Catalpa worms what are they?

Discussion in 'Channel Catfish' started by dakid, Jun 10, 2006.

  1. dakid

    dakid New Member

    Messages:
    26
    State:
    Palos Hills Illinois
    what is Catalpa worms and where can i buy them. does anyone have a link or a website where i can look at them
     
  2. dakid

    dakid New Member

    Messages:
    26
    State:
    Palos Hills Illinois
    i heard channel cats love them
     

  3. chubbahead

    chubbahead Member

    Messages:
    332
    State:
    Ohio
    Catalpa worms are more like a caterpillar than a worm. They are on one type of tree, I think usually later in the summer. It is the type of tree that has the big bean stalk kinda things hanging from them. Not sure the name of the tree, I have always called it a catalpa tree. They are good channel bait, especially in lakes in ponds. I have never tryed them in a river.
     
  4. mobowhtr

    mobowhtr Member

    Messages:
    102
    State:
    MO
    catalpa worms are the larva of a moth, the worms (catipillers) feed on the leaves of catalpa trees, hence the name. They are green, white and black striped, and sorry but I don't know of any place where you can buy them, but I do know that catfish love them.
     
  5. metalfisher

    metalfisher New Member

    Messages:
    188
    State:
    Arkansas
    Mobow is correct. It is the catapiller of the Sphinx moth.

    You can probably find pictures on teh web somewhere.

    They used to be sold in bait shops in small packages of about 10, but, I haven't seen them in a while.

    If you find a Catalpha tree with worms, remember where it is. Not all trees produce worms each year.

    Gather the worms by shaking the tree "violently and suddenly" causing them to fall to the ground. Put the worms in a jug of water. The worms will gorge on the water and get very stiff and immoble.

    They are not dead! They will last in this suspended state for about 3 days before dieing. Once they die, they turn very black.

    Do not throw them away!! Freeze them in ziploc bags since they are still good bait. Fish have a very hard time getting them off the hook but love them.

    Robert
     
  6. MRR

    MRR New Member

    Messages:
    4,947
    State:
    Louisiana,Mo.
    just Type In Ca Talpa Worms And It Should Take You To A Web Site On Them Hope This Helps. They Are A Green Worm And They Eat Catalpa Tree Leaves. If You Find A Tree And See The Leaves Are Being Eatin Chances Are It Has The Worms On It. If You Get Enough Of Them You Can Also Freeze Them For Later Use. I Believe That Web Site Tells All Of That. Best Of Luck On Your Search.
     
  7. prince

    prince Member

    Messages:
    118
    State:
    Arkansas
    http://www.catalpaworms.com/

    BTW: The first 'crop' of catalpa worms have come and gone in Central Arkansas (hoping for a fall / late summer crop - fingers crossed)
     
  8. wishiwasfishin

    wishiwasfishin New Member

    Messages:
    776
    State:
    kentucky
    seems to me they work the best when water warms up.
     
  9. kjcat

    kjcat New Member

    Messages:
    12
    State:
    Pennsylvania
    I take it there are more in the southern states, I can't say I've seen any in PA. Any one ever tried the "tent caterpillars"??

    Keith
     
  10. Big Country

    Big Country New Member

    Messages:
    14
    State:
    Union County, Kentucky
    hey man the best way that i have found to use the worms is to cut their heads off and then stick a match stick up their hind quarters and turn them inside out then put them on the hook they are awesome bait
     
  11. chubbahead

    chubbahead Member

    Messages:
    332
    State:
    Ohio

    I'm not exactly sure where you live in Pennsylvania, but I bet you do have them. You just have to look for them. Look for trees that have the beanstalk things. I'm not exactly sure what they are called. Look around August or later, that is when they come out around Ohio.
     
  12. Gordhawk

    Gordhawk New Member

    Messages:
    1,378
    State:
    Iowa
    Everything that has been said so far about catalpa worms is right on target. They are definitely good catfish bait. The only problem I have around here is finding them. There used to be all kinds of them around here back in the 50's & 60's when my father & I were commercial fishing. I'm starting to get into rod & reel fishing now and guess what,the places we used to get plenty of worms,those same trees have no worms on them. I would give about anything to get my hands on some. Just because you have found worms on trees in the past does not mean they'll be on those same trees forever.
     
  13. jkart17

    jkart17 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    State:
    Indiana
    Go to www.thebaitbarn.com and you can order them.I have used Catalpa worms for alot of years with great sucess.I have been in their shop and seen them there and they ship.I collect them off the trees in my woods and freeze them.They work just as good unthawed as they do fresh.
     
  14. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,175
    State:
    NC
    They are catfish CRACK!!!

    Just like deer can not resist corn, catfish can not resist catalpa worms. break them open slightly so the ooozy stuff comes out. YUUUUUUM!!!
     
  15. Jammer

    Jammer New Member

    Messages:
    584
    State:
    Tennessee
    Catulpa Worms are great bait. They only come out in Ohio around early August. I have a few trees scoped out that seem to have them every year. The owners are happty to have me pick them off. Most of the trees in my area do not have them. But, the ones that do seem to have them every year. I keep them in an old aquarium with some of the leaves to use. If I have extra I freeze them loose in a baggie.
     
  16. mudman

    mudman New Member

    Messages:
    10
    State:
    North Carolina
    They are like a catapiler and i have found them to work very well on channel cats.:lol:
     
  17. davesoutfishing

    davesoutfishing New Member

    Messages:
    479
    State:
    Menominee Michigan
    Catalpa Worm and Catfish Links
    Buy Catalpa Worms Online!
    (Coming Soon!)

    History and Biology of Catawba Worms

    Brotherhood of Catfishermen

    Fishing Equipment






































































































































































    How to Fish for Catfish with Catalpa Worms
    If you have never experienced fishing for catfish with Catalpa Worms, often called Catawba Worms, then you have missed one of the best kept bait secrets in the sport. Catalpa "worms" are actually caterpillars, the larval stage of the Catalpa Sphinx moth, which "infests" exclusively various species of Catalpa Trees. We place the word "infests" in quotes because the negative connotation of this word doesn't necessarily apply. In fact, Catawba worm farmers go to great lengths to ensure their trees become infested (perhaps occupied is a better term.) An occupied Catalpa tree can produce hundreds of caterpillars each year that can be harvested and used for bait either alive, or preserved frozen. At prices as much as $10.00 per dozen occupied trees and the worms they produce can be quite a commodity. Methods of encouraging and maintaining occupation as well has harvesting and preserving catalpa worms are carefully guarded (and even patented) processes. Scoop up Catawba worms under a random Catalpa tree from the Carolinas down through East Texas, and you might find yourself on the business end of a Smith and Wesson. This is not advisable. You can purchase them here without fear of retribution!

    Southern Tradtion and Catfish Bait
    Southerners are proud of the sport of Cat fishing. With its unique blend of art, science, skill, and luck a proficient catfisherman is a respected angler. There are more bait formulas, and local 'tricks-of-the-trade' for catfish than for any other species- by far. Walk into any local good ol' boy bait shop in the south and you will find a different "tried and true" bait or method at each one. And with each you will become initiated in the local chapter of the "I don't tell this to just anyone, but" club. At the end of the day, it is the taste of the freshwater catfish that will win just about any one over. Whether fried, grilled or blackened, there are few fish that can measure up to the sweet, mild taste of the catfish.

    The Catawba Worm Connection
    One bait that is virtually universal in its use and its appeal to catfish is the Catalpa worm. While its true that catfish will devour nearly anything when they are feeding aggressively (we have found sticks, rocks, and even a full sized chicken leg bone inside eviscerated catfish), the true measure of a bait is how it performs when the fish are less active, or dormant. Catalpa worms have the unique ability to spark a natural predatory feeding response in catfish. In less technical terms, when they smell the green juice that oozes from the worm, they simply cannot resist eating. In our early research we experienced a dramatic demonstration of this. During a 2-hour stretch, we landed 8 catfish on the single pole baited with Catalpa worms fishing the north end of Lake Conroe in Southeast Texas. The other poles, one baited with Night crawlers, one with Shrimp and a third with blood bait (three East Texas favorites) were untouched over the span. It was obvious that the catfish "weren't biting" but they simply were unable to pass on the Catawba bait. This took our curiosity about Catalpas and turned it into a fascination (our better halves might say, "obsession").

    How To Bait a Catawba Worm, How to Fish with Catalpa Worms
    But, as with any catfish bait, there are right, and wrong ways to fish with Catalpa worms. Used incorrectly the bait can be completely ineffective, and this could partially explain why the Catalpa worm is "the best bait no-one ever heard of" as our local bait shop owner has said.

    There is one immutable, universal point about fishing with Catawbas. They must be cut, or torn. From that point forward there are several different approaches that can be taken, but with out that first step, you will be wasting your time. The innards of the Catalpa worm MUST ooze into the water. Another common theme in our research and experience is that Catalpas are most effective when fished on the bottom. Even in lakes where fishing for catfish with suspended bait is the common method, bottom fishing with Catalpas seems to prove most effective. The allure of the Catalpa is the scent of the intestinal ooze. It is our theory that if fished suspended, this "cloud" will tend to spread more thinly and sink to the bottom. Perhaps this leaves catfish scrambling the bottom for a bait that isn't there. With the bait on the bottom the scent will hang very closely to the bait, luring the catfish more easily to the source (conveniently served on a barbed hook).

    So, we recommend fishing catalpas with a lead weight appropriate for the depth and topography of the bottom, placed 6-10 inches from the hook. Our favorite rigging method is described in the next paragraph. If you already have a favorite method for bottom-rigging shrimp, Nightcrawlers, or other single hook baits, then skip down to how to use the Catawba worm most effectively.

    How We Rig Our Lines for Catalpa Worms
    For our preferred rigging method you will need a 3/8 to 5/8 oz slip (egg) weight, a double-eyed swivel, and a #6 straight or circle hook. Begin by cutting 2 feet of line from your reel. We recommend ONLY Berkley Trilene Big Game. (It's the only line). This will become you leader. Double this stretch of line and run the "open" end (the two tips of your leader line) through one eye of the swivel. Pull it about half way through and then thread it through the "loop" of line on the other side of the swivel. Pull the end through the loop until tight. This creates a "slip" noose around the eye of the swivel. Then, tie your favorite knot to attach the hook. You should now be tying a double line, and most knots will work just as well, if not better. Slide the slip weight up the line on your pole and then tie on the other loop in the swivel below it attaching your rig to the pole line. This places the slip weight above the swivel. The swivel prevents the weight from dropping down to the hook, and allows it to freely slide up the line. We like this rig for several reasons.
    1. It is strong! Most line breaks occur within 12 inches of the hook. With this rig, you are more than doubling the strength of this section of line. With use of a quality line (we prefer Trilene Big Game) it is virtually unbreakable. Also, tying a weight in the middle of the line greatly weakens the line at the tying point. It is our opinion you should never tie a weight in the middle of a line, above the hook.
    2. It provides maximum feel. Without a weight tied to the line, you will feel even the slightest movement of the bait. If catfish are absolutely not feeding, they will often simply put the catalpa in their mouth and sit. With this rig you can feel this activity. At other times, catfish will attack the catalpas aggressively. Without a quick set by the angler, the bait will be swallowed, increasing the time and danger (we have all experienced the catfishes dorsal fin!) involved in de-hooking. Great feel with a quick set will also save the lives of smaller catfish that would be returned to the water.
    3. It can help prevent hang-ups, and make dislodging hang-ups easier.

    Catalpa Worm Fishing Techniques
    Once you have a satisfactory bottom rig, it is time to explore what we have found to be the most effective methods of using this catfish bait. Based on our field-testing, we have categorized three methods for using Catawba worms, based upon the relative activity level of the catfish, and to a lesser extent the type of water you are fishing in. These methods should be used as a general guide, or starting point. Experiment with your local fishery and tweak these methods to produce the best results for you.


    1. When fish are dormant, it is recommended that the entire catalpa worm be used. Die-hard anglers will begin by biting the head off the Catawba worm, and then use the head of a match to push the tail through the open end of the caterpillar, turning it inside out. Weekend anglers may prefer to cut, or carefully tear the head off instead (just as we do!) This method maximizes the cloud of sweet attractant that emits from the catalpa bait, and can produce fish in otherwise difficult conditions. The drawback is a relatively short "water-life" of the bait and a more rapid depletion of your supply. It is, however, an excellent way to test an area you are not certain holds fish. Chances are, if they are in the vicinity, they will find Catawbas baited in this fashion. This method is also more appropriate for still water situations than rivers or streams.

    2. For fish that are "semi-active" or when fishing in an area you are certain holds fish we recommend using the "inside-out" method with only half of one catalpa worm. Simply cut a Catawba bait in half, and use a matchstick, or your hook to turn the skin inside out as you push the "open" end over the "closed" end. This will have a similar effect to method 1, but will extend the life of your bait supply.

    3. When fish are active we recommend using half of one catalpa worm, but skip the step of turning it inside out. Again, it is vital that the Catawba worm be cut, so the guts of the worm can ooze into the water to excite the fish. The advantage of this method is the amazing water life of the bait. We have caught up to 5 catfish, and routinely catch 2 and 3 on a single bait! The leathery consistency of the catalpa's skin will keep it on the hook as the juice slowly oozes into the water. This is also the preferred method for river or stream fishing, as it prevents the innards from being stripped away as quickly.

    We have often started with method 1 or 2 to get things started (in the spirit of chumming), and then moved later to 3 to preserve bait. It is not certain what properties of the Catalpa Worm ooze cause the aggressive response in catfish, Certainly, many worms fall prey to hungry fish by dropping naturally into the water from catalpa trees near bodies of water. But even in regions where the catalpa tree is not indigenous, the worms are proven to serve as excellent bait. Many artificial baits have claimed to mock the "flavor" and/or "color" of the Catawba's, but we have found none that can produce the results. If you have never fished with catalpa worms, we recommend grabbing a bag from your local bait shop, or order them here. If you're experience is like ours a few years ago when we discovered catalpas, you won't ever use another bait again!
     
  18. Lonewolf

    Lonewolf New Member

    Messages:
    2
    State:
    NC.
    Just planted 10 trees a few weeks back. My plans are to infest the trees by planting eggs by hand next year.
     
  19. hillbillywilly

    hillbillywilly New Member

    Messages:
    40
    State:
    Burnettsville, Indiana
    I haven't seen them at a bait store for a while but when my dad was alive I remember them having them. Now I just get them off of the neighbors trees. I use the four-wheeler on the small ones and just bump the trunk and alot of them fall out.
     
  20. catcam

    catcam New Member

    Messages:
    175
    State:
    Georgia