Beach Worming – Five Key Points

Catching Beach Worms – Detailed Instruction With Roger Osborne

BEACH POSITION – proximity to wave zone

When you are catching Beach Worms you will find worms at different positions on the beach. Some beach worms are higher up the beach and some lower down closer to the deep water. When you are learning it is better to target the worms that are higher up the beach. The reason for this is that you will have more time in between waves to catch a worm. As your skills improve you can focus on catching beach worms closer to the water’s edge. The further you go down the beach the less time that you have.

Beach Worming example of beach position midway between the top of where the wave reaches and the lowest point that it washes back.

Beach Worming showing beach position
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An example of beach position.


This is how you position yourself to catch a worm.

Walk to the worm that you are targeting and stand with your feet shoulder width apart (about 50 cm). Face along the beach with one foot closer to the water and the other foot higher up the beach. Stand so that the worm is about 30 – 40 cm in front of you and positioned in the center between your legs. The direction you face along the beach depends on whether you are right or left – handed. The hand you are using to catch the worm needs to be the one closer to the water’s edge. I catch worms with my right hand, so that means my right hand is the one closer to the ocean. I hold the bait with my left hand and grab the worm with my right hand.

Beach Worming showing body position.
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Body position with feet shoulder width apart and worm in the center.


You are in position and ready to catch your worm.

Stand and wait for the next wave to wash up past your feet. Sometimes you need to wait for several waves to pass before you are ready to attack the worm. You need to have enough time between waves and the correct amount of water flow to catch the worm. Waves generally break in sets. During a set the waves tend to come closer together. Often there is not enough time between the waves to catch the worm. You need to wait towards the end of the set for a lull in the surf. Usually there is a lull period between wave sets. The size of the waves and the amount of slope on the beach will also have an impact on how much time you have in which to catch the worm. As you spend time beach worming you will understand what I am saying.




When you can see that there is enough time before the next wave comes you are then ready to make your move. The worm will have disappeared back into the sand following your initial sighting of it. The worm only comes up when it can smell the food. Now you need to encourage it to put its head back out of the sand again so that you can catch it. You need the water flowing again from a wave with the scent of your bait to achieve this.

Once the right wave has washed up past your feet hold the bait in your hand about 40 cm up the beach from the worm. Wave the bait back and forth across the water as the wave washes down past the worm. Do not do this if the wave is washing past you rapidly, wait until the flow of water slows down and is approximately 2 – 4 cm deep.

Beach worming pointing to the worm
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Pointing to where the worm is.

Beach worming positioning the bait for the worm to bite
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Positioning the bait for the worm to bite.

Beach Worming – Stay Focused!

If the water is rushing too fast, the action of placing your hand with the bait in the water creates too much disturbance. The water just swirls around your hand stirring up the sand. You can’t really see the worm, or you could scare it off. Try jamming your hand in the wave while it is rushing back, and you will see what I mean. So, as the wave recedes to a gentle flow wave your bait back and forth in the water across the sand.

Make Your Move

As soon as the worm appears move your bait quickly to the worm. Hold the bait just above the sand close enough for the worm to reach it, about 5 mm. I don’t hold the bait on the sand but fractionally above the sand. You need to get your bait to the worm as quickly as possible without disturbing it. Do not plonk your bait down on top of the worm suddenly, you will just scare it away. Get your bait in position quickly and smoothly. The worm will reach out and bite onto your bait.



Once the worm has bitten on to your bait you only have a limited time to grab hold of it, generally about 5 seconds.

There are two reasons why.

  1. A worm will only bite onto the bait for a few seconds. It then tries to rip a piece of the bait off and disappear back into the sand.
  2. There will only be a short time before the next wave hits.

This is exciting! It is all part of the hunt. I like to challenge myself. I give myself less and less time to catch a worm as a way of improving my skills. Or I go deeper into the water so that I have less of a window to get the worm. Generally, there are more worms lower down the beach, but it is harder to catch them.

While you are concentrating on catching the worm you also need to be aware of what is happening around you, specifically as to the next wave approaching. I keep my eyes focused on the worm and listen for the waves.

Beach worming is an art and is a valuable life skill to learn.


I have found an important key to keeping a worm interested and extending the time it is interested in your bait, which has a big impact on your success rate.

In their everyday search for food, beach worms are used to their food being moved around. This occurs naturally by wave action.

Beach worming a worm biting the bait
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A beach worm biting on to the bait.

Once a worm has bitten my bait I slowly move and tilt the bait away from it. I do this just slightly and gradually by about 1 to 2 cm. Because the worm is hungry it will lift its head further out of the sand and follow the bait. Doing this buys you extra time to grab the worm.


You need to make sure that the worm actually bites on to your bait while you get ready to strike. This is important, because if the worm is just sniffing around it will be spooked more easily. Once the worm bites your bait it is committed.


Check out this video “How To Catch Huge Beach Worms”

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  1. Eddy Vanelderen

    Hi Roger,

    Thanks for the very informative advice on catching beach worms. I also watched your YouTube video, excellent. So with all the right info I ventured down to my local beach (Coolum/Yaroomba) and after about an hour I managed to catch my first beach worm.


  2. Crispy

    Gday Roger
    I’ve discovered that the worms on my local beach are huge infact there seems to be only huge ones – I’m struggling to pull them out without breaking them. It takes a bit of digging with the other hand. Should I dig them out or just pull them as soon as I grip them with my pliers?

    • Roger Osborne

      Hi Chris, thanks for saying Hi. Sorry for the slow reply. It is best to pull a worm out as quickly as possible. When using pliers you need to use two hands otherwise you have a high risk of pulling the worms head off. One hand holding the pliers, the other hand holding onto the worm underneath the pliers pulling with equal pressure. It is not easy. Once you master catching big worms with your fingers your success rate is much higher. Regards Roger.

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