May Cinder Worm Hatches

How much do you know about these cinder worm hatches?

People don’t talk about them much, except for those of us who chase after them, sometimes successfully.

They are worms one- to three-inches in length of various colors (pink, orange, brown, etc.). They swarm on the surface of the salt ponds in Rhode Island and on Cape Cod in the late afternoons in May, and the stripers can go pretty crazy on them.

For tying purposes, the worms are black at both ends and range from 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick. They swim around on or just below the surface, and some people tie in one or two strands of pearl Krystal Flash to imitate the eggs being put out into the water by these swimming worms.

If you are fortunate enough to find some hatching worms, you will see many swirls of stripers. But understand that if it’s raining, cold or windy, then the worms often never appear.

I had a day last spring when it was going gangbusters on worms and fish and then a squall came through with rain and wind and everything shut down: no worms, no fish, no nothing, for about 30 minutes or so.

And, then, to my surprise, after the storm went through, things calmed down (weather-wise), and, suddenly, all those worms reappeared. The whole show went crazy again.

Warm sunny weather is the best for these worm hatches, enough to warm up the shallow water in these salt ponds enough to bring the worms out of the mud to spawn on the surface.

The best areas are those with sea-grass and soft mud; that’s where these worms live. But, they will appear in unexpected places, so, you need a kayak to move around and just look for them in the late afternoon on a nice day.

Good luck! This is a great fishery and it’s like dry fly fishing for stripers. Give it a try! Get out and search. You may be in for a real treat if you can find hatching worms….

Tight lines!


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9 thoughts on “May Cinder Worm Hatches

  1. Nice post! I’ve never fished this “hatch” before. Do you impart any action to the worm or just cast to rising fish and let it sit for a second or two?

  2. Sorry to be so slow in responding, Ashu. I just saw your question today! Yes, you give it some action. These worms are swimming around and you need to mimic that behavior. The problem is that your imitation is swimming straight while the real worms are not, so you’re at somewhat of a disadvantage in that regard, but the fish will take your artificial anyway on occasion. But they take best at the start of the hatch or after it tapers off a bit, or at the edge of the swarm, where there are fewer worms to compete with. But it’s worth a try. It’s a really fun experience and to have fish swirling all around you does get your attention and your heart pumping a bit…

  3. enjoyed your comments ,do you know of any hatches further south chesapeake bay area or is this exclusive to RI

  4. Ponds on South Shore of Massachusetts are going off! Hot weather today should make for hot fishing this evening. Lots of action the last few evenings.

  5. Lots of slurping sounds emerging from the marsh the night before last. Hatch is on with various ponds going off depending on temps. Here in MA, there is little talk of this compared to RI. Maybe the old adage “Those who tell don’t know… Those who know don’t tell” is a fitting description of what is going on right now.

    I’m fishing a popper with a worm trailer kind of like using a teaser with a danny plug a la surfcasters. A drop of worm essence may or may not help. So far getting more action on the popper than the teaser. Lots of drop down herring around fattening up before heading out to sea so it is hard to know just what to hang behind the popper on any given night at any given place.

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