Paul Garner Transform your maggots
Often considered a small-fish bait, that’s far from the truth in my book. It is true that fish of all sizes will eat maggots, but it is on tough, low-stocked venues that they can often display almost magical qualities. With no small fish to rob the hook, maggots offer a convenient approximation to natural food for fish which rarely see man-made baits.
My tench fishing is a prime example of a situation where maggots can save the day. On many lakes, especially at this time of year, other baits will be ignored while the humble maggot is consumed with gusto.
I firmly believe that using the best bait will bring extra bites, but with maggots this isn’t always true.
I know several very successful anglers who swear by using stinky old maggots for carp, finding the pong a positive draw instead of a repellent. The smell comes from ammonia excreted through the skin of the bait, which carp are known to be able to detect from a considerable distance.
Personally, though, I want my maggots to be in the best possible condition, and this means cleaning the bait to remove any smell. Do this by riddling off any sawdust that the maggots are in when you buy them and replacing it with a good helping of maize meal. If I’m keeping the maggots in the bait fridge for any length of time I will replace the maize every three days to keep it clean.
A useful trick if you don’t have a fridge is to put the maggots in a large container with an airtight lid. Quarter-fill it with maggots, then top up to half-full with maize flour.
The remaining air space will be enough to keep the maggots alive for 24 hours, as the grubs will slow right down and go almost into a state of suspended animation.
Remove the lid for 10 minutes every day and give the bait a good shake to replace the used air. You can easily keep maggots for a week or more like this without cooling them down.