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Bloodworm: Complete Guide to Fishing Uses & Applications

Bloodworm: Complete Guide to Fishing Uses & Applications

Bloodworm: Complete Guide to Fishing Uses & Applications 3.6/5 (73%) 8 votes

What is bloodworm? How is it used in fishing as fish feed and fishing bait?

Bloodworm is the common name given by many UK and European anglers and aquatics enthusiasts that exploit the aquatic larval stage of Chironomid (non-biting midges.) This is for uses as fishing bait in various formats and as live, freeze-dried and fresh frozen fish feed. They are a significant part of the naturally-occurring diet of fish particularly in regards to supply of essential protein constituents. These make bloodworm exceptionally attractive and feed-stimulatory to fish such as carp and other cyprinidae plus countless other species which find them irresistible.

Tubifex superficially look like bloodworm and are used as aquatic fish food, but are lacking in some important amino acids and may be vectors for diseases if harvested from polluted conditions such as open sewers and polluted lakes (in which they thrive,) so do beware. Farmed worms sourced via a trustworthy source that thoroughly checks their suppliers and products and follow UK health and safety laws, codes and European directives as CC Moore do, are much preferable than taking risks!

Tubifex can be found in severely polluted conditions that even fish that just about survive severely oxygen-depleted conditions like dwarf crucian carp or even bloodworm cannot survive in. As Cyprinus carpio originally evolved in flowing oxygenated rivers where the cleaner-living bloodworm have always been a primary food source makes bloodworm always the natural first choice as feed and bait!)

Bloodworm and tubifex used in fishing or aquatics are usually farmed commercially for instance in Asia in mud ponds the size of football fields. Demand is rising due to the relative low price of bloodworm, rapidly rising prices and depletion in world and regional fish stocks which have been traditionally used in fish feeds and for fishing bait applications. Fish such as carp are extremely well adapted to detecting bloodworm and their excretions in the water column in fact to the extent that in certain ways their adaptations of receptors and their densities and sensitivities, have very much been influenced by the presence of bloodworm in the aquatic environment as a primary source of essential amino acids and iron etc.

As bloodworm may be up to 94 percent liquid it is obvious to fishermen that when released into the water column in whole or other forms their highly attractive highly digestible components may be harnessed to stimulate, pull in and hold fish in a feeding state which is extremely favourable to catching them.

The first stage in many forms of bloodworm is a zooplanktonic stage followed by the benthic instar where the familiar segmented red larvae develop protected by silk tubes made in the bottom silt. These larvae progress from tiny pale opaque worms to the larger red larvae of 3 to 10 centimeters in length or longer over a period of as short a period as 2 – 3 weeks in optimum conditions. (The very largest bloodworm being found in the richest silt beds offering most nutrition suitable for them to grow.)

Bloodworm thrive in huge concentrations especially in still or slow moving waters with sedimented silty bottoms which offer perfect breeding conditions for these forms of flies and their larvae. As water temperature rise in the spring bloodworm concentrations can be so numerous that at times of dense blooms such as in rich mature deep silt beds of lakes, carp will become totally pre-occupied with consuming them.

Carp for instance are so well adapted to seeking out this protein-rich food that they will even feed on them for very prolonged periods with their heads totally buried in silt. Their highly-evolved sensory systems are capable of detecting the densest concentrations of bloodworms for the most energy-efficient feeding whether it is the peak of a bloodworm bloom or not at all. Bloodworm remain a natural food item even in the depths of winter though for carp they may be fewer and require more energy to find their nutritional value and digestibility and liquid content mean they are an ideal winter food and are absolutely perfect as part of any warm or cold water carp bait or free feed.

CC Moore “Super Slop” in whole and liquidised form which significantly includes bloodworm demands attention from anglers for endless technical reasons and the outstanding proven track record of these unique products. Attractive to many species, bloodworm and Super Slop can be exploited within free feeds even if carp are not present in your swim, to pull in other species whose feeding activities draw carp in that will monopolise the feeding situation. This applies to roach shoals in winter, or summer rudd, crucian carp, bream, tench, gudgeon, eels etc, bloodworm is effective for specimens of these but also for exploiting their activities to pull in big carp.

The size of bloodworm, their location and density at different times of year may be influenced by factors such as availability of decaying food matter, day length, water temperatures and consumption of larvae and adults by fish and fly-eating birds, and other predators. In optimum conditions up to 4 generations may occur within a year. Earlier in the year established bloodworm beds exploited as primary feeding areas can be eaten out by fish, and new bloodworm beds may develop and change fish feeding patterns and locations over the months of the year and may be used as a significant factor influencing the prediction of future feeding locations through the year and fishing successes.

Carp and other benthic-feeding fish can become totally pre-occupied harvesting these beds at optimum times of blooms and these can make carp for instance far more difficult more difficult to catch from around June to August. In terms of fishing, the potency of bloodworm can be harnessed in many ways to break cycles of pre-occupied behaviours of carp and other fish in order to hook them, as has been proven with the exploitation of actual bloodworm-based pellets and other baits such as boilies extremely rich in bloodworm amino acids.

Often bloodworms are mistaken as the larvae of mosquitoes, however there are many structural and behavioural differences and for instance bloodworm adults lack elongated biting mouthparts. While mosquito larvae mostly inhabit the surface layer, the ‘bloodworm’ exploited in fishing inhabit the bottom layers and silt of aquatic environments and do not live near the surface for purposes of breathing.

Bloodworms may be observed moving their bodies while sticking out of their burrows in order to filtration feed, and make body movements to increase oxygen intake alongside analogues of hemoglobin adaptations that increase oxygen and give bloodworm their distinctive red colour and enables them to live in low oxygen saturation conditions.

In common with many silt-living worms and larvae they live in burrows, lined with silk, existing as filtering collectors and burrow deeper or shallower according to temperatures and other conditions and are sensitive to threats, and as filtration gatherers sticking out of their burrows, will withdraw to safety down inside their burrows, as approaching divers filming carp and conditions underwater have observed.

The amino acid profile of bloodworm, its great attraction and its exploitation or duplication in some way, has been a point of great focus for carp and other anglers and is been used with enormous success for big carp in countless ways and combinations.

In analysis bloodworm is quoted to be approximately 8 crude percent protein and approximately 45-62 percent protein as dry matter. The use of fresh or stabilized liquidised bloodworm is highly effective used in many forms of baits. In the natural environment fish can detect the mass movements of bloodworm as they wriggle to attract more oxygenated water around them and filter feed while out or partially out of their self-made tubes in bottom silt.

Fresh live bloodworm example of uses and applications:

Match fishermen use a particular method of fishing live moving bloodworm by mixing it with fine clay powder to form balls of ground bait that keep fish feeding without filling them up as might bread-based or more ground bait. There are many lessons with bloodworm that carp anglers can take from match fishing including use of swim feeders, method feeders and loose feeding methods using bloodworm in combination with bloodworm pellets, maggots, and joker and so on.

Blast frozen bloodworms example of carp fishing uses and applications: 

These exceptionally potent bloodworms are ideal as slow sinking and suspended particulate free feed. They are also used directly upon the hook, and as feed within swim feeders. One example of their success used like this compared to use of an established HNV / BNV boilie is one particularly exceptional catch of big carp from Dream Lake 1 in France circa 2006 involving fresh frozen bloodworm applied to a swim by swim feeder and use of fresh and fake bloodworm and fake and live maggot on the hair rig.

Be aware that frozen bloodworm requires at minimum a cool box on longer sessions to keep fresh! As for live bloodworm treat them like delicate fresh raspberries – be gentle with them. Match men sieve them to remove any dead or damaged ones and wash and store them in damp newspaper in a cool place. This way they can last alive for a couple of days.

De-frosted frozen bloodworm require cooling and that bloodworm-dominated boilies are best kept cool. The aromas of de-frosted bloodworm need to be experienced to appreciate how potent they are!

Blast frozen bloodworm may be used as part of loose ground bait feeds e.g. with crushed hemp, maggots, particles, breadcrumb, crushed boilies, mixed pulses, whole and crushed seeds and nuts, boilie base mix ingredients additives and liquids and more. Blast frozen bloodworm may be used as the liquid binder within any paste, method mix or slop or stick mix, paste or boilie as they readily break open releasing body fluids.

Among the great advantages of blood worm in whole and semi-processed and preserved in liquid food type suspensions and complexes etc, is their neutral density in water. This property means that they sink very slowly and their particulates suspend in the water column while attracting and stimulating fish feeding.

Fish feeding modes of behaviours in such conditions can be exceptional due to the natural attraction of bloodworm constituents and particulate form which are ideal for inducing and promoting intensive competitive feeding among fish and holding fish for prolonged periods of time. This is where the largest fish monopolise the scenario leading to wary fish dropping their wariness much more with more chances of large wary fish being hooked, and multiple big fish catches possible.

Bloodworm may be used in a stabilising preserving medium along with other feed-triggering and attractive substances within a liquid food complex and applied as liquid binder in carp boilies, pastes, ground baits, pellet soaks, plastic and rubber bait odorants etc.

Stabilised or fresh-frozen bloodworm maybe used in baits as the sole liquid source or as part of a combination of true feeding trigger sources and excitants and attractants as part of whole fishing bait, such as within boilies, or pellets.

Bloodworm may be used for example with liquid crustacean and mollusk extracts such as mussel, or shrimp liquid extracts or with liquid yeast products, pre-digested fish protein, liquid molasses, CC Moore Krill Amino compound, liquid betaine, and among many others. It is part of an exceptional strong-smelling potently feed-triggering combination of bloodworm, mussel, krill and squid and other natural fish food constituents.

Bloodworm can be used as hook bait alongside fake bloodworm or maggots, or sandwiched either side of a pop up boilie for instance. It is an outstanding totally natural free feed on its own ideal for wary fish. Fish of countless species greedily devour bloodworm and there are endless ways to exploit this bait in different formats and endless varied combinations to fool wary fish.

For example use of frozen bloodworm in combination with green lipped mussel extract, fresh-frozen miniature water snails, chopped and whole mussels, Belachan powder and Belachan chunks and shavings, finely-chopped squid and squid powder, hydrolysed worm protein, bloodworm pellets, liquid bloodworm extract, bloodworm stick mix, Krill amino compound, hemp seed, betaine crystals etc.

A hook of small size such as 22 is ideal for hooking bloodworm for small species like roach, but for carp you can use it as with other fine particles and very soft materials such as crushed hemp, Belachan block or bread flake and use it in fine mesh netting tied to the back of the hook

Fishing over a bed of whole super slop, with a water soluble bag full of for example a combination of bloodworm pellets, liquid bloodworm extract, frozen bloodworm, and green-lipped mussel extract powder and betaine feed attached to the rig, is extremely effective. This kind of combination and approach has very many alternative variations for the imaginative angler fishing for wary fish.

A highly complimentary combination may be made using dried insect meal, green-lipped mussel extract, fresh-frozen miniature water snails, Vitamealo milk powder, crunchy kelp meal, spirulina, molasses meal, crushed hemp seed, dried bread flake, frozen bloodworms and freeze-dried bloodworms all soaked in corn steep liquor. This viscous highly palatable sweet liquor enables a suspension of highly attractive feed-triggering and fish-pulling items to be delivered next to the hook providing wary fish with a truly unique feeding experience.

Boilies and pastes can be based purely upon fresh-frozen bloodworms bound in some way. Very simple baits highly effective baits can be made using liquid or fresh-frozen bloodworm for instance just by progressively adding Belachan powder or corn steep liquor or both, with the inclusion of betaine to enhance function and effects of the amino acids released into the water column and in contact with fish receptors. Cyprivit vitamin supplement should not be over-looked. Be as generous as possible with your bloodworm when creating baits in various formats and you will be rewarded by the kind of catches anglers dream of.

Some people have gone to the lengths of de-hydrating bloodworms and creating exceptional highly stimulatory unique bloodworm-dominated baits that are a million miles away from the originally fashionable bloodworm coated pellets which initiated a bloodworm craze at one point. I found these pretty useless in comparative tests against homemade pastes based on bloodworm, and this led me to make my own homemade bloodworm pellets of various kinds for different fishing applications and situations.

On this note having tested them myself CC Moore Boosted Bloodworm pellets are unique in having fresh bloodworm through to the core so they continue to release potent attraction as they wash out and break down.

It’s up to you how much you want to tempt the wariest carp. Apart from using real bloodworm you can impregnate fake baits like maggots, red worm and fake bloodworm and all rig components – this can make all the difference to wary fish!

Be as creative with fresh bloodworm and bloodworm products because they are as adaptable as you can be creative. Bloodworm is as natural a bait to carp as can possibly be imagined; carp physicality and physiology has been shaped to an enormous degree by the presence of bloodworm and similar foods within their environment. This responsive evolution over millennia means carp are exceptionally sensitive to bloodworm and most effectively digest bloodworm in particular for their essential amino acids and iron. Bloodworm is effective at any time of year and is one bait format that anglers can have no fear at all of over-baiting with!

The size of bloodworm – carp filtrate feed upon these tiny filtration feeders – addictively; very much like whales feeding on krill as their primary food… (Krill Amino Compound liquid extract is an awesome compliment to bloodworm products!)

CC Moore fresh frozen bloodworm – has an awesomely potent natural aroma and abundance of natural juices (bloodworm are approximately 94 percent liquid,) and carp are highly adapted to detecting these!

Belachan block (fermented shrimp) to enhance the impacts of fresh frozen bloodworm as the basis of a uniquely potent totally natural bait.

bloodworm and belachan

Homemade bloodworm and Belachan baits.

bloodworm and belachan baits

Liquid bloodworm extract

bloodworm extract

Conventional naturally red (due to the haemoglobin) homemade bloodworm boilie: based on fresh frozen and stabilized liquid bloodworm extract. Frozen Bloodworm Extract

bloodworm frozen

 written by Tim Richardson

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