How to Catch Night Crawlers for Fishing

How to Catch Night Crawlers for FishingNight crawlers are natural fishing bait, as fish in all types of aquatic venues see and then gobble up worms flushed into the water from rain. Night crawlers have a reputation for attracting an assortment of species. While you can always purchase these large worms at a tackle shop or other place that sells bait, you can catch night crawlers yourself with little effort. In the process, you will save money and maybe have some fun as well.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Container
Step 1
Walk outside on a rainy or damp evening anytime from early spring until early fall. Watch the temperature, as night crawlers will not be out in large numbers when it is chilly. Temperatures below about 55 degrees F tend to keep night crawlers from coming out. Do not turn on any outside lights when you go out, as this will quickly send the worms back down their holes, as they are photosensitive.
Step 2
Bend down when you get to a grassy portion of your lawn. Walk in a hunched over position and turn on your flashlight. Take small steps, training the light back and forth on the ground in front of you, but only to places you can reach with your hands as you walk crouched over.
Step 3
Stop when you see a night crawler in the light. In many cases, you will see it because its moist body will reflect the light. Bring the beam of the flashlight off to one side quickly, or the night crawler will try to escape down its hole. Bend down, then put the light back on the night crawler when you are ready to try to catch it.
Step 4
Grab the worm using your thumb and your first two fingers, pinning it down so that it cannot escape. Try to determine beforehand which end of the night crawler is closest to the hole and which the "head" end is. Try to grab the worm as close to the hole as you can, as this will allow you to remove it from its hole much easier. If you cannot quickly ascertain which end is which, do not waste time trying; the night crawler will not wait around for you to make up your mind. Simply pick a spot and grab the worm.
Step 5
Gain a better hold on the night crawler, then gently begin to tug it from its hole. In some instances, the night crawler will be all the way out of its hole, making it necessary simply to pick it up from the ground. Most of the time, though, the worm will be trying to retreat into the ground. Apply a steady pressure as you pull it up, or you risk breaking the night crawler in two.
Step 6
Keep pressure on the night crawler until it finally cannot resist you anymore and it relaxes and comes out of the ground. Put it into your container and continue, looking about for more night crawlers.

Tips & Warnings

Hold your container and flashlight in the same hand so your other hand is free to capture the night crawlers. A headlamp allows you to keep both your hands free to catch worms and to hold your container.
You will not come close to catching all the night crawlers you spot. Many will go back down their holes as soon as they detect the light, and others will slip away despite your best efforts to grab them.
Cut your lawn close so that you have a better chance to see night crawlers in the grass.

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