Bait collecting

Bait collecting for sea fishing is not an impossible task if your strapped for cash and you want to go fishing, After wandering around a shore line for about an hour you can have enough bait for a whole nights fishing!

Most baits listed below can be found by digging, using what is called a lugworm pump, looking under rocks, setting a bait trap, using a rake, feathering, using a net to scoop fish a and shrimp, pushnet, cast nets, seine nets.

We have compiled a list of baits you can collect quite easily and how to find, use and store them.

Digging Ragworm

Ragworm is the bait equivalant of caviar, No matter what species you are targetting you can almost guarantee they would eat it! Ragworm can be bought from most tackle shops at a rough price of 10 a pound, so digging your own ragworm can be very cost effective.

Digging ragworm mind is no easy feat and you will realise just how hard the bait diggers have to work to earn their money! Nevertheless dont be put off, To start with you need a good digging fork one with flat spikes is best and a strong design as you will encounter some big rocks!

Next you need to find a mark, many fisherman know of somewhere to dig ragworm so its worth asking around failing that look around your local harbours and estuaries around low tide to see if you can spot any bait diggers out there. Ragworm tend to live in mud or a sand, mud or gravel mixture. Look around the ground for holes of where the ragworm have emerged or entered, this can be difficult to spot so keep a sharp eye out! Once you find suitable ground dig in front of the hole working your way back to the hole as quickly as possible as the worm will try to go deeper. Once you find the worm be gentle when trying to prize it out of the whole as it will break easily, if neccasary dig underneath the work to catch it.

Once you have found a worm dig around that hole making it larger and larger, Usually there will be a colony of ragworm in the area.

Storing ragworm for a short time is very simple simply place them in a bait bucket with a small amount of sea weed and some fresh sea water and store in a cool shady place.

If you wish to store ragworm for a longer amount of time they can be stored in a tray, a cat litter tray works well. Store them in fresh sea water with torn up newspaper in the tray in a fridge changing the water for fresh sea water every few days, also check the worms daily for dead ones and remove them as soon as you find them as they can contaminate and kill the other worms.

Using ragworm as bait ragworm is one of the easiest baits to use, thread a few ragworms on a hook through the mouth to the tail (watch the pincers :) you can use ragworm as a cocktail, tiped with squid, mackerel strip, sandeel fillet can be lethal for a variety of fish

The types of ragworm are King Ragworm, White Ragworm, Harbour Ragworm and artifical ragworm.

digging ragworm

Lugworm can be collected through three diffrent methods you can use a lugworm pump also known as a bait pump you can also dig for lugworm using a spade some prefer a fork. The method I will talk about is the most common a bait pump shown below
bait pump

To find the lugworm you need to locate a sand and muddy beach usually on beaches and estuaries. Lugworm make casts followed by small holes in the ground
lugworm casts

The best way to dig lug is too dig 1 foot back from the cast and dig in towards it in a straight line as quickly as possible because lugworm move quick! When you find the worm dig below it to make sure you get the whole worm.
digging lugworm

To store lugworm use the same method as ragworm and store in a tray of fresh sea water changing every few days but with some added seaweed, Alternatively lugworm can be frozen bundled in packs of 5 in newspaper and work just as well frozen.

Using lugworm as bait to bait up with lugworm they can be thread up the hook in the same fashion as ragworm or threaded on to a bait needle and then transferred on to a hook, Use a few at a time and add a squid slice on the end of the hook for an excellent cod bait.

Peeler crab

Softback crab

Spider crab

Hardback crab

Slipper limpet






Razor fish


Hermit crab




Small live fish i.e. pouting, wrasse, pollock








launce sandeel

White ragworm


Black lug



Preserved bait

Yellow Tails


Calamari Squid



Below is the tools and methods you can use to catch your bait.

  • Cast Net
  • Push Net
  • Seine Net
  • Digging fork
  • Lugworm pump
  • Bait trap
  • Feathers
  • Squid Jigs
  • Garden rake
  • Vingler
  • A landing net
  • Drop Net
  • Bait pump

Sea fishing groundbaiting

Using groundbait when sea fishing is not common pratice apart from when mullet fishing, although it can be deadly when shore fishing or boat fishing.

Bait attractants and oils

  • Sardine/Dogfish oil
  • Mackerel Oil
  • WD40
  • Pilchard Oil

Bait Tanks

Using a bait tank can be very beneficial and you can keep a wide variety of species, making it work however is a very diffrent story.

Baits for catching..

Baits for catching Cod

Baits for catching Conger

Baits for catching Whiting

Baits for catching Shad

Baits for catching Mackerel

Baits for catching Plaice

Baits for catching Pollack

Baits for catching Sole

Baits for catching Flounder

Baits for catching Bass

Baits for catching Ling

Baits for catching Gurnard Tub

Baits for catching Wrasse

Baits for catching Ballan Wrasse

Baits for catching Salmon

Baits for catching Sea trout

Baits for catching Eels

Baits for catching Pouting

Baits for catching Poor cod

Baits for catching Weaver

Baits for catching Greater Weever

Baits for catching Sunfish

Baits for catching Tuna

Baits for catching Thresher Shark

Baits for catching Tope

Baits for catching Smoothhound

Baits for catching Dogfish

Baits for catching Bullhuss

Baits for catching Ray

Baits for catching Skate

Baits for catching Rockling

Baits for catching Sandeel

Baits for catching Cuttlefish

Baits for catching Haddock

Baits for catching Halibut

Baits for catching Coalfish

Baits for catching Herring

Baits for catching Sprats

Baits for catching Monkfish

Baits for catching Anglerfish

Baits for catching Trigger fish

Baits for catching Bream

Baits for catching Mullet

Baits for catching Red mullet

Baits for catching Turbot

Baits for catching Brill

Tags: UK sea fishing reports Fishing Tackle Charter boat fishing Shore fishing