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Fishing with Live Bait
Fishing with the perfect “Nightcrawler”.
The nightcrawler is deadly, devastating, and irresistible when used properly. For years the crawler has emerged as the number one live bait among the majority of freshwater fishermen in this country, with good reason. It will produce where others fail!
But not just any nightcrawler! By now, we’re sure, you have heard and read about the conditioned crawler, a worm, through a temperature controlled feeding process, becomes thicker and juicier, and livelier than the ordinary store bought worm. Well, its true, this conditioned worm is indeed a much more appealing enticement to fish than its lazy counterpart. On the hook, the conditioned worm nightcrawler is a virtual acrobat, twisting, jumping, and moving about as if possessed. And he will last longer, hours longer, than a regular worm in the water! In this article, we’ll give you instructions as to how you can grow nightcrawlers like this in just a three-day period. It is not a difficult process to learn. You can do it and do it right after you have absorbed all of the facts to be revealed here.
The culling process – You pick the right ones!
The most important step in preparing your nightcrawlers for conditioning is to separate the healthy crawlers from the smaller, weak crawlers. This is called culling. As a rule no matter where you buy your live bait, you are going to get a mixture of good and bad worms. Cull the little ones from the bunch and set aside at least three dozen crawlers for the conditioning process.
The bedding makes the best results.
There are many choices of worm bedding on the market today. Choose one that you feel will work the best in you area, then fill a container about half full. Then pour in just enough water to make the bedding moist. Be careful not to put in too much water. You don’t want it too soggy. Next, soak some newspaper and pack it loosely over the top of the bedding. Make sure you have put some nightcrawlers in the bedding before you lay the newspaper in. The next step is temperature control. Temperature is the key to making these crawlers turn out, as you want them to. If its to warm in the storage area they will die. The proper storage temperature for worms in the conditioning stages is 50-60 degrees. Usually the coolest area in your basement will do the job or a spare refrigerator with the temperature set at 50-60 degrees would be good too. Now wait three days and get ready for a great site. You won’t believe it! The crawlers will literally jump at you. They will squirm like crazy, ready to place on a hook.
The best method for fishing the conditioned crawler is in combination with the bottom rig. But before you cast that worm in the water, first inject two small blasts of air into the crawler. You can purchaseair injectors from almost all tackle stores. What this does is allows the crawler to float 12 to 18 inches off the lake bottom, thus in full view of any fish in the area. Be sure to hook that crawler just once through the tip of the nose, so he will be able to move freely on the hook and appear very natural to the fish. One thing is quite certain; the conditioned nightcrawler will out produce the ordinary store bought crawler every time. Sometimes the results can be spectacular! One other thing to remember is that after the crawlers have been conditioned is they must be kept somewhat cool. Don’t leave them exposed to the sun at any time. Keep them in a shady area of the boat or in the cooler. This recipe for success has been proven over and over again. The conditioned nightcrawler is a deadly fishing bait for almost any freshwater fish.
Live bait makes the jig even deadlier
One of the real advantages in fishing the jig is that you can combine it with live bait and make it twice as deadly as it already is. Fact is, very few fishermen use the jig without live bait
The nightcrawler is probably the most effective and productive of the jig/live bait combinations that can be used. By itself the nightcrawler an awesome fishing bait, perhaps the best of all live baits, so just imagine the tremendous fish catching capabilities when you combine the number 1 artificial bait, the jig, and the number one live bait, the nightcrawler? No other bait known will out produce this one!
This is critical, when you put that nightcrawler on the jig hook, don’t loop him on. Instead, hook him naturally behind the jig. In this position the jig and nightcrawler are much more appealing to fish. The best time of the year for combining the nightcrawler with the jig is the warm weather months of the summer. Particularly July, August and September.
The Minnow is not far behind the nightcrawler where catching fish is concerned, although its effectiveness is more apparent during the spring and mid to late fall months.
There are other live baits that also produce well when combined with the jig, among them are the leech and hellgrammite. The leech in particular can occasionally yield spectacular results. The problem is, in some parts of the country, leeches are tough to get a hold of in local bait and tackle stores. But if you do locate a source for this bait don’t hesitate to use it. Really, at times, the jig combined with a leech can be the most explosive fish catcher you can use!
What you have to understand here is that the jig will catch fish without the aid of live bait, it is that good, but with live bait, your chances for success are infinitely more improved than without.
Worm Fishing Secrets
Before you waste your time reading this article, let me preface it by saying that this article is about worm fishing secrets as it relates to live worms. Not the multi colored pieces of plastic that Bass fishermen find so appealing. I suppose not just Bass fishermen, but also Bass themselves. My point is that this article is going to focus on some worm fishing secrets for fishing with live worms, not plastic worms. Live worms are universally known as "bait" for fishing, yet it seems to me that very few anglers do more than attempting to "thread" a live worm onto a single hook and calling it good. Not only calling it good, but also calling this "worm fishing", which in my opinion is laughable.
The most important worm fishing secret was taught to me by my fishing mentor more than 20 years ago. That secret is this; use gang hooks any time you fish with live worms. You see, gang hooks are two small hooks tied in tandem that enable you to present live worms in a completely natural way. As far as I know, my mentor came up with this idea, but I don't know that for sure. All I know is that he was the first one I saw using gang hooks and live bait to catch fish, and he taught the technique to me. Now I won't even consider going fishing with live worms without using gang hooks to rig them up.
The next worm fishing secret is to have an efficient way to carry your live worms with you on the river or stream. The best way to accomplish this is through the use of a bait bag. A bait bag is simply a small bag that hangs off of your fishing vest and carries live worms while fishing. A bait bag eliminates the need to carry that bulky worm container around with you while fishing. Not only that, but with a bait bag, your live worms are always literally at your fingertips whenever you need to bait up. This is a huge time saver!
These worm fishing secrets will help you catch more fish. How do I know this? Because I've personally been using both tips for more than 20 years and know that they work. As a matter of fact, I guarantee it. Give them both a shot and see what you think. I promise, you won't be disappointed.
Trevor Kugler is co-founder of and an avid angler. He has more than 20 years experience fishing for all types of fish, and 15 years of business and internet experience. He currently raises his three year old daughter in the heart of trout fishing country…..Montana!
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