“I mostly use large stocking bags of maggots, sometimes up to ten-inches long. I feel that puts out a good bed of bait and I rarely spod anymore over the top. If extreme-range is required I’ll use a solid PVA bag.” Myles Gascoyne
“If you have a maggot farm nearby, then buy them direct. You’ll usually get them for £10 a gallon which is less than half the price from the shops. Whilst not cleaned, they are going to be as fresh as you can get.” Tim Childs
“Use a small, critically balanced pop-up on the Hair, as this will ensure you don’t get pestered by roach and rudd and will always be fishing effectively. When balanced correctly, the hookbait will be the same weight as the maggots and harder for them to detect.” Harry Charrington
Lead set-up-wise, Myles Gascoyne opts to use a running rig so that he knows if a nuisance fish has hooked itself – which can often happen when using maggots.
Ken South uses a short length of SuperSilk which he rubs with a bit of mud to help (a) camo it and (b) ensure it sinks. He then ties a simple Figure-Of-Eight Loop Knot in a short length to create a loop of between one-and-a-half- and two-inches long. He pushes this through the eye of a size 8 Chod style hook and then threads the loop through a Micro Ring Hook Swivel and loops the braid over the hook and pulls it down. Ken finally threads on 21 maggots to a length of dental floss which is then tied to the Hook Swivel.
Harry Charrington’s rig for fishing maggots remains the same as his standard solid bag rig and that’s because he doesn’t actually use maggots as a hookbait. The rig involves a 4oz in-line lead, three-inches of Reflex supple braid hooklink and a size 6 SSBP hook, with a 10mm Tutti pop-up on the Hair. In Harry’s words: “it’s deadly!”
When it comes to rigs for maggots, Tim Childs tends to keep things pretty simple: short, soft hooklinks like Gardner Tackle’s Trickster in 15lb BS. For attaching the maggots, Tim uses a 30Plus Maggot Ring.
In Kev Hewitt’s eyes, maggot fishing is a little like particle fishing in that short hooklengths score well with Mag-Aligners when silver fish aren’t in abundance. If silver fish are in numbers, then Kev uses a small balanced pop-up as this provides a better presentation.
“Try using a small percentage of a different colour maggot. For example, if you have four pints of white for a day session, try adding half-a-pint of red or bronze. It’s an old match tactic that works every bit as well for big, pressured carp.” Myles Gascoyne
“It is a good idea to suffocate maggots in a plastic bag by taking all of the air out of it a few hours before you use them. That sends them to sleep and stops them from wriggling into the silt or weed once introduced into the lake.” Kev Hewitt
“Tying the maggots to a micro rig ring allows you to be prepared. Plus, you can put two bunches of maggots to the rig if you want to.” Ken South
Maggots and PVA
For most of his maggot fishing, Myles Gascoyne uses a micromesh stocking but if extreme-range is required, he’ll use a solid bag. Like Harry, Myles always makes sure his hook point cannot stick into a maggot.
Harry Charrington likes to use Rapide Solid Bags full of maggots, but he always pierces the hook through the bottom of the bag so it doesn’t impale itself on the maggots. Harry uses suffocated maggots in the bags and ensures they have a good covering of maize to ensure they don’t melt the bag.
Kev Hewitt likes to add krill powder – 1: because it will keep the maggots dry enough so they don’t melt the PVA bag and 2: it will add attraction to the maggots. Just like Harry, Kev recommends you suffocate the maggots before putting them into the bag so they don’t crawl away once the PVA melts.
Finally, the maggot user’s friend: PVA. It’s available in a number of forms but Tim Childs use the solid PVA bags from Gardner for a lot of his maggot work and finds them superb. Tim recommends you keep your PVA in a sealed bucket and be careful not to pierce any maggots when filling the bags.
When it comes to PVA, Ken South has recently been putting 30Plus’s PVA mesh through its paces. He attaches the mesh bag straight onto the hook and then dips the bag in a bit of Active Bait Solutions’ Plan B or 5th Element. This not only adds to the attraction, but helps the bag sink through the water.
“Spodding/spombing the wrigglers out is the way to go. I do like to use quite a lot when my wallet allows and I will usually go with a gallon give or take a few pints as a starting point. Maggots don’t fill up the carp so I am not afraid to use loads.” Harry Charrington
“With maggots being small and light, you’ll always have an issue when it comes to baiting up. However, enter the Spomb! Quick, clean and very effective – you need nothing else. If you’re trying to be stealthy, try making up small mesh type PVA bags along with a small stone in them for added weight. These can then be catapulted out easily.” Tim Childs
“Like Tim, I’m whole-heartedly saying use a Spomb. They are perfect for delivering maggots to your chosen spot; you don’t get any ‘spod spill’ and they cannot wriggle out of any holes so there is no wastage.” Kev Hewitt
“When it comes to the maggots, or germs as my son calls them, I tend to use a mixture of live and dead ones so that there will always be maggots lying on the bottom in my swim.” Ken South
Harry Charrington says... “In all honesty, I think tampering with the maggots too much with flavours and other baits reduces their effectiveness significantly. They give off so much ammonia as it is that there is no need to add anything to them!”
Tim Childs says… “When it comes to additional attraction, I have to say I have done very little experimenting. Although other anglers seem to do well on flavoured maggots, I tend to keep mine plain. Try mixing squats and pinkies with standard maggots though for something slightly different.”
Ken South says… “I add some ingredients from Active Bait Solutions to boost attraction, the main one being the attractor package they use in 5th Element or in the Plan B. I find that the maggots soak up the liquid additive over the 24hr period.”
Myles Gascoyne says…“I am lucky to be sponsored by Enterprise Tackle and we’ve developed some fluoro fake maggots which just stand-out perfectly in a bed of red or white real ones. I also have them soaking in Solar’s Top Banana or Ester Cream flavours.”
Kev Hewitt says…“Maggots are naturally very attractive to carp on their own but try adding CC Moore Krill Powder to them instead of maize flour to give them a boost.”
When buying maggots, Kev Hewitt ensures they are kept as cool as possible, preferably in the fridge until the car is loaded and he also adds krill powder.
Myles Gascoyne recommends you buy the best quality maggots from a shop that supplies the match anglers. They will be well riddled and have a good turnover of stock. Plus, keep them cool in sawdust.
Before his session, Harry Charrington will split the maggots up into four-pint bags and remove all the air from the bags. They will have been suffocated in the bag and therefore will not wriggle and crawl away from your spot, so he will only open the bags just before he spods them out.”
Preparation is important and Tim Childs likes to keep his maggots fresh and in easy-to-use tubs. Whilst dead ones that have been frozen are perfect for some applications, Tim generally likes to use a mixture of live and dead ones. For the hook, he buys the freshest, fattest ones he can find.
Ken South tends to use just white maggots and simply puts these into a bucket the day before he’s going fishing.
“As maggots are alive, it’s important to check on them regularly to stop them from sweating and foaming up. This is normally a sign of stress due to being too warm or not having enough oxygen.” Ken South
“Maggots, being a live creature, need some care to get the best out of them. Keep them dry, especially when using PVA and give them some air. Wet or damp maggots that have been sealed in an air tight box are horrid!” Tim Childs
“Only when you’re about to use them, remove them from the sawdust and replace them in soya meal using a griddle.” Myles Gascoyne
“If your maggots have not been cleaned before you get them and there is lots of sawdust and general muck with them, then riddle all that off and add maize flour. Then suffocate them in the bags, as this will help stop them from sweating up.” Harry Charrington
“When maggots wriggle, they generate heat so leave the lid off your bucket to let the heat disperse. If you leave the lid on, they will get too hot and end up sweating and turning to casters.” Kev Hewitt