Fishing for bluegill and most panfish frequently, the cost of live bait can add up. So follow these tips and you will have an endless amount of extremely cheap and self replenishing bait.
You could go out and buy a kit that will include a container, bedding and even food; such as a Magic Bait 1000 Worm Farm with Bedding and Food Storage Box. Or you could create your own worm farm out of materials laying around in your garage. The main reasons for raising your own night crawlers is to save money, and enjoy the convenience of always having a steady supply of fishing bait on hand. You can gather worms from your yard and use them as breeding stock, or you can buy them. Either way you choose to obtain your worms, you will enjoy the pride of creating your own colony. Whether you choose red worms, nightcrawlers or any other type of worms for bait, the following process should be similar.
Any plastic or foam container that will accommodate your desired quantity of worms will do the trick. You just need to ensure it has a couple features such as:
A foam container is best because it will shield your worms from drastic temperature fluctuations. You will want to keep them cool, but above freezing at all times. If your worm farm happens to be left in the sunlight or an overly warm area, foam will help them to maintain the desired temperature. If you only have access to a rubbermaid type container that should work fine if you are careful, try to choose a light colored bin to help prevent your nightcrawler bin from soaking up the suns heat if it happens to become exposed.
To create a healthy bedding for your worms, you will need to find some of the following easy to find items:
Once you have all of these items placed in your container add a little bit of water and stir it up well. You don’t want to soak these materials, just be sure they are moist. Make sure you have not added your worms prior to churning up this material! You will need to add some compost to these worms on a regular basis to ensure your nightcrawlers or worms have proper nutrition. About one time per week should be a good regular schedule to add some type of organic material or food scraps to this bin.
As mentioned above, you will need to feed your worms either scraps of food or you can also buy a pre made worm food. Keeping your nightcrawlers growing at a good rate will depend on the nutrition that you give them. Your worms will stay alive with a minimal amount of food, but we want our worms to thrive and grow quickly! If you don’t have enough food scraps to feed them, you can always buy pre-made food for them. There are several options available that are all very reasonably priced and will last you and your worms a long time.
You can dig up worms in your garden, buy them from a bait shop, or even bulk order them online. Probably the most rewarding way to get a large quantity of worms to start your farm is to look in the forest in a shady area under some leaves. You can also go out searching after a warm rain, this will bring the worms and nightcrawlers to the surface for easy harvesting. Keep in mind, the more worms you use to start your farm, the faster you will have a viable population to use as bait. The European nightcrawlers such as the ones on the left are known to be very resistant to extreme temperatures compared to the ones found in you backyard. If you choose to buy worms to populate your farm I would recommend them.
Within a couple weeks your worms will be starting to settle into their new container and begin breeding. Before you know it you will have a thriving batch of your own bait. Raising nightcrawlers for bait is a rich and rewarding experience. These worms will not only make fresh live bait for fishing, but will also help you compost garbage that would otherwise end up in a landfill.