BAIT CLINIC/MAGGOTS TIPS
Use porridge oats to keep maggots in, rather than maize. It absorbs very large quantities of moisture, so doesn't need changing so often.
If bumping fish switching to a smaller hook can sometimes help.
If bumping fish try cross hooking the maggot, particularly if catching on the drop.
Fish could get used to seeing a maggot hooked at the blunt end. Hooking in the middle might be good as it makes it harder to nip either end. When hooking in the middle you cause more damage to the maggot of course. Barbless hooks will help in this case.
Should atomise the bran when adding it to maggots.
When making floating maggots for hookers, chop up some maggots and add it to the water. It will add a scent trail to the hookbait.
Side-hooking of the maggots. great tip to make sure the hook comes out at the blunt end. Hook parallel to length of maggot.
Accurate feeding is vital. Scatter your feed and you scatter your fish. However, scattering can sometimes be effective as it forces the fish to search for the loosefeed more. This can result in more positive bites.
If catching off the bottom it can pay to use a lighter bait. Maggots are lighter than casters. Maggots can be made to float. Enough floating maggots will completely counteract the weight of the float. So that, for example, floating maggots could be 4 foot off the bottom even when legering.
Home bred maggots can be made heavier or lighter by varying their feed. Maggots fed on fish will sink slowly whereas maggots fed on meat will sink faster. This is because fish has a higher water content.
Maizemeal makes the maggots a little softer and shrinks them a little. Sawdust does not shrink the maggots and does not soften them. Damp bran softens and does not shrink. Best to store the maggots in damp bran when in the fridge and in maize for fishing.
To clean maggots run them through a riddle. Then wet your hand, shake the excess wet off, and run your hands through the maggots. Any remaining powder etc will stick to your hands.
Drop a few maggots onto a hard surface and watch how the crawl. They always crawl along the same way up. When you have hooked your maggot drop it onto the hard surface and see if it is still able to crawl in the same manner. You will find that by hooking the maggot from behind the two eyes so it comes out at the two eyes it will behave naturally.
Also, when the maggot crawls along the hard surface the hook point wants to be facing upwards so you maximise the chance of a hookup and minimise the chance of snagging up.
In cold weather roll your hookbait maggots between your fingers - this stuns them and stops them shrivelling up when in the water.
Dead maggots are slightly more bouyant than live ones. You can use them to counteract the weight of the hook.
Floating maggots float best if made from really fresh maggots (with a good feed spot). I find red maggots are excellent and almost all turn into floaters. Drop the maggots into a tub of water and skim off the floaters.
A dab of super glue can glue maggots together to create a "maggot worm". Might get a few extra bites on a hard day.
If using double maggot hook one at the head and one at the tail. This help to reduce line spin/twist. Other ways to reduce it are to use a reel with a lower retrieve ratio, and to bringing the terminal tackle to the surface as quickly as possible and then retrieve across the surface. But of course this is not so good on a shallow swim, particularly if the water is very clear.
Maggots can be cross hooked. This mimicks the way they naturally fall through the water.
Maggots can also be completely threaded onto a hook.To do this hook one in the point first and as it wriggles slide the hook all the way through to the blunt end. It takes practice.
If you are fishing double maggot and the maggot keeps on wrapping over and covering the hook then try rolling the second maggot between your fingers to "stun" it before hooking it.
Dirty maggots can be cleaned - tip them into the foot of an old pair of nylon tights. Wash under a cold tap. An outside cold tap. Dry as best you can. Tip into a large bowl of clean sawdust.
Maggots can be kept in sawdust but before use it is better to transfer them to something that is edible. Fine maize powder works well. Maize powder is not the same as corn flour. Corn flour is very fine, maize powder is not as fine. Anything as fine as cornflour will block the holes in the maggots skin that they breathe through (their spiracles) and they will probably suffocate and die.
A larger maggot can be better than a smaller maggot for many reasons. First being a bit heavier it can be loosefed a bit further with a catapult. Second, a larger maggot can hide the hook a bit better. Third a larger maggot is heavier and so is less affected by the weight of the hook it is attached to.
Fresh maggots should possess a large black feedspot. But chuck those same maggots into a bitterly cold river and they'll probably stretch and die from the shock. You can prevent that happening by using an older maggot in the winter.
Riddle maggots off the night before and add leem (fine clay available from tackle shops) to soften them.
Use tumeric spice on your maggots. Anglers claim this makes them sink faster but it does not. What it does do is give them a spicy flavour and it can also make them wriggle more. To add tumeric: take maggots out of fridge, riddle them, add one tablespoon of tumeric per pint of bait, replace the lid and leave for a couple of hours, open lid add 4 table spoons of new clean maize, put lid back on then place in fridge ready for your next session.
Red and bronze maggots make a good loosefeed combination.
Dyed maggots - it is generally considered better to have all maggots dyed the same shade. This could be more important than size.
Dead maggots do not bury into the silty bottom (perhaps one reason casters are so good is for the same reason).
Keep maggots fresh - put clean maggots into a clear sealed plastic bag and pop into the fridge. Open the bag a few hours before fishing. Discard dead ones.
Dead maggots - put maggots into a pellet pump, remove the air, the freeze for an hour.
If the maggot is wrapping round and obscuring the point it can be a sign of small fish.?)
Smaller fish (eg minnows) will tend to leave a maggot with the insides sucked out - all that is left is the limp skin. Bigger fish on the other hand tend to cut the maggot.
Hooking a maggot at the pointed end can sometimes help if you have a lot of small fish in front of you (is this because of the previous point? does it make it harder for the hook to wrap around?)
When catching on the drop you have more chance of catching with maggot than with caster. Partly because caster is heavier, but also because with maggot fish tend to hold on for a bit longer (they can shell a caster very quickly).
Plastic bait boxes are plastic which is a great insulator. Consider keeping maggots cooler by using a metal bait box which conducts any heat away. Similarly a metal bait box can be kept warm in water with a hand-warmer pad!
Maggots kept in the fridge a sealed plastic bag (eg freezer bag) with the air removed will stay softer (than if kept in the air). They will also retain their feed spot. They go into a sort of suspended animation.
Polenta is a cheap medium to keep maggots in.
Putting maggots of different colours on the hook (eg one red and one white) helps to provide contrast so both are easier to see!
The gooey insides of a maggot can be a great attractor. Contrary to popular wisdom, on some days, you may find you get bites on a maggot that has deliberately been burst when putting it on the hook.
Consider crushing a few maggots and releasing the goo into the loosefeed. This could help to bind the maggots slightly and tighten the spread from the catapult.
Find out what temperature you should keep your bait fridge at. 2-4 C is my guess.Tight line