Sandworms, or Beach worms, are a spectacular bait for a wide range of surf, and estuary fish.

The worms generally live close to the low-tide mark on many sandy beaches around Australia, and can be caught with the assistance of some smelly bait, a pipi, and a bit of skill.

The technique generally involves:

  • Waving fish carcases around in the water as the wave creeps up the beach. A stocking, or fish-keeper bag are usually good choices to keep the fish in.
  • Watching for 'worm heads' to appear above the sand as the water washes back out to the ocean.

Once you find an appropriately sized worm head:

  • Stake your bag up above the worm to keep him interested.
  • Roughly straddle the worms location, and wave a pipi around to the sandward side of the worm to bring him up again.
  • Allow the worm to take a bite or two out of the pipi. They will usually come up out of the sand (perhaps up to a centimetre), grab hold, arch, then drop back down out of sight once the water disappears.
  • SLOWLY and gently, insert your thumb and index finger on a diagonal into the sand behind the worm. Gradually work forward, and slowly close, until you think you're within around 2-3mm of touching the worm.
  • Just as the worm starts to arch, SLOWLY close your fingers, and then drag him out of the sand.

Some tips that could help you catch the big ones:

  • Try a small bit of stocking wrapped around your pipi. Keeps the worm attached for a few more milliseconds.
  • Wear a large rubber thimble on your thumb - it'll help your grip.

A neat video by Queensland fishing gear manufacturer, Alvey, shows how it's done.



Whiting and Dart particularly love beach worms, though Bream, Flathead, Blackfish, Mulloway, and many other species will jump at the chance to grab a worm.

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