There are three kinds of earthworm that are of interest to anglers—the lobworm (the largest), the redworm and the brandling—and they can all be kept in stock.
The numbers you keep depend very much on the fishing you intend to do. Nowadays few anglers keep stocks of the smelly brandling. When it is hooked, the smell it gives off stays on the angler’s hands for hours afterwards. Modern anglers (particularly matchmen) prefer the small, lively redworm which, when hooked, wriggles and writhes most enticingly. The lobworm tends to be favoured by specimen hunters and is relatively easy to gather on a dewy, summer’s night.
There are various ways of cultivating a stock of worms. The easiest is to create a wormpatch, and this can be developed in a shady part of the garden where the worms would tend to gather of their own accord. This method is particularly good for the encouragement, nurture and collection of lobworms.
A worm patch is made by simply forking in garden refuse, stable manure, vegetable scraps, lawn mowings and various plant material from the garden. Earth collected from molehills makes a good soil medium for a wormery as does stable or farmyard manure.
The compost heap will be better contained by building a framework of wood or corrugated sheeting. To stock the heap, a supply of brandlings or redworms can be collected or purchased from a dealer.
Hooking the worm
It is important to hook a worm correctly, for this ensures that it stays on the hook and that it will wiggle naturally to attract the fish. A whole worm can be hooked anywhere along its length. If necessary, pierce a long worm several times and feed it along the hook. Tails or pieces of worms should present no problem and stay on the hook. In general do not try to cover the hook, for a worm is a very tempting bait and, if lively, will probably wriggle enough to expose part of the hook anyway.
Apart from using a single hook, there is the twohook rig known as Pennell tackle, and the two or threehook Stewart tackle. These multiplehook rigs are best when the whole of a big lobworm is used.