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Raising Worms Update

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, ID)

Yesterday I worked on one of my worm bins as well as "The Park Avenue."

The most stunning revelation was how much bigger the worms were in the Park Avenue. Well fed and pampered worms fair much better than those feasting on veggie scraps and spent coffee grounds.

I moved three more dozen worms to my scouring container from the Park Avenue. I moved two dozen worms from my compost bin to the Park Avenue to see if they will plump up.

My scoured worms are looking really good. I'll be doing a lot more worm fishing in the next month. Now that I have caught a fish on a Kebari with the Becchou, it is time to catch some fish on worms with it.

After fishing worms for a little over a year now, my preferred hook has become the Gamakatsu Amago 7.5. There are several reason why I have gravitated to this hook for almost all of my worm fishing. The most important is that you almost always get a lip hook, so releasing the fish is easy. The shape of the hook leads to a solid hook-up as well. You can use all methods of hooking the worm with this hook. It is fairly easy to thread the worm on the hook as W.C. Stewart teaches in his book. The simple hooking through the back muscle that I like works well. The parallel method that I came up with also works well with this hook.

I snell an 18 inch leader on them. Don't be afraid of snelling hooks!

Comments for Raising Worms Update

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May 28, 2018
A little more on hooks and tippet
by: Les Albjerg

My daughter from Portland is visiting over the Memorial Day weekend. We went for a walk over by Lake Lowell yesterday. There was a 8-10 year old boy fishing for panfish with a spinning set-up and bobber. I couldn't help it, I had to say, "How is fishing?" His response was "I haven't caught a fish, but I am getting a lot of nibbles." I had my Daiwa Tankei 1500SK with snelled hooks in my pocket. I am horrible about cleaning my pockets out when I go fishing. I said, "Can you reel in so I can see your set-up?" I'm not sure what size hook he had on, but it was big! It had at least an 8 pound leader on the hook. He was fishing with a half a night crawler His hook was dull! He had a swivel so I said, to him. Would you like to try a different kind of hook? He said, "Sure it can't be any worse than what is happening now." I pulled out a Gamakatsu Amago 7.5 snelled with Fujino .5 tippet. I checked his drag, and caught up to my daughter and her boy friend. We finished the nature trail loop in about 45 minutes. The boy was still fishing when we walked to the car. He had a big smile on his face, and said, "Hey mister I have caught 10 fish with that funny hook!" He had kept 3 nice sunfish for dinner. I gave him a spare hook and leader. I was (still am) smiling all the way to the car.

I really like the Fujino tippet material. I have been using the .5 fluorocarbon for 85% of my fishing with Tenkara rods, and Keiryu rods. According to Chris it is 6.5x so it will protect your rod. I have caught over a dozen 18 inch plus Mountain Whitefish using the .5 fluorocarbon and several 3.5-4 pound smallmouth bass.

I just finishing snelling a dozen more Gamakatsu Amago 7.5 hooks. Another trick I use is a small dab of Loon's Knot Sense on the knot. When threading a worm according to the instructions of W.C. Stewart in "The Practical Angler" using the Knot Sense helps you get the Red Wiggler up on the line much easier. My last comment is all of hooks sold by TenkaraBum work well for worms. Hooks have gotten so much better over the years.

Jun 06, 2018
Red Wiggler Transferring to new material.
by: Kelly Peterson

Ok, finally have to get my red wigglers into new bedding so other than pulling them out by hand what do you do? Just tried some screen but too many worms and especially eggs went thru. Then tried a smaller screen, sure it trapped most of the worms and all the eggs but also didn’t let thru any casting except the finest.

Have watched videos on you tube where they use two screens, 1/4" and 1/8" for the final. But I don’t have any of those screen sizes and don’t want to buy a whole roll of each for a 18" piece.

What do you use?

Could my bedding be too moist? I think possibly that is the case so am leaving them uncovered to see if it dries out some.

Les, are you using anything else besides the potting mix? It gets expensive when you need a big bag. I do have lots of regular crawler bedding that I bought in bulk-looks to be mostly shredded paper. Could I mix this in with the potting mix?

Jun 07, 2018
Potting Mix
by: Les Albjerg

Kelly - You can buy a small bag of potting soil for under 5 bucks. The Park Avenue isn't designed to be the least expensive method of raising worms, but the most convenient. I am sure you could use your worm bedding. The more I work with Red Wigglers, the more I find them forgiving. Call me callous, but I don't worry about every worm when I am changing my bedding.

As long as I have enough worms to go fishing, I am happy. I have been harvesting worms from the grass pile that I change my worm beds over. I would guess your bedding may be a little wet.

My favorite way to separate worms from the bedding is to dump the whole Park Avenue on to my outdoor table in direct sunlight. I then make several 3 inch by 3 inch piles. I let them sit for a few minutes. The worms will go to the bottom. I then skim the material off the top, keeping my eye out for worms and eggs. I put the "Black Gold" in my wheel barrow on top of grass clippings. As you work your way down, you will end up with a concentration of worms. I don't worry about a little dirt with the concentration of worms if I am going to be putting them into fresh bedding. If I am going to scour, I put the worms in a quart plastic yogurt container and rinse them with water from the hose. Once I am through the worms, I will spread out the "Black Gold" over the grass clippings and look for worms I might have missed.

As far as your old bedding, I am sure it will work. You will need to feed them more. Remember the natural environment of Red Wigglers is horse manure.

Last, but not least, In my latest research I have learned that Red Wigglers can live 2 months without eating. Worms are different critters than we normally deal with. Don't over heat or freeze them, keep their home moist with some food and they will be happy campers.

Jun 08, 2018
Beyond Park Ave
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

The number of worms I have is way beyond what the Park Ave can hold, moved them earlier this year to a Styrofoam Worm Farm, now have too many for that so now going to big tub.

as always, thanks for your help.

Jun 09, 2018
Too many worms!
by: Les Albjerg

Kelly - You can solve your ever expanding worm issue in three ways. (1) You need to fish more! (2) You could sell worms or give them away. or (3) Worms will self regulate. I went down the trail you are on. I went from one tub to two to three! I am now back down to one tub. You have to ask yourself why you are growing worms. I have between 1,000 and 2,000 adult worms in my 8 gallon tub that gets veggie scraps and coffee grounds as their food. That is all I need for fishing.

I continue to play with my worms too, as I want to develop great worms for fishing and continue to learn about them. I am a curious person.

Right now I am experimenting with the following system. I discovered that the worms in the Park Avenue are much bigger than in my general tub. So, right now I have transferred about 4 dozen worms from my Park Avenue into the Scouring Bin, and taken average size worms from the general tub and transferred them into the Park Avenue to see if they will "plump up." When I feed them yesterday they looked really good! More on this experiment will be coming. I have also worked out a great worm food that isn't very expensive. That is being tested as well.

Right now I am spending less than 5 minutes a week on my worms. I would rather spend time fishing, so minimal time on worms is one of my goals too. As long as you have babies and teenagers among your adults your worm bed is healthy enough. I don't worry about transferring eggs unless they are just right in front of me. I don't worry about babies either. I try to get at least 75% of the teenagers and 95% of the adults when I do a bed transfer.

Kelly we need a fishing report!

Jun 09, 2018
Poor and not good!
by: Kelly Peterson

Been working too much and fishing been very poor. Very dry right now with water levels very low and extremely clear to boot. Just some juvenile trout, that’s all to report. We need rain.

My son has the Park Avenue. I concur with your assessment about the worms doing better in there. Maybe because it is more confining so they don’t waste energy by moving around and put it into growth. Another observation I noticed with my two ranches. There are more babies and juveniles in the bigger ranch, hardly any in the park avenue.

Aug 11, 2018
Red worms from Wal-Mart
by: Alton

Hi fellow red worm breeders.

I had ordered some red wigglers from two websites, and what I received were the large red worms from both. An unusual thing happened though. My mother was here on vacation and I wanted to show her my worm farm. When I pulled the lid off they had all disappeared, not one worm, but I had eggs, so I was going to give it a couple of weeks before dumping it all. Low and behold, two weeks later I had a tub of real red wigglers. At first, I thought they were baby red worms (large variety), but four months later, they are still only about 1 1/2 - 2 inches long and perfect for trout, panfish, and especially micros, don't ask me how it happened, but I am sure glad it did. By the way, I haven't changed my potting soil ever. I use Nature Frog potting soil that is all natural, no fertilizers and even includes worm castings.

Thanks and shout out to Les and Chris for bringing worm fishing back out of the dungeon it was considered by many fishermen. And I am ever so grateful to Chris and temprano for all the information on micro fishing, I been having a blast with the Nissin Sasuke rod. I just need to learn to cut those worms in smaller bits for those fish smaller than 3 inches.

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