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23 Nov 2015
by Nigel Sharp
Nigel Sharp on maggot fishing
There have been many methods and tactics used over the decades, but here’s Nigel Sharp’s top ten which have seemingly dominated the big carp scene for the past 20 years - next up, maggot fishing.

Dominance started:: 2003-04
Influential anglers: Rob Maylin, Bernie Loftus and Dave Benton
PB using rig: 42lb 10oz

Many years ago, when I was a lad, my ol’ man took me carp fishing for the first time. That day we used maggots; I caught and I was hooked. Once that had happened I was keen to learn and much to the ol’ man’s dismay I discover boilies and upset my mum by stinking the kitchen out making them and our cats became skinny because someone was nicking the Munchies (cat biscuits)!

A good few years on, I saw Dave Mallin catch Bazil and Heather in a week using them so once again I heard the voice of my Dad saying, “You don’t need that fancy crap to catch carp.”

Another decade passed and then boom, Bernie Loftus and Rob Maylin were smashing Swan Valley apart using them. This went on to Pit 3 at Frimley and Rob caught no less than 40 carp in eight-day sessions on them. A good percentage of these fish were the then big ‘uns so Rob moved on to Sandhurst and this is where our paths once again crossed. I was fresh off big pit fishing with cod rigs and was struggling for bites, whereas Rob was making it look easy, so I had a quick masterclass and after a few tweaks I followed like a sheep and fished maggots for the next few. In that time I discovered that the then famed Mag-Aligner did suffer a lot of hook pulls due to the use of small hooks with the rig and the need for powerful rods to cast out the large PVA bags of maggots.

Not really balanced tackle so the hook pulls weren’t a surprise.

During these times I did catch fish to over 40lb on the rig and presentation but I needed something that would convert a better bites-to-banking ratio. This was when I got talking to maggot angler Dave Benton and he explained his thoughts on maggot fishing and his reasons for not using the Mag-Aligner set-up. From our conversations and playing with Dave’s already successful rig, we came up with a Medusa type set-up with an anti-roll bar to stop the hook getting covered by the maggots on the Hair. Now, anyone who read Dave and Chris Boyda’s series in another magazine will know only too well how effective the set-up became and Dave still uses it to this day and has banked no less than four forties since he gave up day ticket type fishing.

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