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.