Worm Fishing

Neil Pegrum
On the Kennet & Avon canal

Worm fishing falls into two main categories, Chop worm fishing and Lobworm fishing.  Chop worm fishing (choppie) was developed mainly for match fishing with a pole and uses mostly small varieties of worms e.g. dendrobaenas or red worms, the first mentioned freely available from tackle shops with red worms only obtainable from some tackle shops or a compost heap.  Lobworm fishing is aimed at a better class of fish and is used by both the pleasure and match angler, lobworms are collected at night from a well trimmed lawn using a torch with a dim light as lobworms bolt back into their holes at bright lights and the vibration of heavy feet on the ground, walking slowly and trying not to shine the light directly on an unsuspecting worm lying on the damp lawn.  On seeing a worm quickly grab hold of its head and pull with a gentle pressure not to hard or you will snap the worm making it useless but holding steady until the worm relaxes its grip on its hole.  When you get the hang of this a large number of worms can quickly be collected in the right conditions i.e. damp and not to cold.
Feeding for choppie consists of taking a dozen or so worms, putting them in a pot or old yogurt cup and cutting them into small pieces with a pair of scissors, then putting them in a pole pot for accurate feeding with either a few red maggots, pinkies or casters, which ever is your preference and feed them into the swim.  Feeding for lobworms is much the same but only starting with 2-4 lobworms cut up into inch pieces and adding a few casters and most of my lobworm fishing is near side I feed with a pole cup or by hand.
On the canal the main feeding areas depend on your swim and the conditions on the day with the favorite spots being close to cover like bushes and reeds, both near and far bank but when the water goes very cold and clear in the middle of winter the deepest part of the swim along with a longer line on the pole can be more productive.
The scent trail can attract most of the species of fish in the canal including bream and tench, which is where the stronger tackle i.e. 2lb+ line pays dividends.  The choppie method was first used to target small to medium sized perch using hooks from 14-20 depending on the size of the worm with its tail just touching the bottom (the hook being 1-2 inches off the bottom) using the pole to create movement in the worm, when bites are hard to come by one trick is to over-shot the float slightly forcing the angler to continually keep lifting and moving their float to entice bites.  Lobworms are fished either whole or in sections using 10-14 hooks and hard on the bottom, more of a waiting game but normally attracting a much better stamp of fish e.g. large roach or perch or maybe a bream tench or carp, with this in mind I usually dispense with the pole and get out the rod and my trusty center pin reel.
As with all worm fishing don’t be in a hurry to strike as a developed bite normally produces more fish and with the main target fish the perch having a particularly hard mouth then a sharp hook is essential.
Use this as a guide and you should catch a few fish but as with all methods don’t be afraid to experiment and expand on the above methods to bank a few more fish.
Happy fishing………