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Ragworm article by John Staten

Ragworm also comes in different guises:
King Rag - Harbour Rag / Maddies - White Rag

The King Ragworm is the largest of the ragworm family, growing to well over over 18 inches in length and as thick as your thumb.

I have actually had one where I held it's head between my finger and thumb at my waist and it's tail was still in the sand!  I am 6ft tall!

picture of some ragworm (image)

King Ragworm are often tipped with another bait such as squid or mackerel to make them even more irresistible to fish.

Ragworm are normally a red or green colour with a blue tinge to them.  During the spawning season they tend to have a green slimy fluid inside them, I normally leave these worms behind as I have always found they don't fish anywhere near as good as the usual ragworm.

Ragworm should be kept in a container either lined with newspaper in peat or vermiculite.  If you keep them cool in a fridge they will last for a week or so.   If you do dig your own ragworm like we used to, it is quite easy to keep them alive in a tank.  You need to have an airator and a supply of fresh sea water.  We used to just put ours in a tank with an airator, change the water if it got too 'bloody' looking and take out any dead worms as soon as we spotted them.  They used to keep for a few weeks at least doing this, especially in the colder months as my tank was outside.  Which ever method you use, you need to check your ragworm every day and take out any that are dead so they won't contaminate the rest.

They can be very lively when put on a hook and a warning here, just be careful when putting them on your hook, they can give you a nasty nip!  Many a time I have gotten a nip as I pushed them onto the hook and obviously the 'head' has slid up towards my fingers holding the hook.

Harbour Rag / Maddies
The main uses are for these are for dabs, flounders, rockling etc.  A lot of match fishermen like them for 'scratching' as they call it.
'Scratching' is a term used for trying to catch virtually anything when the better specimens aren't playing ball.

White Rag
These are highly rated among competition anglers, and I know a few lads who would sell their souls to get their hands on these, especially in the cod season!

Their growth rate is slow and probably accounts for their scarcity and there hasn't been any luck in trying to farm these.  Large whites are seldom found in great numbers but can be up to about 10 inches in length and as thick as your thumb in some instances.  The larger ones are normally dug by chance rather than being targeted.  They are used as a 'tipping' bait in most circumstances but they can be fished in a bunch for dabs, flounders etc.

Back in the Northeast where I originate from, a big lug or a ragworm tipped off with a nice bit of white rag can prove deadly for cod in the winter.  A peeler and white rag cocktail can also produce fish where other baits won't.  Ragworm always outfished any other bait for cod over rock scaurs and into rock gullies.
Another added bonus for me was that bass preferred them when fishing over the same type of ground.  I have caught bass where, 20 years ago you never ever saw a one!   It goes to show that fishing doesn't ever stay the same, so if you intend to fish a region you haven't visited for many a year, always be prepared to expect the unexpected.

Happy fishing.

Author's Resource: Sea Fishing Articles by John Staten.
You will find other related pages about Sea Fishing in Whitby at https://www.whitbyseafishing.com   Copyright 2006 - 2020 www.whitbyseafishing.com  
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