Maggots are a superb bait in early spring and are my ‘go to’ tactic when times get hard. The key in is to use a maximum amount of attraction and minimal food. I see a lot of anglers using bucketfuls of maggots, but I really don’t think you need that many.
At this time of year, if you can find the fish you only need a small amount of bait to tempt a bite. Multiple catches can be made using small PVA bags of maggots.
I like to customise my maggots a little, in order to maximise their pulling power. Normally I apply a splash of liquid additive to them the night before, my favourite being L-Zero 30-T, which is naturally very salty and fishy. The maggots take on the flavour of the liquid and by the morning will be oozing with extra attraction.
When I’m buying maggots in the tackle shop, I always ask for them to be sieved. With no maize meal or sawdust, they will sweat up quickly, and so to prevent this I add some Krill Active Mix or powder. Krill works brilliantly with maggots and they will again take on the flavour of the powdered additive.
I use the ‘boosted’ maggots in a PVA bag and add some crumbed Krill boilies too. I hook the bag on to my rig to add all that taste, smell and the small amount of food around the hookbait.
On the rig, I like to use a 12mm Signature pop-up fished just off the bottom. Then, I tie five maggots to the hair loop of the hooklink using a length of bait floss (see sequence, below). I find that five is enough to catch the carp’s eye, but not too many to affect the buoyancy of the pop-up, which would change the way the rig is sitting.
This is fished with a simple combi-rig, with the supple section coming near the hook. This allows the pop-up to sit just off the lakebed, anchored down by a blob of putty. Adopting these tactics has helped me catch some special fish over the last few years. Last autumn, I had a number of carp to over 41lb using this approach - at a time when the lake hadn’t been fishing well and the carp had been hard to catch!
HOW TO TIE
Start off by pouring a generous helping of Sticky Baits’ L-Zero 30-T over the maggots
Next, add a small amount of Krill Active Mix to prevent the maggots from sweating too much
The maggots should now look like this. They will be packed full of fishy attraction
Choose a 12mm pop-up boilie in whichever colour you fancy. Yellow and white work well
Use a baiting needle to thread the pop-up on to the hair loop of your hooklink, as normal
Next, using a pair of sharp braid scissors, cut off a 30cm length of bait floss
Take a sewing needle and thread on five maggots, nicking them only very lightly
Thread one end of the bait floss through the eye of the sewing needle
Carefully push the maggots on to the bait floss, making sure you don’t burst any of them
Pass the floss through the hair’s loop and secure with a couple of overhand knots