How to Catch Worms for Fishing Bait

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The best part about fishing is that it’s always a great way to put some food on the table.

You don’t need to go out and buy an artificial lure from the store just to go fishing either. Just get yourself some good ol’ reliable worms from the ground and you’ll be good to go and ready to catch some fish.

Some of the freshwater fish you can catch with worms include bluegill, bass, catfish, crappie, perch, trout, walleye, and more.

And while you can buy live worms from virtually any place that sells fishing equipment (or online), you can also save yourself some money and learn how to catch worms yourself.

The main benefit of knowing how to catch worms is that you’ll always have access to some good fishing bait. As long as the ground is somewhat wet in your area then you should be good to go.

So how do you catch worms for fishing bait?

Let’s find out..

How to Catch Worms In Your Backyard

Listed below are seven different methods for catching worms. 

The best part about these seven different methods is that you should be able to do all seven of them from your own backyard.

Don’t have your own backyard? 

Then you’ll have to ask permission from someone who has a plot of land you can use for catching worms. 

However, if you plan on using state land for catching worms then make sure to check state laws before you do anything such as cutting down a small tree. It could be illegal.

Stomp On The Ground

One of the simplest methods for catching worms is what I refer to as the “stomp on the ground method”.

To perform the stomp on the ground method all you have to do is.. well, stomp on the ground.

How I personally perform this method is I move side to side while stomping on the ground rapidly the whole time. I typically create my own pathways on the ground by stomping on the same ground over and over.

After stomping on the ground for a minute or so you should start to see worms popping out of the ground all around you.

And if not, then you may want to try this method in another area where worms are more present. 

Look Under Rocks and Leaves

worm under rock

A common place that worms like to hide is under big-sized rocks.

But make sure to be careful when looking under large rocks or boulders as there could easily be a snake hiding under there as well.

Another common place where you can find worms is under leaves. Especially if it has rained recently and all of the leaves are nice and damp.

Shake a Shovel In The Ground

A weird method that you can use to attract worms to come out of the ground is to simply stick the spade end of a shovel into the ground and then shake it back and forth. 

I’m not exactly sure why this attracts worms to come out of the ground, but there’s no denying that it definitely works. 

Typically this method works best when the soil is fairly wet.

Worm Grunting

how to use a worm grunt stick
Image Credit to

Worm grunting is the act of placing a stick or a rod into the ground and then causing that stick or rod to vibrate rapidly. The rapid vibrations then attract the worms to come out of the ground so you can catch them.

Once again, I’m not exactly sure why worms come out of the ground when vibration is present, but something about the vibration definitely draws them out.

Maybe they think that it’s raining and they’re coming out for a drink?

Who knows?

But one thing is certain, there are a wide variety of tools you can use for worm grunting. While some like to invest in a product such as the Worm Gitter, others will either make their own grunt stick or find their own way to force vibrations into the ground.

Here below are a few different ways you can perform worm grunting. 

  • Rub a handsaw against the top of a wooden stake in the ground
  • Rub a metal flat iron against the top of a wooden stake in the ground
  • Rev up a chainsaw on the top of a wooden stake in the ground

You can also cut down a small tree sapling to where there is only a foot or so left out of the ground and use that instead of a wooden stake (make sure you have permission). I imagine you can also use a metal rod instead of a wooden stake and still accomplish the same goal. 

As long as there is vibration running through the ground you should be good to go!

Soak the Ground with Dish Soap and Water

A common method for catching worms is to fill a container with dish soap and water and soak the ground with it where you believe worms are residing. 

Worms hate soapy water for some reason so they will come out of the ground as quick as they can and then you can easily catch them.

Just make sure to wash the soapy water off the worms when you’re done catching them so they don’t die from the soap. Make sure not to keep the worms in water for too long either as worms can and will drown.

Soak the Ground with Walnut Tea

Now if you want to be more environmentally friendly then you can soak a bunch of walnuts in water to create “walnut tea” and then soak the ground with that instead of dish soap and water. 

Walnut tea is an extremely dark liquid that for some reason is poisonous to worms.

Make sure to wash off the worms after you’re done catching them with walnut tea as well.

Use a Worm Taser

worm taser

Now if everything else fails, you can always shock the worms out of the ground!

While I’m not particularly a fan of this method myself, it is a method you can use to catch worms for fishing bait. 

A worm taser is nothing more than a metal rod (or multiple metal rods) that you stick in the ground and then turn on the electricity. The electricity doesn’t seem to kill the worms but it does draw them out of the ground to where you can then catch them.

Just make sure to wear rubber boots and possibly gloves when searching for the worms so you don’t accidentally shock yourself.

And just to be clear, I take no responsibility if you hurt yourself trying this method. It’s one I personally avoid just because of the dangers involved.