Nothing is more discouraging, especially for the beginner, than going on a trip and not catching a single fish. If you just want to feel the tug on your line and aren’t particular as to what type or how big, the basic earthworm and bobber rig is what you need. It’s inexpensive, easy to rig and use, and attracts most freshwater species of fish. The exciting part about it is that it produces like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get on it, from a 3-inch bluegill to an 80-pound catfish.
To be successful with a worm and bobber, think small. Frequently, I see folks rigged with too much worm on great big hooks with huge bobbers. As a result, they end up with a lot of nibbles and lost bait, but few fish. A small hook fits in the mouth of smaller fish, yet will still catch big fish. A small part of a worm on the hook normally works better than threading an entire nightcrawler on the hook. With too much worm, the fish can easily grab a section away from the hook point and rob your bait. Instead, try a short 1-inch section of worm. For the bobber, a smaller one is more sensitive and offers less resistance to the fish so it can eat your bait easily. Finally, a short distance between the bobber and the hook (1 to 2 feet, normally) gets your worm in front of many fish yet keeps your hook from snagging the bottom.
This summer, try a small piece of worm on a #4 to #6 hook beneath a little bobber. Crimp a small split-shot sinker on your line just below the bobber, enough weight to help keep the bobber upright but not so much that it sinks the float. Fresh bait puts out natural scents that attract fish, so replace your worm once it gets soggy and turns pale.
Now you can stop fishing and start catching!