Fly-fishing-baits. A pint of maggots please!



The most commonly used fly-fishing-baits are commercially available liver maggot. You can buy them from almost all tackle shops. They are sold by the pint (0.58L) and can be used when fishing for a wide variety of species. Some tackle shops mix them with an absorption agent such as ground bait or sawdust, others sell them without(called solids).

Most fishermen keep their maggots in plastic containers with several air-holes punched in the lid. These holes must be kept clear. The container should be approximately half full.

Solids will keep better if some ground bait or sawdust is added. Before fishing you should keep them somewhere cool. The warmer they are the more active they become and the friction that is generated from them rubbing against one another causes them to secrete ammonia. In a poorly ventilated container with no absorption agent to soak up the ammonia the maggots will quickly perish.

During the warmer months of the year you should buy only enough maggots for the day’s fishing. Maggots don’t keep very well if their environment is too warm. In winter they will survive much longer without suffering any ill effects, though their skin may become somewhat leathery.

The larvae of the greenbottle fly and the houseflyalso make excellent fly-fishing-baits. The former are usually referred to as pinkies, and the latter as squatts. Pinkies are smaller than liver maggots and squatts are even smaller.

If you are a beginner I would advise you to forget about pinkies and squatts which are used mainly in match fishing and use maggots. As we have mentioned before maggots are sold by the pint, this quantity should be more than enough for a days fishing.

Using Maggots

The hook needs to be very sharp and should be pushed through the skin at the maggots rear. Care must be taken whilst doing this as it is very easy to ‘burst’ the maggot.

If the maggot is correctly impaled on the hook it will still be able to wiggle, thereby increasing it’s attractiveness to the fish. How many maggots you put on your hook depends upon the type of fish you are after. Obviously the more maggots used the bigger the hook required. Maggots can also be used as loose feed.

The only real problem with using maggots is that they appear attractive to almost all fish both large and small. But, as small fish greatly outnumber large ones in most rivers, maggots are likely to lead to the angler hooking mostly small fish. If you are a pursuing larger prey then you will need to use fly-fishing-baits which are too large for the smaller fish to take.

Fly-fishing-baits. Back to bait