Free Fishing Bait – How to Catch Your Own Nightcrawlers

If you’re like most fisherman, the cost of bait can really get aggravating. In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, we use an old-school trick to get our bait, night crawlers, for free. Night crawlers are great because they fit into the diet of nearly every north-eastern fish you will come across. Bass, Bluegill, Crappy, Pike, Chub, even Catfish love the taste and scent of night of these fat, juicy worms.

If you go into a convenience store that sells live bait, you will notice the price of night crawler worms are nearly five dollars for one dozen of them. Yeah, that will keep bait on your hook for about half of any decent fishing trip, and you’ll be going back to buy more. Why pay for worms when they are absolutely everywhere? Here’s an awesome way to gather your own bait.

Pick a night where you will be able to go outside after dark. During the day before, turn a sprinkler on in the yard (or wait for a day with heavy rains). Once the ground is saturated, the nightcrawlers will fear drowning, and come to the surface. Take a high-powered flashlight outside with you late at night, and scan the ground. You’ll see countless night crawlers!

Now, they like to squirm quickly back into their worm-holes when the light hits them, or when they feel the vibrations of you walking near, so tread softly. If you’ve done everything correctly, you should have buckets full of night crawlers in no time. They keep well in Styrofoam containers (with air holes) in a refrigerator, and they will live for a week or two as long as they have something to eat. Even the kids will love going out and helping you catch your own live bait!

To recap, here is the easy way to catch your own night crawlers:

Soak the Lawn during the day with a sprinkler, or wait for a hard rain.

That night, go out with a bucket, a flashlight, and gloves if you’re scared of a little dirt.

Scan the ground, the night crawlers will have surfaced for fear of drowning in the super-saturated soil.

COLLECT THEM! Put them in a Styrofoam container with ample dirt, leaves/grass, anything you think they’ll eat. Place them in the refrigerator, and you’ve got free live bait for weeks!

Repeat when you’re out!


Hopefully, you’ll save money on your fishing trips from now on, and maybe even have another family activity to add to your list. Until next time, happy Fishing!

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