Set Your Hook

The Best Way To Fish With Worms

ESP Boss discovered a worm threader about three years ago while on vacation in the White Mountains. NOTHING was working to catch fish; not PowerBait, not salmon eggs, not corn: NOTHING. But, there was one “old geezer” who seemed not to be effected by the lousy fishing conditions.

He told ESP Boss and The Queen Mother his fishing secret:


But not just sticking a worm on a treble hook and tossing it in. Nope, the man explained that he was fishing with night crawlers and a worm threader.

Of course, like most good fishing tips, there was a part of the worm threader tip that the man didn’t explain: how to USE the thing. Now, a worm threader seems pretty simple, but there is defiantly a technique to making it work well.

You’ll need:

  • Night crawlers or other live fishing worm
  • Worm threader
  • Single hook with a leader (as opposed to double, or treble)

Everything you'll need to fish with worms!

For all these photos, I use a whole nigh crawler so you can really see what is going on. When I’m using this set up for trout of sunfish, I usually use 1.5″ to 2″ of worm.

The first step is to insert the threader through the body of the worm. You don’t want to go from end to end, rather begin by puncturing the worm about 1/4 of the way up from on end.

This can be difficult since the worm will slide on the tip of the threader and try to curl around your fingers.

Once you have inserted the threader, you will slide it along the mud vein and out the end of the worm. The threader is now encased in the worm. You’re not “sewing” the worm onto the threader but rather sliding the theader through the body of the worm.

3/4 of the worm is on the threader

The tip of the worm threader has a small hole in it. That is where you will place the point of the hook.

The hole is deep enough to hold most of the tip and barb.

Holding the worm threader in one hand and the leader of the hook in the other hand, you will then slide the worm OFF the threader and onto the hook and leader. This is where it can get tricky!


You’ll be forming a V with the threader and leader. It’s a lot easier to do if you keep the leader taut to maintain the V shape.

If the tip of the hook comes out of the tip of the worm threader, you’re best bet is to take the worm off and start again. You can’t really fix it at that point.

The hardest part (once you get the worm started) is getting it over the knot and eye of the hook. The fishing hook is thicker there. You might want to use a shorter section of worm.

See the V shape this makes? Keep tension on the leader to maintain that shape.

Once you have the worm threaded onto the hook, you can cast like normal. Since the hook is incased in the worm, you’re less likely to have a fish steal the worm. And, it makes it very difficult for the worm to fall off. (Always a plus!)

Keep sliding the worm down the leader. See how much is left on the threader? That's why I like to use a smaller piece of worm. Plus, worms tend to get longer & thinner when you're working with them!

Readers Weigh In:

  • What’s your favorite way of fishing a worm?
  • Have you ever used a worm threader? What are your tips for making it work well?
  • What is your go-to bait (or technique) when the fish just aren’t biting?
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