Redworms, Nightcrawlers, & Alabama Jumpers – Essential Guide to Fishing Worms

Last updated:
Disclosure: Some posts contain affiliate links, which earn us a commission if you make a purchase through them. Positive Fishing © participates in various affiliate networks including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.

Every fisherman across the world has used worms for fishing bait, but are you aware there are several different types of worms that can be used to catch fish?

We have put together all the facts and information you need to know as an angler about redworms, nightcrawlers, and Alabama jumpers. Worms are a key fishing bait, so it’s good to learn and understand more about these natural wrigglers!

In this article, we will review the following:

  • What are the different worms used for fishing?
  • Learn about their size, habitat, and environment
  • What fish like which type of worm?

If you are interested to start your own wormery, please read my in-depth guide on Worm Composting and How to make your own wormery here! If you use a lot of worms when going fishing then this is a great money-saving idea, as worms are not cheap to buy.

Without further ado, let’s get right to it.  

Red Worms

Red worms are easy to farm and grow very fast

Red worms – Eisenia Fetida – are nature’s top composting worms and are a great choice for worm farms. They go by various names, such as trout worms, composting worms, manure worms, tiger worms, and red wigglers.

They are easy to care for and can eat a huge amount of organic waste. Red worms can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, and reproduce fairly quickly. Whether you are enjoying an eco-friendly hobby, raising bait worms, or raising worms for composting, it is hard to beat redworms. 

Unlike common earthworms, Redworms don’t burrow deep into the soil. They live in the first few inches of the topsoil, right beneath the decomposing organic matter. From decaying leaves to animal manure, Redworms love it all.

The voracious appetite of Redworms makes them the champions of the compost bin. 

Size

They are usually small in size and don’t grow to be larger than 5 inches. However, don’t underestimate them – they can eat 3 times their weight in one week.

Habitat

They like to live in the form of colonies. You will find a writhing mass of worms around a food source. Since they maintain close contact, it makes them prolific breeders. To house over 1000 red worms, you will need only a 24”x24’ worm bin.

However, if you are raising bait worms, you need to keep in mind that red worms in crowded spaces will remain short and skinny. If you give them more room, they will plump up much better. 

Environment

They can easily withstand a wide range of temperatures. They thrive in temperatures between 18 C to 27 C. When the temperature takes a big shift up or down, try to keep the bedding below 29 C – red worms will die at these elevated temperatures.

Redworms can easily survive the frigid temperatures of the Northern Hemisphere countries. However, you will need to give them shelter and insulation. You can simply keep them in a trench that is filled with manure and cover them with straw or leaves.

Red worms need a moist environment. All worms breathe through their skin and cannot survive if the environment prevents them to breathe.

What Fish Like Redworms?

Redworms are a favorite food for crappies, perch, bluegills, bream, roach, and trout.

Tip: The worm can live up to 8 years and most have an average lifespan of about 2 Years.

NightCrawlers

The largest worms are the African Nightcrawlers

The next type of worms that we will discuss is the Nightcrawlers (Lumbricus Terrestris). They are one of the most popular and favorite live fishing bait options that anglers use.

In the UK, they are usually called the common earthworm or lobworm. Again, awesome for fishing for larger fish!

They have an obvious, raised clitellum. On the head side, they are relatively rounder while they are flatter on the tail side. They have a spade-shaped tail and have dark purplish color on their heads, which lightens as you go down towards the tail.

There are three kinds of Nightcrawlers.

  1. Canadian
  2. Euro
  3. African

Let’s take a look at each of them briefly.

1. Canadian Nightcrawlers

Size

Canadian Nightcrawlers are large in size when you compare them with other worms. On average, they are 7 inches in size. Moreover, they are thick as well. 

Habitat

These worms can be found in many different areas. They are typically found in forests, grassy areas, and gardens. They love agricultural soils and Canadians are deep borrowers compared to the other nightcrawlers. 

Environment

Canadian Nightcrawlers prefer the colder climate. All year round, they live at about 60 F in the soil. If you can maintain this temperature, then bins work well for them. They do, however, need a lot of decaying plant matter, such as grass clippings, leaves, etc. 

They don’t break down food waste as well as other composting worms. You need to keep them shaded from the sun. They do need a little bit of moisture, to help with the oxygen exchange, but don’t do well in too much water. 

2. Euro Nightcrawlers / Dendrobaena

European nightcrawlers are more commonly
known to anglers as Dendrobaena

European Nightcrawlers (Eisenia Hortensis) are becoming a popular breed for worm farms as they are great picks for vermicomposting. They go by different names and are called Super Redworms, Belgian Nightcrawlers, Euros, ENCs, and several other names.

They are easy to raise and reproduce fairly quickly. They are fairly hardy and strong, grow large in size, and love table scraps. 

European nightcrawlers are well-known bait for catching fish in rivers and streams. They are very lively and fish of many species cannot resist the wriggling!

If you want to raise bait worms, it can’t get better than using Euro worms. 

Size

They have a great appetite and they grow large in size, on an average 7 inches long and thick as a pencil. However, when you compare them with Redworms, they eat almost half their body weight each day.

Habitat

They dig deeper than Redworms but are still top feeders. They thrive well in the topsoil, close to all the decomposing organic matter. From decaying leaves to wood and animal manure, Euros love it all. 

They are colony dwellers and they don’t mind living in close quarters. This makes them quick breeders as well. However, if you want to grow them as bait worms, give them some space. 

Environment

ENCs are fairly tolerant of temperature fluctuations and changes in the environment. They do great in temperatures between 15 C to 21 C. They can withstand temperatures from 45 F to 80 F. If the temperature is below 45 F, you will have to protect them from the cold.

Tip: Anglers typically know these worms as Dendrobaena

3. African Nightcrawlers

African Nightcrawlers (Eudrilus Eugeniae) are native to warmer regions of West Africa, but are now being used in vermicomposting and bait worms in subtropic and tropic climates all around the globe. Since they have voracious appetites and can quickly reproduce, they are popular amongst anglers and composters. 

However, they have warm weather roots and can’t tolerate harsh environmental conditions, unlike European Nightcrawlers and Redworms. 

Size

They are reddish-purplish in color and grow over 8 inches in size. ANCs are large and muscular as compared to other Nightcrawlers. They can eat almost 1.5 times their body weight in one day. 

Habitat

ANCs thrive near the surface layer of topsoil and are voracious eaters. They literally gobble up anything around them. They like to crawl around and explore. Therefore, if you are keeping them in bins, keep a tight lid on them and keep a light above the bin. 

They love living in close quarters, but similar to any other worms, you need to give them some extra room to plump them up as bait worms. 

Environment

They are not very cold tolerant but do have the advantage of having the ability to withstand higher temperatures. They can thrive easily in a temperature range of 21C – 29C. You can let the temperatures be as high as 90 F, but certainly not more than that.

If you live in cooler climates, simply house them indoors while keeping an eye on the temperatures.

Tip: Worms are both male and female (called Hermaphrodites) However, while worms have both male and female sexual organs, a worm cannot produce offspring alone.

What Fish Like Nightcrawlers?

All kinds of fish love to eat nightcrawlers. In particular perch, bass, bream, and trout are particularly keen to eat these most common types of worms.

Alabama Jumpers

Alabama jumpers are good for your garden but do not make a good worm for vermicomposting

Alabama Jumpers (Amynthus Gracilus) is native to Asia and invasive to North America, but they are very common worm found across the United States. Growing Alabama Jumpers by vermicomposting is not as easy as nightcrawlers or redworms, due to the huge amount of leaves they eat, and they tend to bury themselves into the bottom of a vermicomposter.

They are a favorite of many anglers and using them will guarantee to catch fish. However, they are expensive worms to buy. They prefer the warmer and damper soil and are more frequently found in the southernmost states of the USA. They are also called crazy worms or snake worms. 

Size

They are also known as Asian Jumpers and are reddish-brown in color. They grow almost 7 inches in size, on average. They wiggle very energetically, thus the name Jumpers, and can actually jump out of your hand very easily.

Habitat

They like living in soil and love digging deep. Therefore, they are more like traditional earthworms than composting worms. However, they do come up to the topsoil to feast on the decomposing organic matter. They can easily thrive in sandy soil and clay as well. 

Environment

Even though they can withstand a wide range of temperatures, they don’t tolerate temperature swings as well as European Nightcrawlers and Redworms. They are tropical worms and do best in temperatures between 70 F and 80 F. 

They don’t die off in cold temperatures but also don’t thrive well and will not be as healthy. Therefore, it is better if you keep a close watch on the storage temperatures. 

Tip: Limit the number of species in a worm farm, otherwise the reproductive rate of the worms will drop significantly.

What Fish Like Alabama Jumpers?

Alabama jumpers being larger than most worms are a favorite food for bigger fish such as bass, perch, and trout.

Final Thoughts

Worms are found all over the world and can thrive if kept and raised at the right temperatures and also given the right food source. Whether you raise worms as a hobby or a school project they can be fun to take care of with little effort.

If you are looking for great tips and methods on the best ways to catch fish with worms, check out my in-depth article here!

Or if you use worms in large amounts and need a plentiful supply, my guide on composting and how to make your own wormery will be an extremely useful source of information. 

If you enjoyed reading this article, please check out my series of other articles on all types of fishing baits here!