Hooking a maggot on a hook

Fishing with maggots is most anglers ‘go to’ way of banking a few fish. They are a very versatile bait, with almost all freshwater fish falling to them. Maggots come in all manner of colours, but the most common ones have got to be reds, bronze, and whites.

All these colours are capable of catching fish on the day and are really just down to personal preference. Pretty much all tackle shops will sell these wriggly little critters so they are pretty easy to get hold of. In this article, I will try to cover all the information you will possibly need regarding how to fish with maggots.

Maggots come in several different colours for fishing

What Is A Maggot?

The maggots that are used for fishing are basically the larvae stage of a bluebottle or common housefly. They start off as an egg, then they turn into maggots. After the maggot stage, they turn into casters and then eventually turn into flies.

How To Hook A Maggot For Fishing

Hooking A maggot for fishing is quite a simple affair. First of all you need to choose what size hook you are going to use. This is going to depend on how many maggots you want to fish with.

If I was to go fishing for carp, bream, barbel, chub, or tench I tend to use 4 maggots. For this, I would use a size 12 hook. If I was on the river generally going for smaller fish such as roach, rudd, perch, dace, and chublets I would probably only put 2 maggots on. For this kind of fishing, I would use a size 18 or 20 hook.

Once you have your hook ready hold it between your thumb and forefinger with the point of the hook pointing up. With your other hand feed the maggot onto the hook. A maggot has a pointy end and a flat end. You want to be putting your hook through the flat end.

You just want to be pinching the hook in ever so slightly through their skin. This should ensure that the maggot doesn’t burst and spill goo everywhere. When this happens the maggots don’t tend to live for as long.

Please check out the video below.

What Colour Maggot Is Best For Fishing?

As I mentioned earlier this is really down to personal preference, and what works well on the day. My top 3 colours without a doubt are red, bronze and whites. Reds seem to give you the edge when it comes to perch and tench especially. I tend to do well with the roach on the river with bronze or whites.

This isn’t always the case for other anglers though. It will change from day to day and venue to venue. Sometimes I like to lose feed one colour and have a different colour hook bait.

Quite often this can make your hook bait stand out to the feeding fish.

Can I Buy Flavoured Maggots?

When buying maggots they do not come already flavoured. However, there are flavourings you can purchase and flavour them yourself. This is a very simple task. Most maggots will have maize or sawdust with them, first, you will need to get rid of this by using a riddle. This is basically like a sieve.

Once all the excess maize/sawdust has gone you will then need to add your desired flavouring. The flavouring will either be in powder form or liquid. Just add the stated dose and let it soak into the maggots and away you go.

Personally, I like to flavour maggots with krill powder.

What Is The Best Way Of Storing Maggots?

When it comes to fishing with maggots you may find you will need to store them before you actually use them. The best container to keep them in is a bait tub. These are readily available from all local tackle shops and online shops. A bait tub will have a good secure lid with plenty of little holes so the maggots can stay alive.

In the winter, the temperature isn’t too much of a problem, you could just leave your bait tub in a garage or shed. But in the warmer months, the maggots will sweat rather quickly and turn smelly and horrible.

Most tackle shops will add maize or sawdust to soak any sweat up. But that isn’t enough when they get a proper sweat on. To combat this putting them in a fridge is perfect. But seriously I wouldn’t advise putting them in the kitchen fridge. A lot of anglers will share their horror stories with you about them escaping.

A general rule of thumb is to keep your maggots cool and dry.

Add maize or sawdust to stop maggots from sweating

Are Dead Maggots Good For Fishing?

Yes, dead maggots can be very good for fishing. A lot of anglers will use dead maggots on commercial fisheries. One of the reasons for using them dead is that a lot of these venues have quite a silty bottom. Live maggots will bury themselves in this silt in a matter of seconds.

This could make it harder for the fish to find them. Dead maggots will just lie there for all to see.

They are also handy when it comes to groundbait. Live maggots will break up your balls of groundbait due to them wriggling. Obviously, you won’t have this problem with dead ones. When they are dead they can also be easily used on a barbless hook without them wriggling off.

Sometimes if you are after the bigger fish dead maggots could also be the way to go. When the maggots are alive the wriggling of them will attract every little fish around. The bigger fish such as the carp don’t get a look in.

What Is A Caster?

A caster is basically the next stage a maggot goes through to becoming a fly (the Pupae Stage. A bit like how a caterpillar turns into a chrysalis, the maggot forms a hard shell around its body. This stage can last around a week depending on temperature and conditions.

Casters are really good bait for fishing and can certainly help in putting fish on the bank. Just be gentle when hooking them because they are quite soft inside. If you are too heavy-handed this will cause the caster to burst and will need to be thrown away. Just very gently hook them through the tip.

To pick the right casters for fishing it helps to put them in water when out on the bank. Try filling an empty bait box with water and putting casters in it. The ones that float are normally bad and want to be tossed to one side. The ones that sink are good to use on the hook. They are also superb at mixing in with most types of groundbait.

Casters are usually a bit harder to get hold of than maggots and should be kept in a fridge if you are not using them straight away. You can also freeze casters if you need to.

A tub full of casters
Casters make a great bait for fishing

To Conclude Fishing With Maggots

There really are hundreds of fishing baits to choose from nowadays. But fishing with maggots has stood the test of time and has to be the most popular bait available to you. This is probably due to their versatility and the huge amount of different species of fish that you can catch with them. Once you learn the basics of maggot fishing you will certainly start catching a fair few fish.

So why not grab yourself a couple of pints of maggots and head off down your local river? You never know what you might catch.

Tight lines and enjoy your fishing.

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