For centuries, nightcrawlers and other earthworms have been used as bait to catch fish. In freshwater, they are one of the most common baits.
Nightcrawlers and other types of worms are available from tackle shops, sporting goods suppliers, and even from department stores.
For panfish, worms are usually cut into small pieces and fished on small hooks. In some fisheries, large nightcrawlers are rigged whole and drifted, casted or trolled slowly.
One of the most famous freshwater rigs combines a spinner, beads, and tandem rigged hooks upon which live nightcrawlers are rigged.
Live worm rigs can be highly effective for catching rainbow trout, largemouth bass, walleye, and other species.
Soft plastic artificial worms have long been touted as an alternative traditional bait fishing. Through technological innovations, tackle companies combined the convenience of artificial worms with the scent of natural baits.
The result was a proliferation of synthetic worm baits. Pre-packaged worm baits look and smell natural, yet can be easily stored. Anglers sometimes report success when using synthetic baits, despite their lack of wiggling action on the hook.