Lugworms, which are sometimes, but rarely, called lobworms, take the highest rank among baits for sea fish. They are dark reddish-brown in colour. Their form may be identified from Mr. Pritchett's careful drawing. They exude a nasty yellow fluid which stains the fingers, and the narrow end of them, which should be nipped off, contains little else than sand. A lugworm lives in sand, through which it eats its way, extracting any available nutriment, and throwing up above the surface the sand which has passed through its alimentary canal. It often grows three or four times as large as the dew or lobworm of our gardens.
Lugs are obtained without much difficulty by digging wherever the casts are noticed ; but be very smart in pouncing upon them when they are thrown up, for they bury themselves in the sand with great rapidity. Mr. Wilcocks has stated that these baits must never be cut, because the liquid interior itself runs out, leaving nothing but the empty skin ; but, as I have said, the sandy end is nearly always pinched off by the fishermen in the manner I have directed. Lugworms can be kept for some time in a cool place in a box of wet sand or seaweed, but it is very necessary to look them over daily, for a dead one left among them for a few hours turns putrid and quickly kills the rest. These baits are so killing for bottom-feeding fish that it is quite worth while going to some expense to obtain them ; and if they are not found in the district where one may happen to be fishing, it is good policy to send a telegram or letter to the nearest part of the coast whence they may be obtained by parcels post or otherwise.
While this book was in the press I received the following interesting notes concerning lugworms from Mr. Edward Hanger, of Deal. ' There are two kinds of lug here, one the large yellow-tail lug, so-called by our fishermen, and the other the ordinary or common black lug. The yellow-tail will keep alive much longer than the common lug, and is the best for bait for whiting and cod. The common lug is best for all kinds of flat fish, because the large lug will choke small hooks up. The yellow-tailed lugs are very difficult to dig up, as they generally lie well down into the sand. When rough and cold weather sets in the fishermen sometimes squeeze the inside out from the tail up through its mouth and then hang them over a line, and by this means a man has bait when the weather breaks up'.