A large worm, up to 20cm, living in the sand in the intertidal zones
of the beach. They are red-brown colored and live about 40cm under the
surface of the wet beach. The sandworm or lugworm is used as a populair
fishing bait to catch bass from beaches. The lugworm has many
enemies: krabs, flatfish and sea birds like the seagull.
A young lugworm .The gills stick to body if the worm isn't in
the seawater. The lugworm can become 8 years old.
With thanks to Bert of Topsybaits
How to catch lugworms
If you dig up the lugworm use a garden fork and
dig a trench and work along it filling it in
as you go. This is the most economical way for
collecting lugworms. When digging lugworm, back fill
all the holes as you dig. This minimises the scar
and allows the environment to quickly recover.
If fishing in summertime, keep the lugworm out
of the sun. Hot water can make them
sluggish or even kill them. Only touch
with wet hands , to avoid removing the
worms protective slime layer.
The best time and place for digging
Look for a place were there are a lot of casts on
the beach. Worms can be found between the holes and
the casts. Best time is at the end of the ebbing,
as the new tide start the worms go up in there holes.
Bad wheather (low air pressure) is a good time for digging.
Freezing wheather makes that the worms go deeper in there holes.
The lugworm can be found in the holes on the wet beach.
The casts of the lugworm contain mostly sand.
The head of the lugworm.
The lugworm uses both its skin and gills for the
exchange of oxygen with the seawater.
On a higher magnification the gills are visible.
living with little oxygen.
The lugsworm lives in a environment without oxygen
So they have to supply there oxygen by propeling seawater
through theire hole. During an ebbing period there is no seawater
supply possible and in this situation the worm can survive
for 5 hours without oxygen.
The skin is permeabel for oxygen, but has external gills
for more oxygen uptake. Most of the absorbed oxygen isn't
used by the worm itsself but by the bacteria in its gut.
By supplying oxygen for its bacteria the worm
helps the bacteria to breaks down the
food the worm has eaten: debris, other
worms, bacteria and small shrimps.
That food can be found on the surface
of the seabottom but also between the sandgrains
(meiofauna). If you want to know more about meiofauna
on the beach, please read:
The sandworm on the beach. A photo made by Ilonka
Putting a lugworm on a hoke..
The lugworm as a bait
The lugworm spreads a strong flavor that attracts other fiss
like bass. But the worm on does so a bout a 15 minutes long.
If lugworms are stored for more then a dy the don't attract
fishes at all.Read more about this subject at: Flatvis