An invaluable, year-round staple, maggots catch most species of fish. If you had to pick just one bait for canals, maggots would probably top the list. They can be readily bought, easily prepared and even flavoured.
Storage is a sticking point in many households, but maggots will last at least a week in the fridge. They can be cold stored for longer still in a sealed, airtight bag; in this state they go torpid, but do require some air every couple days if you want to keep them in decent condition. Most maggots will come by the pint in sawdust. You can use them like this, but a better idea is to riddle off the dust before fishing. You could also then substitute a different medium: flour keeps them soft, or you could flavour them with some turmeric or, my favourite, a handful of dry groundbait.
Canal Pike Fishing Photo Gallery
Maggots catch many different species, whatever the season.
Maggots are best used on smallish hooks:
• size 20-22 for a single grub
• size 14-18 for doubles
• size 10-12 for a bunch
Nick them onto the hook finely through just the skin of the blunt end to retain plenty of wriggle. In pairs, they are best hooked back to back. Commonly available in white, red or bronze, a pint of ‘mixed’ is a sensible option from the tackle shop; sometimes the fish show a preference for one colour.
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