Bloodworms

Bloodworms are a very popular bait for a variety of fish species. Available at nearly every bait shop.
Baiting a hook is simple, just like any other worm. You just put a piece or the whole worm on the hook. However bloodworms are not like your ordinary night crawlers or dirt worms. Bloodworms are carnivorous and feed by extending a proboscis with four hollow jaws. Their venom is secreted into these jaws by glands. The venom slows down and kills crustaceans the bloodworms eat. The venom is harmless to humans but creates a stinging sensation much like a bee sting. There have been occasional allergic reactions to a bloodworm bite. Despite all that they are a very popular bait. Also good to feed your aquarium fish, but be careful they are rich in protein. Id bloodworms are not your cup of tea another popular bait is grass shrimp.

Bloodworms live up to the name. Their blood can be seen pumping through their pale skin, hence the name. Then you cut one open and it gets real messy as their blood pumps onto the bait cutting board.
Most people cut the heads off unless using the whole worm for bait. Some anglers use gloves when handling bloodworms. Once cut up, they ooze out all the “blood”, and the pieces are easy to handle with your fingers.

They are members of the genus Glycera which is a group of polychaetes (bristle worms) commonly known as bloodworms. We have polychaetes in our marshes and muddy areas of estuaries in Delaware. We find tons of them pulling ghost crab pots around the inland bays. The bloodworms we purchase in the bait shops are dug up in the mud flats of Maine.

Corby likes to test our bloodworms for taste and texture


Typically bloodworms reach a length of fourteen inches. The big worms are sold as jumbos. The issue at times with smaller bloodworms in shops is the ability of the diggers to find larger worms. Access from land is becoming more and more of an issue for the commercial bloodworm diggers. Many also dig clams for bait to sell to bait and tackle shops. When demand is up for clams and down for worms, clams take precedent at times.

bloodworms, port penn bait and tackle, route 9, delaware bay, augustine beach
Bloodworms are typically packed in dozens with a macro algae.



Bloodworms are packed in dozens with a bundle of wet macro algae. Keep them refrigerated and turn the package daily to keep the worms fresh. I have kept them alive for a week. The macro algae bloodworms are packed with is host to a lot of invasive species for other areas of the east coast. It is preferred that anglers dispose of the algae and packaging properly. Do not put it in the waters you are fishing, fresh or saltwater..

Bloodworm Packaging Carries Invasive Species

Fishbites Versus Bloodworms

Learn To Fish The Inland Bay Marsh Banks

bloodworms, invasive species, delaware, sussex county, kent county, new castle county, delaware tidal waters, bait worm study, University of Delaware,
Bloodworms poster seen in area bait shops … courtesy of John Ewart
Brochure on bloodworms disposal and invasive species, delaware, sussex county, UD sea grant program
Brochure on bloodworms disposal and invasive species

Comments are closed.