Lobworms – the long, fat worms that live in ordinary soil – are among the most effective of all natural baits. In summer they are excellent for big eels, bream, tench and barbel. In autumn and winter they are also great for big perch, roach and chub. They are especially good for chub in winter in rivers that are high and coloured -flooded, even — as many lobworms are then washed from the bank into the water.
They are a very versatile bait. On the hook, you can use them whole – either singly or in multiples – or you can use a piece of one worm. A lob-tail, for example, can be deadly for big roach.
You can also chop up lobworms with scissors and feed a swim with them, either neat or mixed in groundbait. This works particularly well on still waters and slow rivers for perch, bream, tench and eels.
Gather them in
One way to obtain lobworms is simply to dig for them with a fork in the flowerbed in your garden. In winter, and when the ground is very dry in summer, be prepared for them to be deep down in the ground.
Look after them
You can keep lobworms in damp earth for a couple of days, but no longer. If you put them in damp sphagnum moss, or damp shredded newspaper, they last for a week or more if stored in a cool place. Check them daily and remove any dead worms – left in, they poison the rest.
Whole lobworms are best fished on a size 6 hook, hooked once through the head or as shown in diagrams 1 and 2. If you hook them through the middle they tend to tie themselves in knots. Small pieces of worm are best fished threaded on the hook. However you hook lobworms, make sure the hookpoint is clear of the bait.
In summer and autumn on warm, damp nights you can collect lobworms from lawns and other grassed areas. They surface after dark to breed. Football and cricket pitches and the like are ideal sites. If it’s drizzling, so much the better.
Take a torch with a weak beam and tread very softly. The worms tend to lie half in, half out of their holes, and any bright light or heavy footfall sends them shooting back down underground.
Don’t just grab the worm and pull – it pulls back and breaks in two. Take a firm but gentle hold of the worm as close to the hole as you can, then wait until you feel its contractions weakening before drawing it carefully out of the ground.