What Are Bloodworm And Jokers: Best Winter Fishing Bait Ever?

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If you are wondering what bloodworms and jokers are then you are about to stumble upon some of the best coarse fishing baits around. Bloodworms and jokers are such effective baits that they have even been banned at a lot of fisheries and in match fishing too – which says a lot! 

In this article, we are going to take a deeper look at both bloodworms and jokers, what they are, why they are so effective, where to source them, and how to fish with them.

Once you have read through the whole article, you will be ready to start catching a ton of fish with these amazing baits. 

What Are Bloodworms? 

Bloodworms are a form of midge larvae that live in the top layer of silt in ponds and rivers. They are bright red, hence the name “bloodworm”, segmented, and usually around 20 mm in length, so approximately twice the size of maggots. 

Bloodworms thrive in low oxygen conditions but can be found in high oxygen conditions too and they are one of the main natural food sources for species that feed off the bottom such as tench, carp, bream, and gudgeon. 

What Are Jokers? 

Jokers are very similar to bloodworms as they are also midge larvae but jokers are a lot smaller than bloodworms. Jokers also love low oxygen conditions and you can usually find them in abundance below areas with sewage outlets, for example. 

Fish love to eat jokers, just as much as they love to eat bloodworms, as they are usually in abundance, easy to see, and easy to eat since they wriggle up out of the bottom. 

Why Are Jokers And Bloodworms Effective As Bait? 

It might be common sense to some of you as to why bloodworms and jokers are such good baits but for everyone else, let’s take a look. 

The reason jokers and bloodworms are so effective is that they are natural baits that the fish eat while no one is fishing. Just imagine being a fish and being presented with something artificial to your environment like bread or sweetcorn, or something you know you love to eat all the time, like bloodworms and jokers, the decision would be easy, wouldn’t it? 

Fish are smart-ish creatures, some species, and individuals more than others. Once they have seen artificial baits like boilies and pellets and have been hooked by them, the fish become wary and suspicious. 

You can learn more information about fishing pellets by reading my in-depth article on pellet types, tips, and tactics here! 

When you throw a natural bait to them, that they eat all the time, they can not resist it. Also, when fishing with bloodworms and jokers, you are using very small hooks and super thin lines, so it is also very a finesse style of fishing. 

Where Do I Buy Jokers And Bloodworms? 

A few thousand bloodworms

There are two ways of getting some jokers and bloodworms to use as bait, and one way is a lot easier than the other. You can either order them from a good tackle shop, chances are your local one can organize this for you, or you can collect them yourself, which can be hard work and possibly a little dangerous. 

Can I Buy Jokers And Bloodworms?

Buying these from angling or bait shops can be a challenge. Typically, not many places will sell them as they are not a very saleable product for most anglers. However, there are several online angling locations to buy them, it is likely that you will need to pre-order them with a minimum order quantity. 

How To Collect Your Own Bloodworms & Jokers?

The first stage of collecting your own jokers and bloodworms is finding a spot where they are in abundance and you will need to get the owners’ permission to start trying to collect them too. Spots are kept secret, so finding a good one may take you a while.

In order to collect jokers and bloodworms, you will need to build a scraper which you drag along the two 2-3 inches of the bottom. This usually looks like a metal net on a long handle with holes at the bottom for the water and silt to drain out. 

To scrape you will want some waders to walk in the river or lake while you scrape your way along collecting bloodworms and jokers. Be very careful and consider water safety though, as it can be very dangerous. 

Whether you choose to order bloodworms and jokers or to collect them yourself, you will need to know how to prepare them so they stay alive and be the best bait possible. Let’s take a look at that now. 

How To Keep Your Bloodworms And Jokers Fresh & Alive?

Once you have either bought or collected your bloodworms and jokers, you will want them to stay healthy and alive until you use them as bait. 

The first step is to remove any dead bloodworms or jokers from the batch as these will contaminate the water and kill the others. First, place a maggot riddle over a tray of water and pour the bloodworms and jokers on top. The live worms will wriggle their way through while the dead ones will be left on top, which can be thrown away. 

If you want to keep your bloodworms and jokers alive for a while then put them in a bucket of water with an aquarium pump, and be sure to change the water every week. 

When you are ready to take them fishing, use an aquarium net to scoop out as much as you need and then place it in some newspaper. The newspaper absorbs the moisture and stays damp which in turn keeps the bloodworms and jokers alive for the day while you go fishing with them. 

How To Fish With Bloodworms And Jokers?

The first thing you need to know about fishing with bloodworms and jokers is that the jokers are used as bait and the bloodworms are used on the hook. 

This is because jokers are much smaller than bloodworms and harder to place on the hook but you can use 3 jokers on a hook if you run out of bloodworms. 

The hard part about using jokers to bait your swim is getting them to the bottom since they are very light so they need a little help to get down to the fish and where your hooked bait will be. 

The key to fishing with these two natural foods is they should be used in conjunction with each other when fishing. 

Making Groundbait With Jokers 

You will want to grab some leam which is a kind of heavy clay dust and add this to your jokers. This will separate the jokers from one another and since it is natural, it won’t kill the jokers. 

You can then make groundbait balls using more leam and throw them into your swim – this is particularly effective for species like perch who don’t like unnatural groundbait. 

Or you can add the leam-covered jokers to your preferable groundbait mix for roach or carp, but you will need to get these groundbait balls into the water quickly as using salt in the groundbait will kill the jokers. 

Once the balls hit the water they sink to the bottom, getting your jokers where they need to be. The jokers will then wriggle out of the balls and start attracting fish. 

You can get leam through the same supplier that you get your bloodworms and jokers from.

Hooking Bloodworms  

Now that you have baited your swim with jokers, it is time to add a hooked bloodworm down there so you can start catching. Hook a single bloodworm through the middle using a size 24 or 26 fine wire hook and fish it under a float at the depth you choose. 

The bloodworm will survive for a while, wriggling on the hook amongst the jokers, and since it is a bit bigger, will entice a bite. You might also want to consider using a very thin fluorocarbon line so finicky fish don’t see the line when inspecting your hooked bait. 

Where Is It Best To Use Bloodworms And Jokers?

Canal fishing throughout the year and particularly in the
winter is the best time to use bloodworm

In my opinion, as the days get shorter and the colder weather sets in, then winter is the prime time for bloodworms and jokers. They are a favoured bait for wintertime angling, and when no other bait works well, then it is the time to get out these little wrigglers.

The other perfect time to use them is when you are fishing on the canal. Where there are smaller fish such as roach, skimmers, and perch may be feeding this is a great time to use them. They can also be used in conjunction with pinkies. 

Bloodworm And Jokers – FAQ

Can I Fish With Bloodworms And Jokers From The Aquarium Store?

Yes, aquarium shops have a good supply of bloodworms as they are used for feeding fish in home fish tanks. They are perfect for fishing use and are always fresh.

What Fish Eat Bloodworms And Jokers?

Every type of fish will be attracted to jokers and bloodworms. The nutrients and proteins they provide fish can be almost irresistible.

How Much Leam Do I Add To Jokers?

The amount of leam you add to the jokers can be difficult to judge. The key factor is the depth of your fishing area. Adjusting the leam amount to the groundbait mix has to be correct in order for the groundbait infused joker to reach the bottom.

Baiting Out 

Thanks very much for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed it and now know everything you need to know about bloodworms and jokers, plus how to catch fish with them.

They really are one of the most effective baits out there! Especially during the winter months.

Please share the article with your fishing buddies and why not take a look at some of our other articles? We cover everything from great fishing destinations around the globe to in-depth articles about Preston stotz weights

Steve Fitzjohn