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Bloodworms for Saltwater Fishing

Updated on September 1, 2011
a live bloodworm
a live bloodworm

What Are Bloodworms?

Bloodworms are saltwater invertebrates that are found in mud flats, marshes, shellfish beds and other saltwater habitats.

Along the Atlantic Coast of North America, they are considered to be a top saltwater fishing bait for a variety of fish species.

In many areas, bloodworms are essential baits for catching spot, croakers, white perch, striped bass, catfish and other fish.

Their incredible effectiveness as fishing bait is mostly due to their abundant blood. When cut into bait sized morsels, these unusual worms bleed profusely, which helps attract fish.

Despite their incredible effectiveness, some anglers dread using these baits as they can inflict painful bites and the blood makes a huge mess whenever they are used.

a spot fish
a spot fish

Bloodworm Rigs

Bloodworms can be fished using a variety of rigs and techniques. For small species, such as spot, croakers, pigfish, white perch, and pan-sized seatrout anglers usually use a standard saltwater top and bottom rig with snelled hooks. Hook sizes and morsels of bait should be matched to the species targeted. Spot and perch require small hooks and small sections of cut bloodworm.

For larger gamefish such as striped bass, striped bass, redfish, seatrout, flounder (fluke) and other species, anglers sometimes fish bloodworms whole. They can be fished on a fish-finder rig, Carolina rig, Texas rig, or other leader setup.

Whole live bloodworms can be very effective when drifted along channel edges, near shellfish bars or in tidal rips. They can also be rigged on a weedless hook and sight casted to fish in shallow areas such as grass beds or shorelines.

Bloodworms Can Bite

Avoid the mouth of bloodworms which can inflict painful bites.
Avoid the mouth of bloodworms which can inflict painful bites.
a tidal river channel catfish
a tidal river channel catfish

Bloodworms for Catching Catfish

In tidal rivers of the Mid Atlantic and southern states, bloodworms are popular for catching channel catfish, blue catfish and white catfish. Their natural tendency to bleed makes bloodworms an excellent bait in rivers and sounds where fish must rely on scent to locate food.

Catfish anglers often use a single or two hook rig, with hooks matched to the size of fish targeted. When targeting large catfish, anglers often fish whole bloodworms or 1/2 worms on each hook.


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