CONWAY - A favorite season for many Arkansas fishermen is up on us. It^s catalpa worm time. And it^s no secret for bream fisherman, catfish chasers and even bass fishermen, those among the latter brigade that don^t get carried away with the notion that live bait for black bass is a no-no. Sure, there are anglers in our midst who look puzzled at your mention of catalpa worms. What? What^s that?
Catalpa worms grow on catalpa trees. They show up regular as clock work, although there are variances in the numbers of them, how big they get and when they arrive. The worms are the larvae of the sphinx moth.The worms aren^t necessarily on all catalpa trees. But when they do attack a tree, they can strip it of leaves in a few days. You can spot a worm-infested tree by its leafless twigs and leaf skeletons. The worms feed on leaves from the underside. When its leaves has been eaten, the hardy catalpa tree quickly grows a second. And there^s usually a second hatch of catalpa worms. They are green and black and absolutely fine as fishing bait. They^re tough and long lasting on a hook, along with appealing to bream,catfish and bass. There are even some reports that crappie won^t jump on catalpa worms, too.
Anglers who practice catalpa worm fishing have the locations of several catalpa trees in mind or even written down somewhere. They tend to guard this information zealously. When the worms get right, meaning big and fat with chewed-up leaves, the anglers gather them. Some bag them and freeze them for future use. They seem to be nearly as effective frozen then thawed as they are live off the tree.
Catalpa worms, if you can get a good supply of them, do well on trotlines for all three of our catfish varieties, channel, blue and flathead. Probably, they also do well on juglines and even yo-yos. To fish with a catalpa worm, just threading it onto a hook and cast it out. Many anglers prefer to turn the worm inside out with a small stick and then thread it onto a hook. They say the juicy insides attract fish much better. Catalpa worms are just doggone good fishing bait, and they^re showing up in our area now.