Finding Your Own Bait

As everybody knows, worms and minnows make good fish bait. And both are relatively easy and fun for kids to collect.

You can dig a mess of small red worms in almost any garden. But for a coffee can full of big, meaty night crawlers you need darkness and a good summer night’s rain. With a thoroughly drenched plot of healthy soil (your front yard or backyard will do nicely), night crawlers will slither their way above ground for a breath of open air. Carry a big flashlight to spot them in the grass. And tell the kids to walk softly. Worms are ultra sensitive to earthy vibrations and will quickly try to escape back underground if they sense you coming.

To rustle up a batch of minnows without missing even one hour of sleep, all you need is a small creek and a minnow trap. Available for less than $10 at any sporting goods store that sells fishing stuff, a wire-mesh minnow trap can be baited with a slice or two of bread or a handful of dog food and placed out overnight. Minnows — in these parts the most common are of the stoneroller and chub variety — can be found congregated at creek bends and in deeper holes under bridges and around culvert pipes.

You can easily catch a mess of minnows by using a single trap. But to ensure enough bait for a day’s worth of fishing, try setting out more than one trap overnight. Come morning, just pull up the traps with the kids on the way to your fishing hole.

Bob Butz writes from Lake Ann. His recent book, Beast of Never, Cat of God, about a possible remnant cougar population in Michigan, is available in bookstores and on the Web.

Article Comments

  • Anonymous

    The easiest way to gather up gigantic nightcrawlers is to jolt them with electricity using a simple tool set-up.
    Take a 2 foot steel rod and bend it 90′ at 8 inches. Wire a male plug WITH ONE WIRE ONLY coming out of it, strip about 2 inches off the other end and electrical tape it to the steel rod handle. Stick the long end of the rod into the ground (a foot should do), plug the mail end plug into an extension cord and the worms will fly out of the ground. If after a couple of minutes they don’t, just turn the plug around in the extension cord. And, of course, DON’T TOUCH THE ROD when it is plugged in, even though since you only use one wire you do not make a two-way circuit.