Fishing with Bloodworm and Joker

The Bloodworm is a small, (approx half inch – 20mm) bright red, segmented midge larvae found in the silt at the bottom of ponds. Collecting bloodworm is by scraping them. This is done with a long pole with a knife like blade fixed flat to the bottom at a right angle. This is then drawn through the silt and when the blade is removed from the water the bloodworm is found draped over the edge of the blade. This is then put into a bucket of clean water.

Anglers can buy Bloodworm from local tackle shops but usually need to order them first.

Bloodworm and Joker is normally used by match anglers on stillwaters and canals. The bloodworm can attract and catch fish when all other baits fail and because of their catching ability the Bloodworm is banned on many fisheries and fishing matches. When fishing with bloodworm and joker the bloodworm is fished on the hook and Joker is used as the feed. To hook the bloodworm hold it between you thumb and finger and hook through a middle segment.


Bloodworm is a good bait in the winter when the water is clear and the fishing is hard and the target fish are mainly small such as perch, skimmers and small roach. Fishing is done with fine lines and small fine wire hooks (down to size 24). A light pole setup is ideal for Bloodworm fishing. Saying this, fishing for larger fish can be tackled by beefing up your gear and using a stronger hook with a bunch of bloodworm or bloodworm and caster cocktail as bait.

The Joker is an insect larvae similar to bloodworm but is a lot smaller. Joker is used as the feed when fishing with bloodworm and is also bought from tackle dealers. For a normal 5 hour fishing match it is usual to buy a match pack. This is a pack of both and enough to last through a normal fishing match.

Feeding the Joker.
When you get your joker it will be bunched together and need separating. Using a shallow tray mix the joker together with some damp leam, spreading the leam through the joker using your fingers. This will separate the joker and it can now be mixed with fine groundbait and made into balls. If the mix is too dry add a little water. Careful with the water, this is just to help bind the mix together. Depending on the water you are fishing and the fish in it, 10 or 12 balls should be ample. Feed the balls into your swim quickly because the additives of groundbait can kill the joker. The balls can be fed into your swim by hand or by pole cup. Once you have introduced the groundbait it shouldn’t need topping up again unless you are not getting bites.

Leam is a very finely ground clay and heavy. Depending on how deep your swim is adjust the leam / groundbait mix accordingly. The deeper the swim then use more leam than groundbait to get the joker to the bottom.