Maggot sales have dipped to an all-time low, Angling Times can reveal this week.
Sales of what was once the sport’s most popular bait crashed as Britain was gripped by the worst cold weather for decades.
Bedfordshire-based company Ouse Valley Bait supplies hundreds of tackle shops with maggots, but the production line came to a virtual standstill during the cold snap.
“No-one has been fishing because of the weather and it’s resulted in what has probably been the worst period ever for sales. Production has been cut, but you just have to deal with it and let nature take its course,” said owner Simon Grant.
Other suppliers in the trade have also been hit hard and Eurobait development manager Roger Clifford said: “The past six weeks has been the worst period of maggot sales for a long time. They have been at a third of their normal level for this time of year because people haven’t been going fishing.
“It’s a very weather dependent business and if our winters continue like this I can’t see how some maggot farms will survive. In the past, it didn’t matter too much if firms didn’t sell many maggots over winter because sales were so high in summer, but times have changed,” he added.
As temperatures dropped and anglers stayed away from venues, the fishing industry suffered, with tackle shop bait sales plummeting.
“People have bought tackle, but bait just hasn’t shifted. It has been as bad as I’ve ever known it. Anglers still use maggots, but they have declined in popularity on the whole and we don’t sell as many as we did seven or eight years ago,” said Scunthorpe Angling Centre’s Graham Frith.
Despite recent poor sales, the outlook appears to be brighter. More and more anglers are coming out of hibernation and Packington Somers boss John Burchell believes one bait will be prominent on side trays over the next few weeks.
“Anglers carry more maggots when the temperatures are low and I can see them dominating here for the next few weeks. The water is still very cold and they entice bites on the toughest of days from anything that swims,” said John.