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Most people started out fishing using a simple rod and reel with a worm on the end of the hook with good reason: worms do catch fish. For everything from small sunfish and crappies to catfish, perch, walleye and bass, worms make excellent live bait. There are several different presentation techniques that can be used for live worms, depending on the size of fish being targeted.
Bait hooks are specifically designed to hold live bait in place on the hook. The back of the hook shank has two or three barbs that face away from the point of the hook. When a live worm is pushed up above these barbs, they hold the worm in place on the shank.
For fish with small mouths that require tiny hooks, such as bluegills or crappies, simply cut small pieces of worm using a pair of scissors. Then, thread either single or multiple pieces onto the hook.
Several Small Worms on One Hook
If you're fishing with small worms, you can place multiple worms onto the same hook. Hook each worm through the center of its body, pushing the worm up the shank of the hook. Continue to add worms until the hook is sufficiently loaded.
Threading a Worm
For somewhat larger worms, try threading the entire worm onto the hook. Position the pointer the hook at the tip of the worm's head. Push the hook down through the head and continue to thread the worm onto the hook a little bit at a time, until the hook is completely concealed within the worm.
Larger worms, such as nightcrawlers, can be used with a single hook. Thread the point of the hook into the tip of the worm's head, then back out the side of the worm. Slip another section onto the hook, near the collar of the worm. Then, slip another lower section onto the hook again. Ensure that the head and collar are pushed up along the shank of the bait hook. Leave the tail dangling for more action.
Gang Hook Rig
To offer a more natural presentation to game fish when using live worms, try a gang hook rig. This simple rig consists of a terminal hook at the end of a leader and another hook tied a few inches above the terminal hook on the same leader. The leader is then finished off with a loop that is attached to the main fishing line using a swivel. With this rig, both the head and midsection or tail of a worm can be impaled on the hooks, providing a more natural appearance.
In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.