The maggot, or ‘gentle’ as I believe they were once called (not by me!), is perhaps the most universal bait accepted by all our fish. Even predators such as pike are caught using maggots.
I still haven’t found out why they were given such an odd name, perhaps referring to the ‘gentle’ craft of angling – or in comparison to other larvae – such as wasp grubs, they are a lot easier to procure!
I must admit to using wasp ‘cake’ only once in my angling career. I was given a bag of the stuff by a Trent angler and to be honest, the dead wasps and detritus put me off. The grubs were magnificent though.
A firm believer in flavours and enhancers, I always add a little ‘something’ to increase the pulling power of the humble maggot. Scopex is perhaps my favourite, but there are lots of manufacturers out there producing excellent attractants to help us get a few more fish on the bank.
I’d like to share a couple of tips with you, which are quite easy, the first involves Horlicks powder, that well known malty drink.
If you clean half a pint of maggots through a riddle, to remove all the dust and debris, then add just a tiny amount of water and sprinkle with Horlicks. It’s amazing how sticky they become.
You’ll find you can mould the maggots into small balls, ideal for catapulting or throwing into your swim. As soon as the sticky ball of maggots hits the water, the powder starts to dissolve, enabling you to keep a very tight baited area and concentrate the fish into one spot. And there is the added bonus of a lovely malty flavour permeating the water.
The next tip takes a little more time. Again clean half a pint of maggots and put them into a three-pint bait box. Then pour boiling water over them. The idea is to ‘cook’ them. You may have to repeat the procedure a couple of times, until the maggots go stiff and rubbery. Try a few at a time, until you get the rubbery texture.
Don’t cook the maggots in the kitchen though, believe me they sniff a bit and won’t win you any brownie points.
Anglers use ‘cooked’ maggots when fishing over silt; they don’t disappear into the ooze like live maggots and it’s something the fish may not have seen before.