Mealworms as bait

Mealworms make an excellent bait. The long, straw-coloured grubs, segmented and rather similar to a centipede in appearance, are the larvae of a large beetle found in granaries and flour mills. They can occasionally be purchased at pet stores, where they are sold as food for insectivorous birds and mam-mals. Although they are expensive, they can be stored for a very long period in a ventilated tin of fine bran or oatmeal. If an even temperature is maintained, they will often go through the chrysalis stage, adult insect, and breed, allowing a succes-sion of baits from the one purchase.

The two rigs described for using caterpillar baits are equally succesful when fishing mealworms, although they should be mounted through a middle segment rather than one near the tail end, which is rather delicate and likely to break off during the cast.

Even if there is no acceptance of a mealworm bait on or just below the surface, it should be allowed to sink and lie on the bottom for a short time before being retrieved gently. The larva is not strong enough to withstand constant casting, and its light colouring makes it a distinctive mouthful appreciated by any bottom-feeding fish.