• You need to be a registered member of Barbel Fishing World to post on these forums. Some of the forums are hidden from non-members. Please refer to the instructions on the ‘Register’ page for details of how to join the new incarnation of BFW...

Worms for bait

Alex Chalmers-Wilkes

Senior Member
Evening all.
I hope everyone is staying safe and keeping well. As above I was just wandering if worms are a good go to bait for barbel. Iv read lots of reports in AM and AT a like With barbel catches but dont really read much about worms being used as bait. Mostly boilies and meat being the main bait. I'm only asking as I have just set up my own womery a week ago. just so i have a good ready supply of fresh worms at hand for when the season kicks off. ( providing we can head out of course) didn't know if many people use them as an alternative or a main bait.
Alex
 

David Craine

Senior Member
I know a couple of Salmon Anglers on the Ribble, they fish worms under a strange looking float, but they always seem to catch a few Barbel on them over a season, moving baits , not static.I have never had a Barbel on a worm, but plenty of Chub, the odd trout as well.

David
 

Joe Winstanley

Senior Member
I've never fished worms for barbel, but I know plenty of people who have caught decent barbel in the winter months on them when fishing for perch.

Apparently J.W Martin, the legendary 'Trent Otter' used to catch 100's of barbel out of the Trent using worms, back in the day. By all accounts they would wrap worms up in big balls of clay and use them for groundbaiting.
 

Alex Gowney

Senior Member
Barbel eat worms as readily as any other fish, but, as has been pointed out, keeping a worm long enough for a barbel to find it is the problem. The worms don't need to be static either, I've caught them on the Windrush while freelining in a fast current for trout.
 

Terry Simner

Senior Member
Barbel eat worms as readily as any other fish, but, as has been pointed out, keeping a worm long enough for a barbel to find it is the problem. The worms don't need to be static either, I've caught them on the Windrush while freelining in a fast current for trout.
In the 70's I made a 'freelining' rod from a fly rod blank (from Fenwicks in Wolverhampton, if any of you remember the place). What I wanted was the ability to flick a single lob on an unweighted line across the Severn. It worked really well, and I had a shed load of barbel on it (plus a dozen garage loads of chub:D ) 'Luckily' a 3-4lb'er was a good Severn barbel in those days, as I'm not sure that 'wand' of a rod could have handled anything much bigger than that. Got a Polaroid somewhere of a mixed catch of 30-40 fish taken on freelined lob (which was, and still is, my fave way of fishing).
 

Ian Sewter

Senior Member
Quote from an old book, "During 8 days on the River Trent an angler once caught 300 barbel and individual catches of 97, 100 and 123 have been recorder in a [single] day. This was in pre-baited swims (sometimes by local professionals) - sometimes as many as 3,000 or 4,000 lobworms being used (in clay balls so they sank to the bottom)." Thames anglers also used this procedure and instructed gillies accordingly - "Jeeves put another 1,000 lobbies in there's a good chap!".

Worms can sometimes be a great change bait and good for trundling but in many swims I would be frightened or 4 inch perch, chublets, pikelets or worst of all by a bootlace eel (still around!).
 

Stephen Goderski

Senior Member
This Fishing by Captain LA Parker is a great book if you want to read about clay ball fishing for barbel on the Thames with lobworms.

18 years ago I used to spend a lot of time fish spotting on primarily the Loddon with just a bucket of pellets which I would deposit (a few at a time!) into areas where I could see the bottom., sit back, light a fag and see what turned up. I found a lot of nice spots this way.

One morning I put some pellets into a shallow run and was amazed when a very decent barbel (12lb+) swung out of the marginal weeds and straight onto the spot.

I was back with my tackle within the hour; luckily in those days I had one of those roving tickets which meant that I could fish absolutely anywhere (cough).

The barbel was still in residence together with a nice chub (@5lbs+). I watched a while, waited until they were at the back of the swim, swung out my pellet hookbait onto a clear bit of gravel between the streamer weed and fed a few pellets over the top. The chub was straight on it and I felt it pick up my hookbait and immediately spit it out; the rig was doing its job, that's what I wanted. The barbel joined in and ate all my freebies before disappearing once again to the back of the swim. Not what I wanted.

I reeled in, repositioned the hookbait and fed again. Same thing; the chub picked up and spat out, the barbel cleared out the freebies and buggered off.

After this had happened four times, I realised that the problem was that the barbel had sussed my rig - I'm quick like that!

In my bag I had a tub of lobworms, the only change bait I had with me. Impaling a juicy wriggler on the hook, I lowered it onto the gravel and fed a few pellets as before.

The chub and barbel, alert to the sound of free food, swan straight over to investigate. On seeing the lobworm, both fish immediately put their brakes on and with dorsal fins erect literally bolted from the swim, not to return (ever as far as I am aware, I never saw those fish in that area again which makes me think they were travellers).

When I got home, I emptied all my tubs of worms onto the lawn and have not used a worm since.
 

Stephen Crowhurst

Senior Member
I’ve seen very similar behaviour towards luncheon meat Stephen. Often meat creates no feeding response at all.

There was a swim a few years back that if I chucked in small pellet, nothing would happen. Throw in a handful of larger pellet, 1/2” sorta size, a big ol’ Barbel would appear from a far bank snag and scoff them all up. A few people caught that fish before I got a chance and it soon moved on. I’ve also had to converse be the case.

Just goes to show, right thing on the right day goes a long way.
 

Richard Isaacs

Senior Member
Great bait for just about any species
As said they do tend to get snuffed out by the unintended fish before the barbel get a look in.
If your fishing a river known for its eels then they’ll often get there before the chub or perch.
If thats the case you’ll soon learn to strike early as those bad boys know how to take down a lob in seconds
 

Terry Simner

Senior Member
Great bait for just about any species
As said they do tend to get snuffed out by the unintended fish before the barbel get a look in.
If your fishing a river known for its eels then they’ll often get there before the chub or perch.
If thats the case you’ll soon learn to strike early as those bad boys know how to take down a lob in seconds
Agreed Richard, I very rarely use lobs until post-November, and only then when water is highly coloured (winter flood). There may still then be a few eels on the munch, but not like in summer. Even then, if I start getting tremors and bangs on the tip I'll move my bait a foot or two, especially if I know bream can be a problem on the stretch.
Re. lobs spooking fish ... totally agree @Stephen Goderski , @Stephen Crowhurst . Putting a big pink lump of meat or a lob into crystal clear water often scares the holy $hite out of barbel and chub, and I've found the same thing with (king) prawns. But with the latter, chub can be fooled by dropping the bait on their tail instead of in front of them (an age old trick when fishing for chub with slugs ...they whip round, and snatch at the bait)
 

Richard Isaacs

Senior Member
But with the latter, chub can be fooled by dropping the bait on their tail instead of in front of them (an age old trick when fishing for chub with slugs ...they whip round, and snatch at the bait)
Dam it Terry don’t give all the secrets away😳😜

If I see big chub in clear water I will always try to drop in behind them.
They often react more predator like and as you say whip round and chase it quite aggressively.
A bait dropped on the nose Seems to often push them back.
 

Martin James

Senior Member
I would feel lost without 50 plus lobs on my trips to both still waters and rivers I have found all fish will at times take a well presented lob, but one must also use watercraft, if you spook the fish you want catch them, also chub will fade away ghost like, so you want know you have spooked them, bait is just part of catching fish.
 

Paul Verity

Senior Member
This Fishing by Captain LA Parker is a great book if you want to read about clay ball fishing for barbel on the Thames with lobworms.

18 years ago I used to spend a lot of time fish spotting on primarily the Loddon with just a bucket of pellets which I would deposit (a few at a time!) into areas where I could see the bottom., sit back, light a fag and see what turned up. I found a lot of nice spots this way.

One morning I put some pellets into a shallow run and was amazed when a very decent barbel (12lb+) swung out of the marginal weeds and straight onto the spot.

I was back with my tackle within the hour; luckily in those days I had one of those roving tickets which meant that I could fish absolutely anywhere (cough).

The barbel was still in residence together with a nice chub (@5lbs+). I watched a while, waited until they were at the back of the swim, swung out my pellet hookbait onto a clear bit of gravel between the streamer weed and fed a few pellets over the top. The chub was straight on it and I felt it pick up my hookbait and immediately spit it out; the rig was doing its job, that's what I wanted. The barbel joined in and ate all my freebies before disappearing once again to the back of the swim. Not what I wanted.

I reeled in, repositioned the hookbait and fed again. Same thing; the chub picked up and spat out, the barbel cleared out the freebies and buggered off.

After this had happened four times, I realised that the problem was that the barbel had sussed my rig - I'm quick like that!

In my bag I had a tub of lobworms, the only change bait I had with me. Impaling a juicy wriggler on the hook, I lowered it onto the gravel and fed a few pellets as before.

The chub and barbel, alert to the sound of free food, swan straight over to investigate. On seeing the lobworm, both fish immediately put their brakes on and with dorsal fins erect literally bolted from the swim, not to return (ever as far as I am aware, I never saw those fish in that area again which makes me think they were travellers).

When I got home, I emptied all my tubs of worms onto the lawn and have not used a worm since.
Great story
 

Alex Chalmers-Wilkes

Senior Member
Thanks guys for your input. Think i will need a good bucket full if I'm to get a barbel to take one in time. Just nice to have a supply there as and when i need them.
 

Steve Lewis

Senior Member
Yep, GREAT bait, but more than 9 times out of 10 a chub or perch will come along and gobble it up LONG before a barbel even starts to show interest in it.

It's why I can't use the popularly favoured worm kebab when going for tench in my local lakes cos they're stuffed full of perch. I don't think I've EVER caught a tench on worm, yet every week in the AM and AT pretty much every bugger with a decent tench has caught it on a worm kebab.
 
Top