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Without doubt the most convenient bait, and the most widely used by anglers, is the maggot. The commercial liver maggot can be readily bought from most fishing tackle shops. Maggots are sold by the pint measure (0.57 litre) and can be used to tempt most species of fish. Some shops sell the maggots in sawdust or dry groundbait whilst others sell them without an absorption agent. And these are known as solids.

Maggots can be kept epiite easily. Providing a lew simple precautions are taken. Keep the maggots in a plastic container and ensure that the air holes in the lid are kepi clear. Never over-fill the bait container. And in the summer months it is advisable to only half-fill it with maggots. If you buy solids then they will keep a lot better if dry ground-bait or bran is added. Always try to store your maggots in a cool place before fishing. Maggots are always a lot more active in warm weather and the friction of them all wriggling and rubbing together makes them secrete ammonia. Kept in a container with no air circulation and no absorption agent, maggots will simply ‘sweat’ causing them to froth up and smell. As well as making them unpleasant to handle, sweating maggots quickly die and are useless as bait.

In the summer it is advisable to buy only enough maggots for the day’s fishing. During the winter months maggots can be kept in a bait container for a lot longer without coming to any harm, although the skins will become more leathery than the skins of fresh maggots. In very cold weather this can be an advantage. Low water temperatures cause fresh, soft-skinned maggots to elongate and become lifeless in the water, whereas the old. Tougher-skinned maggots still retain a bit of life. – //

Pinkies are the larvae of the greenbottle fly and squatts are the larvae of the housefly. Pinkies are smaller than the liver maggot and squatts are smaller still. Both pinkies and squatts are used mainly for match fishing and are best ignored by the beginner. The amount of maggots needed for a day’s fishing depends a great deal on the kind of water being fished. For most situations the beginner will catch plenty of fish with a pint of maggots. In winter, when fish are a lot less active, a pint of maggots may well be enough for several fishing trips. How to use maggots For use as bait, the maggots should be hooked through the skin at the blunt end. The hook should be very sharp and the point should be just pushed through the skin of the maggot near the two ‘eyes’ at the rear end. Care should be taken not to burst the maggot whilst it is being impaled on the hook. Correctly hooked maggots are free to wriggle which increases their attractiveness to fish. Maggots can be fished either singly or in bunches depending on the species of fish you are trying to catch. One or two maggots can be fished on a size 16 or 18 hook whereas a size 6 or 8 hook would need to be used for a bunch of a dozen maggots. Maggots can also be fed into the swim as loose feed to encourage fish to feed. On some heavily fished waters anglers have introduced so many maggots into the water over the years that the fish have come to accept them as part of their natural diet. Some species, notably barbel, have become so used to maggots on these waters that it is often difficult to get them to accept a different bait. The main drawback with using maggots is that they are a totally unselective bait. On the majority of waters small fish greatly outnumber the larger ones and the angler wishing to catch decent sized fish is best advised to use a larger bait which the little fish cannot tackle.

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