Mealworms are the larval form of the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor, a species of darkling beetle. The beetle is a mean looking rascal.
The larvae are readily available in bait shops, pet shops and on the Internet. They can also be grown at home.
When used as bait the larvae can be fished alone or used to tip lures to provide scent attraction.
The meal worms will remain in the larvae form for a long time if kept refrigerated. They are usually kept in containers of corn meal, oatmeal or bran in the refrigerator between uses.
Super Meal Worms
Ordinary meal worms are about 3/4 inch in length. By adding chemicals to the food the grower can keep the larvae in a juvenile state. The worms can be made to have a length of 1 inch or so.
Zophobas morio is a species of darkling beetle, whose larvae are known by the common name superworm. These insect larvae resemble very large mealworms, about 1½ to 2¼ inches long. Once they reach adult size, the larvae pupate, and later emerge as large, black beetles. The larvae will not pupate if kept in a container with many other larvae, where they receive constant bodily contact. Keeping superworms this way is commonly used to hinder pupation.
Superworms are used as bait in the same way as mealworms. They are readily available from the same sources.
The name maggot is used for the larvae of flies, such as houseflies, cheese flies, and blowflies. In Europe they are called spikes. Spikes are frequently dyed bright colors such as pink.
Fishermen use maggots usually provided by commercial suppliers to catch Sunfish. Maggots are the most popular bait for anglers in Europe where they throw handfuls into the water they are targeting, attracting the fish to the area. The angler will then use the largest or most attractive maggots on the hook, hoping to be irresistible to the fish.
In North America, maggots have been used for years mainly as ice fishing bait but recently anglers have started using them year-round.
Waxworms are the caterpillar larvae of wax moths. Waxworms are medium-white caterpillars with black-tipped feet and small, black or brown heads.
Anglers and fishing bait shops often refer to the larvae as "waxies". Refrigerated wax worms are also popularly sold as fish bait, especially for Sunfish. The larvae are readily available in bait shops, pet shops and on the Internet. They can also be grown at home.
Eristalis tenax is a European hoverfly, also known as the drone fly (or "dronefly"). It has been introduced into North America and is widely established. The larva of E. tenax is a rat-tailed maggot. It lives in drainage ditches, pools around manure piles, sewage, and similar places containing water badly polluted with organic matter.
This is very popular winter bait that is not that easy to find. When available in the spring this bait is one of the best for early panfish. Like the other worms the bait is kept refrigerated to keep it from turning into the fly.
Butter Worms (Chilecomadia moorei) have been long used for fishing in their native country of Chile and are becoming a choice bait for Steelhead and panfishing in the United States. Butter Worms are well known in Europe where they are used extensively as both live pet food and fishing bait.
Butter Worms have fat smooth bodies like waxworms but are much larger.
Store your Butter Worms in the refrigerator at temperatures of 42 to 45 degrees F. They keep for extended periods of time. Make sure the bedding material remains dry, as moisture will kill the Butterworms.
The larval stage of C. catalpae is known as the Catalpa or Catawba Worm. When first hatching, the larvae are a very pale color, but become darker .The yellow caterpillars will usually have a dark, black stripe down their back along with black dots along their sides. There is also a "pale" phase where the black striping is not as prevalent or missing altogether and a shade of white has replaced it. They grow to a length of about 2 inches and feed on the leaves of the Southern Catalpa, also known as Catawba or Indian Bean trees.
They are highly desired by fishermen as bait. The worms are a little large for Sunfish, but are considered irresistible to catfish.