If you’re looking to catch a shoal of chub, or those in a pressured venue where larger baits can be ignored, you can’t beat a maggot approach.
Many anglers think that maggots are only for small fish, yet some proper monsters can be tempted on the little wrigglers.
You can present maggots in several ways, but by far the best is under a waggler float, in a simple trotting scenario.
You will target the same swims as when freelining or link-legering. Once again, try to locate fish with the use of polarising glasses.
Once you’ve found them, a catapult full of maggots deposited upstream of the shoal should gain their interest, and it’s hugely exciting to watch as the loosefed grubs are devoured.
Importantly, never be too eager to present your hookbait – a constant stream of loosefeed will whip the fish into a frenzy. Only when you have several chub competing avidly is it time to introduce your hookbait.
Try to deliver your float alongside a pouchful of maggots. As the float travels downstream with the flow, we’re sure it won’t remain visible for long…
A waggler attached with float stops enables easy depth changes and causes less damage to your mainline than split shot. The float should be as small as possible and made from clear plastic, so as not to spook wary fish. A loaded float of around 2AAA is more than adequate, as seldom do you need any weights down the line towards the hookbait.
A mainline of 4lb-5lb breaking strain is ideal. Choose a brand specifically made for floatfishing.
3) Shotting pattern
Depending on the depth at which you are fishing, and the pace of flow, you may or may not need any shot on the line. If you do, a strung-out shirt button-style string of No4 and No6 shot gives the hookbait a natural looking fall – something that will definitely result in more bites.
4) Hooklength v straight through
Different situations demand a slightly different approach. In open-water swims you can attach a pre-tied hooklength, which will always win you more bites. A strong spade end hook in size 18 attached to 3lb monofilament is ideal. In swims which present hazards such as snags or weed growth, it is advisable to fish straight through, tying a strong size 18 to your mainline.
A double maggot hookbait is hard to beat, especially as it helps disguise your hook amid the free offerings. Never use more than two maggots, though, as the chub may notice the difference. If it is really hard to win a bite, you could drop down to a single maggot presented on a size 20.
A balanced set-up is essential to ensure fish are landed on light lines and small hooks. However, you will, in certain cases, need a bit of backbone to stop lively chub. A stepped-up float rod with a soft tip creates the ideal blank for trotting, with a length of at least 13ft creating several advantages, such as line and fish control. A fixed-spool reel is favoured over other types, although a centrepin can be used too.