How to raise your own bait worms
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Thread: How to raise your own bait worms

  1. #1
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    Default Bait worm production how-to

    Since Dbeam and myself had to cancel our perch jerk yak trip on hickory today due to high winds, i've now got the time to do this worm growing how-to.

    Supplies needed:

    Bedding: Peat moss, black kow composted manure, and shredded newspaper. Will explain the ratios needed for each worm type

    Before using peat moss in any mix, soak with water for several days. Before mixing, make sure it has the moisture level of a wrung out sponge.

    Feed: Chicken egg layer crumbles, mixed with rabbit pellets, 50/50. I get the best size and the most worm reproduction with this mix. Can be had at tractor supply for cheap, and will last you many years.

    Lightly sprinkle the surface of the bed with feed and water it. Only feed what the worms can eat in several days, so the food does not get moldy. This applies to all worm species.

    Containers to raise worms: Ziploc weathershield tote and any other kind of tote, depending on species

    Pitchfork to aerate worm beds. Turn your compost once a month to prevent compaction.

    Dolomite lime to add grit to worm bed every month(dont use any other kind of lime, it can kill your worms!!!!!)

    Add this once per month to add grit for the worms and balance the PH

    Plastic garbage bags, cut in half

    Put this over your bed after you feed, worms like to eat in moist conditions.

    Cheap LED lamp, keeps your worms from running away at night

    Agriculture plant mister, to water your worms 1x per week at feeding time.


    Types of worms that can be raised in bulk(note, standard garden worms cannot be raised this way. They are soil dwellers. What you need are worms that can live in compost. These breeds are all composting worms)

    Note: It's best to just raise each species individually. If you mix them, one might outcompete the other due to different reproductive rates.

    African Nightcrawlers- A tropical worm, extremely prolific, but also escape artists. Have to kept at 60 degrees and above to ensure that they will continue breeding. Great bait worm for catfish or bass. The smaller ones make good perch or bluegill bait. The skin is kind of soft on these, though. The only way to raise them is in a ziploc weathershield tote. This tote has a foam gasket in the lid, that keeps them from crawling out. These guys love to escape, so the weathershield tote is mandatory. I drill air holes in the middle of the lid, so when they try to crawl across the top of the lid, they fall down before they can reach these air holes.

    Best bedding mix: Peatmoss and black kow 50/50

    Red wigglers: Can tolerate temperatures down to 40 degrees or so, but breed best at 60 degrees and above. Extremely prolific. Amazing bait for bream, perch, and trout. Can be raised in any tote, as long as a light is on at night to prevent escapes.

    Best bedding mix: Peatmoss and black kow 50/50

    Louisiana Swamp Worm: My favorite bait worm. This is a variation of a red wiggler, is more yellow in color as an adult. It's also the fastest breeding worm i've ever seen. It has an extremely strong odor that white perch can't get enough of. Every where I go, it's a cooler full of perch with swamp worms. Also a killer bream bait.

    European nightcrawlers:

    A tough skinned worm, but slow breeder. Only produces four offspring per month. Best all around bait for most species of fish. It's bigger than red wigglers and swamp worms, but smaller than african nightcrawlers.

    Likes most breeds, 60 and above is the best temperature for reproduction.

    Best bedding mix: Peat moss and shredded newspaper. 75/25


    Best place to keep your worm farms in a controlled environment, such as a spare room or outbuilding. None of these species can handle freezing temps or temps over 90 degrees.


    Bin maintanence: Feed/water worms once per week. Rotate soil and add dolomite lime once per month.


    Every 6 months, you will have to take some of the bedding out as it is converted to castings. This is a rich, black soil that is the best compost around. Your garden will be the envy of the neighborhood. I just put the feed on once side, most of the worms will migrate there. Then i remove the mostly empty side and put it in the garden. Then you can add some fresh bedding.


    Population management: If you find you have a bunch of really small worms, then its time to take those worms and start a new bin. Keep in growing and dividing, the sky is the limit on most composting worms. Just don't let it grow to a million

    When you get your starter stock, its best to not fish with them for a month. That way they have a chance to lay eggs and populate your bin.

    Recommended starting stock densities and suppliers

    African nightcrawlers, 2 pounds

    Best buy worms

    Red wigglers, 2000 count

    Green Gregs Worm Farm

    Louisiana Swamp Worms, 2 pounds

    Terry Unger in south carolina is the only supplier that has these

    European Nightcrawlers, 2 pounds

    Uncle Jims Worm Farm

    Please see below for pictures of my setups.



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  3. #2
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    This is awesome! Thank you for sharing! I've seen where a lot of vericomposter designs recommend having a second box to catch "worm tea". Do you have to drill any holes in the bottom of the totes to control against excess moisture or are you just careful with how much water you add each week? Also would window screen around the ventilation holes help prevent escapes?

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    No holes required to catch worm tea. That is because we are using grains and rabbit pellets that don't produce excess water. Vermicomposters are using fruit and veggie waste which can create a sloppy mess without drainage. Misting the bedding when you feed is all that is required. As long as the moisture level is like a wrung out sponge, then you are at the right level.

    The ventilation holes are drilled dead center on the weathershield totes. Worms cannot stick to the ceiling when they crawl for long distances. They fall back down into the compost before they reach the ventilation holes.

    If you are raising the other varieties(not the africans) you can use any container you want. Just leave a light on in the room, keep them well fed, and they wont go anywhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by projectpat0 View Post
    This is awesome! Thank you for sharing! I've seen where a lot of vericomposter designs recommend having a second box to catch "worm tea". Do you have to drill any holes in the bottom of the totes to control against excess moisture or are you just careful with how much water you add each week? Also would window screen around the ventilation holes help prevent escapes?

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  6. #4
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    Awesome post, thanks for putting this together!
    dbeam likes this.

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  7. #5
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    Bumping this up for those that have not seen it yet. Now is the time to get your worm beds going, so you have a large population of usable bait worms before the spring fishing season gets here.

    I forgot to mention that swamp worms and red wigglers are the best baits ever for jumbo shellcrackers.

  8. #6
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    This seems like a no brainer when store bought bait is at least going to run you $3 a box.

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trout_Guide View Post
    Bumping this up for those that have not seen it yet. Now is the time to get your worm beds going, so you have a large population of usable bait worms before the spring fishing season gets here.

    I forgot to mention that swamp worms and red wigglers are the best baits ever for jumbo shellcrackers.
    I would like do the red wigglers and and the Louisiana Swamp Worms. Would be about 4 weeks before I can set everything up and get started. Would that be to late to start my worm farm. What size tote do you recommend.
    Old Coot Red X Angler with a in my dreams only Bucket List
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  10. #8
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    15 gallon will do ya fine. You can wait 4 weeks, those swamp worms and red wigglers reproduce like crazy.

    Here's a youtube video of the guy in SC that sells the swamp worms.

    His contact info is at the end of the video- he's old school, you have to call him and send a check to place an order.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCJSgl9KhAQ
    GreyGhost, and LIVIT like this.


  11. #9
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    Nicely done. Thanks.
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    I would like to try some of those swamp worms, before attempting to raise my own.
    Trout_Guide likes this.


  13. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LIVIT View Post
    I would like to try some of those swamp worms, before attempting to raise my own.
    I've got an over run of swamp worms, i'll post a small quantity in the classifieds for anyone who wants to give them a try.

  14. #12
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    Are the Louisiana Swamp Worms naturally colored or do you use Dye? Do you use dye to add color to any of the other worms?

  15. #13
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    I use worm glo on all the worms before I fish with them- the chartreuse color makes the fish go wild. Works 3-1 over standard in most cases.
    LIVIT likes this.


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    Just out of curiosity, can you use Canadian Night Crawlers? Couldnt find much info online about them and using them in worm bins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by projectpat0 View Post
    Just out of curiosity, can you use Canadian Night Crawlers? Couldnt find much info online about them and using them in worm bins.
    I have raised night crawlers in past, hard to keep contained. They are escape artists, that would even put some famous human escape artists to shame using mosquito netting over ventilation holes does help.
    Once you get the escape issues solved. Keeping them cool, 60-70 degrees is optimum for breeding nightcrawlers. Feeding, my grandfather taught me to use coffee grounds, organic table scraps, no meats ! Feed every couple of days or so, depending on numbers of course. If the organic does not get eaten before it starts rotting and getting moldy, remove it !! Keep them slightly moist, like a thoroughly squeezed sponge, no drips of moisture at all. Keep the soil loose, do not let it compact. You will have to change out the bottom 10-20% of bedding every couple of months or so, again this depends on numbers in bed. For me I found trying to keep up with nightcrawler growing was more effort than I felt it was worth. I just made a large worm box, put it in basement, mud room etc.. some place cool. I ordered a 1,000 or so and would just keep a count on how many I had removed from worm box and reordered as needed. My Grandfather would probably cringe, but I now use the large tupper ware type containers for my swampworm beds. Walmart had the large ones on a clearance sale for $2.50 ea. There is several good info sources online for buying and raising canadians.

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