plump and up to six inches long, European Night Crawlers are perfect as fishing bait. They can live underwater for a time. Therefore, they will wriggle temptingly, attracting the fish.
European Night Crawlers will be happiest in a tote-style composting bin, and you can make one yourself.
- Turn a 5-gallon tote upside down and drill a dozen drainage holes in the bottom.
- Drill air holes high up on the sides.
- Place the composter on a tray or inside of an identical tote to catch moisture.
- Add a couple of inches of moistened coconut coir, shredded newspaper (black ink only), decaying leaves, shredded brown corrugated cardboard, pure peat moss (no chemicals), and/or small amounts of untreated wood chips. See “Worm Bedding Basics.”
- Sprinkle small amounts of water and stir. The bedding should have the consistency of a wrung-out sponge
- Empty a bag of European Night Crawlers (Super Reds) from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm on top of the bedding. The worms will find their own way down into the bedding.
- Leave the lid off for a few minutes and shine a light inside the bin. This will encourage the worms to dig deep. Then, put on the lid.
- For more details, see our video, “How to Make Your Own Composter for Worms.”
The worms will feed on kitchen scraps. However, do not give them anything oily, any dairy products, nor any meat. These foods will make the bin rancid and attract vermin. Also, acidic foods such as tomatoes, citrus, and pineapple should be avoided. You can cut the food up small, or run them through a food processor.
Bury the food just below the surface to make it easy to find. European Night Crawlers feed near the top of the bedding. Burying discourages fruit flies.
Your bin can be placed indoors, in a semi-heated area such as a garage, or outdoors. However, if the weather is very hot or very cold, your worms might go dormant or even die. Sometimes they lay eggs that hatch when conditions are better. Learn more about temperature extremes: hot and cold.
A well-maintained worm bin has a slightly earthy odor. If the smell is important, take out anything that is stinking up the bin. Some folks find that banana peels and broccoli make the bin smell. If the bin has a foul odor, read our article “Keeping Your Worm Bin Odor-Free.”
How to Harvest Worms for Fishing
When it’s time to go fishing, the worms are almost ready. If you just need a handful of worms, gently dig around in the bin. You should find worms that you can pick up and put into a small container.
If you have a whole week of fishing planned with all your buddies, you might need a lot of worms. At risk of depleting the worm population, you can harvest the worms. See our instructions for harvesting worms using a screen.
Worm bin populations regulate themselves most of the time. If you are taking care of the worms, they will reproduce. The worms used for fishing should be automatically replenished by the remaining population of worms after a while. If you take too many worms for fishing, however, the worms might not be able to keep up. Just like over-fishing, removing too many worms can hurt the population. In this case, either wait until the population rebounds or order more worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm.
You Are Saving Money
It’s cheaper to dip into your worm bin instead of running to the bait shop. And your own live bait will be the best quality. Your initial bag of worms will quickly pay for itself. You will also have a good supply of finished compost for your garden, lawn, and indoor plants. You can harvest your compost and then dig it into the soil, use it for starts, or make worm tea to spray on your garden and lawn. If you are not a gardener, chances are a family member or neighbor would love free, 100% organic fertilizer.
Uncle Jim has been raising worms on his farm in rural Pennsylvania for 30+ years. We ship anywhere in the continental United States, and our worms are guaranteed to arrive alive or they will be replaced.