Can You Use Earthworms For Sea Fishing?

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When it comes to the most popular baits for fishing, the good old earthworm, AKA the nightcrawler, is probably the most popular of all. Fish of all sorts just really seem to love those earthworms, and it’s almost impossible not to catch something when you’re using live earthworms as bait.

With that being said, earthworms are generally seen as freshwater fishing bait. So, can you use earthworms for sea fishing?

Yes, you can use earthworms for sea fishing, particularly for those fish that are generally in inlets, coves, and in any inshore areas. However, although earthworms are the fishing bait of choice in freshwater, it’s not the first type of worm that most people would go with for saltwater fishing.

What Kind Of Worms Do You Use For Saltwater Fishing?

types of worms for saltwater fishing

Let’s take a quick look at some of the worms that you have at your disposal to use as bait when saltwater fishing.

There are actually a few different types of worms that you can use, and yes, this does include the nightcrawler.

Blood Worms

One of the best types of worms that you can use for saltwater fishing is the bloodworm. As the name of this worm implies, it is blood red in color.

On an interesting side note, it is not actually the exterior of the bloodworm that is so bright red, but the interior.
The skin of the blood worm is translucent, which means that the red interior, mainly the blood and the organs are visible.

This bright red coloration is excellent for fishing because it is very easy for fish to see, even at relatively great distances.

Moreover, bloodworms are already naturally occurring in oceans, which means that fish are already used to them and already see them as a source of food.

Bloodworms have quite the salty smell that most fish simply cannot resist. If you are fishing for sea trout, bluefish, whiting, flounder, porgy, or striped bass, then the blood worm is a great bait to go with.


Clam Worms

Clam worms may also be called sandworms or ragworms. They look almost like a mix between a worm and a millipede, with long bodies, sensory feelers, tentacles, and more.

Yeah, these are some nasty and scary looking worms, but they do tend to perform very well in saltwater fishing applications, which is why they are so readily available in bait and tackle shops close to the ocean.

This type of worm will not deteriorate quickly on your hook, and it appears to be great at attracting fish, particularly due to the fact they wriggle a whole lot.

Moreover, just like bloodworms, clam worms are already naturally occurring in the ocean, which means that fish already see them as food.

Clam worms work really well for catching sea trout, flounder, striped bass, blackfish, whiting, porgy, rockfish, surf perch, and whiting. 

The Earthworm AKA the Nightcrawler

Today’s article is mostly about earthworms or nightcrawlers, so we cannot neglect putting this on the list.

Generally speaking, especially for freshwater fishing, earthworms are seen as some of the best bait around.

They can survive underwater for an unimaginable amount of time, and they’re always wriggling around, thus attracting the eyes of hungry fish.

Moreover, earthworms do also release quite a strong scent, something else that helps to attract fish. Earthworms are of course good to use because they are large and fairly easy to keep on the hook.

However, the issue with earthworms and saltwater fishing is the fact that saltwater causes them to rapidly deteriorate and fall off the hook.

It may take only a few minutes for an earthworm to fall off the hook when saltwater fishing.

Also, the ocean is full of really tasty and salty food, so saltwater fish may not recognize earthworms as food or at the very least might not be interested in them and may opt to pass them up for saltier treats.


There are of course other types of worms that can be used for saltwater fishing.

There are plenty of worms that are used for freshwater fishing, which could also be used in the ocean.

These include other types such as;

  • wax worms
  • red wigglers
  • mealworms
  • butter worms
  • leaches.

With all of that being said, the two worms other than the nightcrawlers that we just discussed are the most widely used worm baits for saltwater fishing.

What Are The Best Worms For Saltwater Fishing?

When it comes down to it, both bloodworms and clam worms are excellent fishing bait for saltwater applications.

With that being said, if you were a newbie and you want the best chances of getting a fish on the hook, then you probably want to try using clam worms as they tend to attract more fish varieties than bloodworms.

However, if you’re fishing in darker or murky waters, then you probably want to use the much brighter colored bloodworm, as it is much easier for fish to see.

Just keep in mind that bloodworms can bite your fingers, so be careful when putting them on your hook.

5 Great Alternative Baits for Sea Fishing

saltwater fishing on a beach

OK, so you just don’t like worms, you don’t like the look of them, you don’t like the feel of them, and you don’t want to bother trying to put them on a hook either.

So, what are some of the other best baits to use for sea fishing?

1. Clams

A fan favorite bait for saltwater fishermen is the good old clam. You can really use any type of clam for saltwater fishing bait.

Clams are very tasty, and they release a whole lot of smell, thus making them ideal for attracting a wide variety of fish species.

Using clams as bait will most likely allow you to catch sea trout, flounder, striped bass, porgy, Whiting, rockfish, Blackfish, and surf perch.

The only reason why some people don’t like using clams is because they can be very tough to keep on the hook. On that note, it is recommended that you use fresh clams, as fresh seafood will stay on the hook much better.

Old clams and even frozen clans will deteriorate very quickly and will probably fall off of your hook during the first cast.

2. Crabs

There are of course many different crab species out there, and they all work quite well at luring in a variety of fish.

Three of the most popular types of crabs to use for saltwater fishing bait include soft shell crabs, fiddler crabs, and blue crabs.

What you need to know here is that hard shell crabs are best for luring in fish like black drum and tarpon, whereas soft shell crabs are best for luring in snook, redfish, Blackfish, as well as tarpon and black drum.

You can also use smaller pieces of crab for other small fish. What is convenient about using crabs as bait is that you really don’t have to pay for them, because if you’re near the ocean you should be able to find them on your own.

All you have to do is find some shallow areas and drop in a hook with a chicken bone, and this should attract plenty of crab. 

3. Squid

Squid have tentacles and they smell fairly strong too, making them excellent fishing bait for saltwater applications.

Yes, you can use frozen squid, but you’ll have the same problem as with frozen clams, or in other words, frozen squid won’t stay on the hook very well and will most likely deteriorate within just a couple of casts.

It is best if you buy fresh squid from a bait shop. Keep in mind that a small piece of squid will work just fine for most fish, but if you’re looking to catch bluefish, redfish, or striped bass, then using a whole squid is recommended.

4. Shrimp

Another fan favorite when it comes to saltwater fishing baits is the shrimp.

What’s cool here is that you can use virtually any type of shrimp and catch virtually any type of saltwater fish. In fact, Shrimp might just be the number one type of bait to use for saltwater fishing.

What’s also cool about using shrimp as bait is that you can have them on top of the water right at the bottom of the ocean floor or anywhere in the middle to.

Moreover, you can use more or less any kind of fishing setup when using shrimp as bait. Shrimp are definitely very versatile in this sense.

5. Other Fish

Yes, of course. Using other fish as bait works really well too. There are tons of fish that work effectively as saltwater fishing bait.

Just some of these include;

  • Atlantic croaker
  • ballyhoo
  • bull minnows
  • blue runners
  • glass minnows
  • cigar minnows
  • menhaden
  • herring
  • pilchards
  • mullet
  • shad
  • sand perch
  • sardines
  • smelt
  • threadfin herring



As you can see, there are plenty of awesome types of bait that you can use for saltwater fishing, with various types of seafood, such as clams, squids, and shrimp generally being the best.

With that being said, bloodworms and clam worms work really well too, and yes, you may also use earthworms, although it is generally not the number one choice that you would go with.