Bait - Keeping Ragworm Fresh

There's nothing worse than not having bait when the weather is just perfect for fishing. Commonly after a strong onshore blow the shops have little or nothing in the way of fresh worm, and in this neck of the woods digging bait is difficult to say the least.

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Fresh ragworm direct from the fridge


I've tried over the years to preserve ragworm for long periods of time, the most successful method I'd used was to keep the worm separated in layers of fresh paper whilst keeping them refrigerated. The paper required regular changes, and at best the worms could be kept for up to three weeks.

After much research and question asking, the solution seemed to involve salt water and regular water changes. There are some folk who keep them in aerated tanks, though I had no intention of going to those complicated lengths.

My solution was to utilise a fridge in the garage and four large cat litter trays. The baits needs to be freshly sourced, ideally direct from the bait diggers bucket. A friendly chat with your local tackle shop can normally make this happen, and after being relieved of £20 I had 2lbs of fresh ragworm in my possession.

The worm was spread evenly between the trays with any damaged worms being removed. Fresh cool saltwater is added to the trays so the worms are just covered. For the first week this water will required to be changed on a daily basis. For the next week I change it every other day then every 3-5 days after that.

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I keep a couple of 2 litre pop bottles in the fridge containing fresh saltwater, with a 5 gallon container topped up weekly kept in the garage. In the cooler months the water can be used directly from the 5 gallon container, though during summer periods I use the cooled water from the fridge.

So how effective is it?, well from my initial stock I have almost a pound remaining and it's in great condition... it's been in the fridge for 3 months!!!

Fresh worm on tap, perfect!

Please feel free to comment.

8 comments:

Cai said...

Hi, This might be a stupid question but do you give them any food!?

Rob Appleby said...

Hi, good question. Nope, all they need are the micro-organisms, etc in the fresh saltwater that's replaced regularly.

Rob

Chris Holgreaves said...

Great way to keep these worms save place i really appreciate your concepts and the way you write this content.
fishing baits

Anonymous said...

Great tip, much appreciated you sharing, doing it as we speak, at first week stage at the mo.

Anonymous said...

First week over and ive just changed the water after 2 days after starting week two (that's 7 days changing water daily in week one) and worms are looking as good as the day I dug them fresh. Saving them for a comp in two weeks time.
Great tip also on the fresh water ie when it rains, streams etc
don't use, ie get water before it rains, all adds up. That reminds me must get more fresh sea water before it rains.

Anonymous said...

Second week over (changed water as advised) and worms are still in superb condition, swimming healthy. Stating week 3. Showed worms to wife to confirm and she said "they look fresh".

Rob Appleby-Goudberg said...

I'm pleased that it's working for you. Sure, you'll lose the odd one over time, but having a fridge full of fresh worm is well worth the effort.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rob, just ended week 3 and worms are still in superb condition, already for Saturdays comp.
Wee question though how does one keep lugworm alive, only for say 1 week or so. ps all 56 ragworm healthy with no dead worms.