CATAWBA WORMS aka Ceratomia catalpae
It has been many decades since fishing with a Catawba Worm which is the
larval stage of the Ceratomia catalpae. The adult stage is the Catalpa
Sphinx which is a Hawk Moth of the Sphingidae family. Below a pix of one
which would not stay still for a pix:
Pix of the rear drive train of the Catawba worm........I believe this one
was very camera shy!
Finally got a head shot while he was working his way off the Catawba Tree
leaf. Those suction cup "feet" have plenty of grip too!
The larval stage feed on the leaves of the Catawba tree which is native to
North Carolina and up and down the Eastern Seaboard and most ole time
fishermen are aware they make outstanding bait for catfish and bluegills aka
sun fish. Pix below of a pair Catawba trees about 1/2 mile from our home and only
has a few small Catawba worms on it at the moment:
A close-up view of the leaves and the seed pods. As youngsters growing up, we
referred to this tree as the cigar tree because of the shape of the seed pods.
Can't remember if we ever tried to smoke the dried seed pods or not;
probably not since I have never smoked to this date.
The emerging Catawba Worms start off with a light cream color to them
with black markings and as they consume the leaves of the Catawba tree their
color changes to a black and chartreuse color pattern.
I observed a couple Catawba trees growing about half a mile from our home and
asked the owner Shane Hough if I could obtain some of the worms when they start feeding
on the leaves and he gave me a go ahead. His son Chris called
yesterday 06-26-13 and advised that they had a couple smaller trees on their
farm in Lilesville, NC and one tree was just about stripped entirely of its
leaves from the feeding Catawba worms.
I drove to the Hough Farm this morning and took along a folding step ladder to
aid in getting them and sure enough, the Catawba tree was just about bare of
any green leaves but there were plenty of Catawba worms in different sizes
feeding on what few remaining leaves. There were Catawba worms on the
ground around the tree and they were not doubt getting ready to burrow into
the ground to pupate and shed its fifth instar skin. I left in too big
of a hurry and didn't bring the digital camera with me.
I brought along a five gallon plastic bucket and placed a few of the green
leaves from another tree that did not have worms on them yet in the bucket and “picked” several dozen of the Catawba worms.
Many fishermen will freeze them for usage at a later time but I personally
believe they are better when still alive. Ole timers will pinch the Catawba
worms head off and place a small stick at the opposite end and the turn him
outside end and then place on the hook
which exposes the white color insides which gives off an attractive odor to
lure Mr. Catfish into taking the bait. View my
fishing 2013 page which rendered a "mess" of
It is my plan to fish with them early in the morning at Randy Steele’s
farm pond and hopefully the catfish and bluegills will be in a biting mood. I
plan to fish with them inside out as described earlier and fish with them by
simply threading them on the hook for comparison. While typing, I felt something crawling on
my right forearm and a very small Catawba worm was observed….grin if you
must. There were hundreds of small Catawba worms all over the tree and
on the ground and one had a free ride on myself.
Below is a pix from the Internet of the Catalpa Sphinx which is a Hawk Moth of
the Sphingidae family:
It is certainly easy to see why the Catalpa Sphinx is named a Hawk Moth.
Hopefully, the Catawba worms picked this morning will metamorphosis into some
"beautimous" catfish fillets
instead of a Hawk Moth and will post pixs on my
Fishing 2013 page!
It is totally amazing
how God created all the things before us and mankind with his
finite wisdom and current state of the
art technology cannot even begin to
comprehend the concept of the creation of the earth and mankind except by
faith through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Our earth and
all the elements are far to complex to not have been set into motion by
something greater than a random act or chance of evolution over time as
many highly educated fools and ones not so book smart want to believe and
teach. Read Genesis Chapter 1 KJV Bible to help
awaken the non-believer.
Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter 06-27-13
Less than one month has gone by and the Catawba
Worms stripped both the above trees down to the stems, consuming all the
green portion of the leaves. However, as soon as the leaves are gone,
the Catawba Tree will put out new leaves again which is amazing. See
the pixs below for comparison:
As soon as the Catawba tree leaves reach maturity again, the reproductive
cycle will repeat itself with the Catawba worms consuming the leaves;
burrowing themselves back into the ground and will do so until late fall of
the year until the weather gets too cold.
updated pixs on 07-25-13 by Bill aka Mickey Porter.