How to give your maggots and pellets the edge they need!

Maggots and pellets are without doubt the top springtime baits on commercials, but could the deadly duo be made even more effective? You bet!

Gallons of each are piled into our favourite fisheries and while bites are almost assured when using them both, your catch returns could be given an even bigger boost by making a few simple yet underrated tweaks. Maver-backed matchman Jake Robinson has been almost unbeatable in recent months, scoring numerous victories in competitions that have been contested by some of the country’s biggest stars.

Rather than apply tactics straight from the textbook, the Staffordshire-based rod has dared to be different and that bold approach has served him well time and time again. “Flavourings are often dismissed but I’ve worked on four different combinations that will work wonders at this time of year when big nets of carp, F1s and silverfish are in mind.”

“By giving my maggots and pellets a colourful and flavoursome edge, I’ve been able to keep the success coming, even when I’ve found myself on pegs described as were no-hopers.”

1) Luminous maggots

Red maggots are the number one choice of thousands of anglers, but could you make them even redder and increase their pulling power? “Red maggots straight out on the bait box aren’t particularly vibrant and I’ve found that adding a bright red liquid to them has several benefits.”

“First of all it makes your hookbait and loosefeed stand out a mile in clear water and the cloud also lingers to draw in fish that would be unaware of the feast waiting for them.” A whole bottle of Bag’em Matchbaits Red Aggressor liquid is added to two pints of maggots the night before a session, swilled around and then left to rest overnight. By the morning your bait will stand out a mile!

2) Pineapple pellets

There is an obsession with fishmeal products on commercials but going the other way and using a very sweet flavouring or additive can often score heavily. “Fish stocks have become accustomed to fishmeal and I think doing something different with your pellets helps attract the wary and often bigger fish into feeding confidently.”

Rather than dampen your micro or 4mm pellets with water, slowly add Pure Pineapple liquid and mix it in. Once all the bait is thoroughly soaked, place the bait lid on, leave to settle for 15 minutes and you’ll then have softened pellets with a difference.

3) Blood red expanders

There will be some days when no matter what you try, you just can’t convince the fish to feed. During those sessions, it is key to make sure that the fish notice your hookbait quickly and don’t fill themselves on loosefeed. “I often feed normal micro pellets and place a vibrant and unmissable target bait on top of that. A blood red expander is much better than anything else in my experience.”

Pump your expander pellets as you normally would and then sprinkle a teaspoon of Super Sweet Meat and Maggot dye over the top. Place the lid on the tub, shake for 30 seconds and you’ll then have blood red expanders that no commercial fish will be able to resist.

4) Yellow micros

When you are fishing in shallow water up against an island or the far bank of a snake lake, it can pay to introduce a colourful cloud. Introduce a couple of spoonfuls of yellow Super Sweet Meat and Maggot dye to your loosefeed. Don’t mix it in too heavily, keeping the powder visible.

“Each time you feed, a small amount of powder will be introduced neat and that creates a cloud that lingers in the swim. Red and green are common colours on commercials but yellow is underrated and as fish don’t see it that often is the reason it is so effective.”

How to present buoyant artificial baits pop-up style


Most artificial rubber or plastic sweetcorn grains, maggots, casters, pellets and the like float and that gives anglers a challenge when it comes to presenting them correctly.

Such artificial baits like bread and dog biscuits don’t pose so much of a problem as they are designed to be fished on the surface anyway, so you don’t have to make great alterations to your rig – you can simply fish these baits as you would fish real bread or dog biscuits.

Most other artificial baits need treating differently though, to ensure that you present them as close as possible to how the natural baits look when they come to rest on the bottom.


Let’s take a grain or two of artificial sweetcorn as an example. First of all you are going to have to fish the rubber or plastic corn kernel upon a hair rig because there’s no way that your hook will ever pull out of the bait if it were side hooked - you’d lose every fish that you hook.

Now, once the bait is on the hair rig it will float unless you alter your rig slightly so that the bait is pulled down to the bottom.

To do this you need to create an anchor for the bait and two of the best forms of anchor are either split shot or tungsten putty. Kryston make arguably the best and it’s called Heavy Metal. This malleable tungsten putty can be rolled between your fingertips to warm it up slightly, then it can be rolled onto the hooklength to create a streamlined weight.

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This is quite critical as the position you place your anchor will determine how far the bait sits off the bottom. And then you will have to take into account the make-up of the venue’s bottom. Is it free from weed? Is it silty? Does it have an abundance of Canadian pondweed on the bottom? All these things will make a difference to where you position the anchor for your bait.

On clean and clear bottoms placing your split shot or tungsten putty anchor around 2in away from the hook works well. This will make the bait sit off the bottom by 2in, obviously!

A 2in lift off the bottom isn’t going to look too unnatural, and believe us you’ll get plenty of runs with a bait presented that far off the bottom.

If the venue is silty we would recommend having a 4in to 6in gap between the hook and the anchor weight/s as the weight may sink into the silt but the distance between the weight and the hook will ensure that the bait sits proud of the silt where the fish will be able to find it.

If the venue is very weedy try using a gap of 12in between the hook and your anchor weight so that the imitation bait rises up through the weed and doesn’t become entangled within it.


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The amount of split shot or tungsten putty you will need to use down the line will depend upon the buoyancy and size and number of fake baits that you intend to use. As they all vary slightly in buoyancy the only way to find out is to bait your hair rig with whatever fake bait you’re using, add a little weight onto the hooklength and lower the hooklength into the margins to see how the bait performs under the weight of the shot or putty that you’ve used.

The rule of thumb here is to use just enough to pull the bait down – don’t use excessive amounts of shot or a big lump of putty as it’s not necessary. In most situations a BB shot will be enough, or a chunk of putty the size of a 1p.


The key to success here is to use a flexible hooklength, so that rules out thick fluorocarbon as that stuff just refuses to bend!

The best hooklength to use is braid as it is soft, supple and will bend really easily at the shot/weight to create a hinge up towards the popped-up bait.

Monofilament is second best as it prefers to lay straight and won’t produce a perfect L-shape at the point where the weight is placed.

As regards the length of the hook link material, that’s up to you. Generally speaking a Method hooklength will be anywhere between 3in and 12in, a specialist semi-fixed bolt rig hooklength will be around 4in to 8in, while a general purpose feeder/leger hooklength will be anywhere between 12in and 3ft. The choice is yours.


This is a technique that many anglers use when fishing the Method. The buoyant fake bait is fished upon a short hooklength of between 2in and 6in that is tied directly to the bottom swivel of an in-line Method feeder and no weight is used to anchor the bait to the lake bed. Once the rig is cast out the groundbait around the frame feeder breaks down and the fake bait rises upwards to sit between 2in and 6in above it.

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