European nightcrawlers and other species of earthworm certainly produce fish when nothing else can. That is why knowing how to hook a nightcrawler or another worm is so very important. The way you insert your hook will create or kill your bait’s effectiveness. Not all fish species are the same and some will prefer that it is hooked a certain way over others. The way you hook it also has a heavy influence on how well it remains on the hook without falling off. They wiggle more or less aggressively depending on where they are pierced.
Not only that but it also has an effect on how the worm moves in the water which in turn attracts will attract different fish. The reason why we still use worms to catch fish today is because they have caught us fish ever since we were children. Just because you grow up doesn’t mean you have to put live bait away forever. I have used worms forever and probably always will use worms. If this sounds similar to you, we are going to cover the most effective ways to put worms on the hook for maximum effectiveness.
Methods For Panfish
The very first method that we are going to cover is for all species of panfish. Bluegill, perch, crappie, it doesn’t matter. The center hooked method provides a long and slender worm profile with a ton of action on the tail. The action on the tail is really what drives those panfish in to take a bite. Its great for catching fish quickly for bait or for any other reason. It requires use of a very long but very thin-wire hook. I suggest using an Aberdeen hook. It doesn’t have to have the baitholder spikes on it but it does help keep it on the hook a little better.
Poke the head of the worm with the hook and continue feeding the worms body up the shank until it gets to the last quarter of body. Poke the point of the hook out of the side of the worm. Leave the tail dangling. You should be left with a long and slender worm on a hook that has tons of wiggle room for the tail to kick around. This method is effective for catching those panfish such as bluegill, pumpkinseed, redear, longear, crappie, and perch. Try this one first the next time you need some sunfish for bait.
Cover The Hook Point
Another very effective method for tempting panfish is simple and easy to put together. This is great when your bait is dead. All you have to do is rip off a small piece of the worm and cover the hook point with it. It may not be very fancy or interesting looking but it makes catching panfish easy. When they come to bite on the worm, the hooks barb is already in their mouth. It sometimes works for bigger sunfish too. My aunt has caught a huge channel catfish using this method. There was barely any bait on the hook but the fish was her personal best.
Methods For Game Fish
The bulky center on a live nightcrawler is the key to enticing the game fish to bite. Game fish want action on the tail but they also want a big enough profile to make the meal worth their time. Knowing this, the goal is to combine enough bulk with the proper amount of action on the tail. The best way to accomplish this is to use a thin wire hook. I suggest a 2/0. Pierce the head of the worm with the hook like last time. Instead of repeating the process again though, wrap the worm around the shank a few times and pierce it before finishing up.
The end result is a worm that has enough bulk around the center but still has a crazy amount of action on the tail end where it matters most. That drives those game fish wild. It is a great method to catch bass, walleye, pike, and even trout and salmon. The main thing to remember is that you want to fish this the same way you would fish any other live bait rig. Try using a bobber of the right size and put the rig in the right location. If you can put this rig in front of a predator, you should get bit with it.
Methods For Bottom Feeding Fish
Threaded Onto The Hook
This method is primarily used for catfish and other bottom feeding fish like carp. Its great for attracting small and decent sized channel catfish as well as small blues and flathead. It is a decent sized meal so it helps to have a hook that is up to the challenge. I suggest using an octopus hook or a circle hook. The reason is because you will be using five or more worms. Take the worm and pierce it near the head. Then, take the worm and keep wrapping it around to pierce it again. Thread it onto the hook shank.
The ball is using the exact same approach as before. Instead of stopping at one worm, you use four or five worms at the same time. This is how you will attract those bigger channel catfish as well as small blues. It is also possible to catch carp using this method. The ball is a technique you can use when you want to catch a bigger fish. It also has much less problems with panfish constantly picking the worm off of the hook.
There are quite a few ways to hook nightcrawlers and some ways will work better than others. The main thing to realize is that the species of fish you are after will determine the method you should use. These big worms can be used to catch pretty much everything that swims. It is up to you to experiment to see what works better for the species in the area where you fish. Do you agree with our methods? Leave us a comment down below so we can hear what your method for hooking worms is!
David Moore is the CEO and founder of Moore & Co. He has experience in tackle-making, fishing, boating, and wildlife conservation. Now an established name in the industry, David calls Ohio home. You can reach him at www.onestoptackleshop.com.