Hooking Worms….

A bit of an instructional/guidance – or at least a ‘How I Do it’ – piece regarding hooking worms..

There are many methods used by anglers in attaching worms on their hooks … and just a few are…

  • Hooking just once through the ‘saddle’ (the ‘collar’ that lies about 25% of the way from the head towards the tail). This leaves the worm free from most restraint to its natural movement but leaves a lot of worm for the fish to grab without being anywhere near the hook resulting at times in missed bites…
  • An alternative method is to hook through the saddle as above but then pinch off the head end and re-attach the head, at the broken end, onto the hook – so that there are two sections of broken worm with their open ends together on the bend of the hook… the idea being that although there is still a lot of worm on offer to the fish, by preference, due to the attraction of the juices leaking from the open ends, the fish will be more likely to grab the bait in that area ie where the hook is…
  • Hooking at the head or tail end…
  • Hooking multiple times in/out or threading the worm around the bend of the hook…but this leads to the worm balling on the bend of the hook and shielding the point…
  • Depending on worm type/size, target species and hook size (eg large lobworm or small dendrobaena/red/brandling/tiger worms) then whole worms, just parts of a single worm or several worms may be used…
  • If using barbless hooks then any hooking method will need some manner of retaining the worm on the hook – and usually this is done by placing a small piece of rubber/elastic band on the hook after hooking the worm thus preventing the worm’s escape. Or alternatively an artificial maggot or caster can be employed for the same result.

However, my preferred method, used mainly for use with dendrobaena worm when tench/bream/perch type fishing, varies and I am completely happy with it… upping it to use with larger worms should not require much alteration though…

OK … in general, for all my fishing, I use hooklengths of 4”-6” that have a loop that is used to connect via a link attached to the mainline so that they can be detached/attached quickly and easily for adding baits via the use of a baiting needle. They are made that length so that when I fish laying-on style the shotting can all sit on the main line abutting the link leaving the hooklink clear of any encumberence to prevent the threading of baits and giving the perfect 4”-6” hook-to-shot length that I desire.

However, when worm fishing I do add a further item to the hook length – a small rubber float stop. If I do desire to change bait type later it’s just a matter of a second or so to remove it – and a second or so to re-attach when needed  again…

So… hooking the worm…

  • Pull the float stop down the link to the eye/spade of the hook…
  • Push a barbed baiting needle down a small section of the worm near the tail…
  • Attach the hook length’s loop to the needle and pull loop up through and out at tail end…
  • Hook worm normally by passing point of the hook through the worm by entry at the tail side of the saddle and exiting at the head side of it…
  • Now gently tease the float stop up the link so that the worm is slightly stretched out with the head on the bend of the hook. Care! It’s very easy to break the worm it you pull too tight”
  • Attach hooklength to main line with loop and link…

I find this way the most effective for me… the worm is completely free to wriggle naturally due to the flexibility of the line and the work is prevented from balling on the hook and shielding the point… OK the worm may work itself into a ball but as soon as any tension is applied to the line the worm is automatically straightened out due to the anchoring of the tail by the float stop – without the stop water pressure would tend to push the worm down onto the hook creating a ball… and no foreign body is needed to prevent the worm escaping from barbless hooks. My club’s rules allow only barbless hooks and that was why I originally wanted to resolve the keeping of the worm on the hook without foreign bodies plus to also try to improve the presentation and hooking effectiveness and so, to me, this is ‘Mission Complete’… 🙂

As an aside, I do prefer to hook my worms head downwards (ie head on the hook bend and tail up the line) as I think fish would naturally pick them up that way as it would be easier to swallow the worm that way – worms having ‘setae’ which are bristly hairs at the tail which angle backwards along the body and are used by the worm for propulsion forwards when underground – thus when a worm is taken head first it travels into the mouth with these setae ‘in grain’ ie they fold down and passage down the throat is unimpeded, whereas when taken tail first the setae would be set against that grain and open outwards and thus providing an impediment to smooth passage. Maybe that’s all in my head but I do what I do and found no problem with it, so works for me! 🙂

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