Fishing Canals


Smart anglers pull off all sorts of tricks with maggots. They can be killed by freezing or immersing in boiling water and in this state won’t wriggle into the silt; ideal for when you want them to stay put for longer periods when targeting bream, tench and eels. Another good trick is to keep a separate container of water or fizzy pop. A few minutes in this solution and you have floating maggots, brilliant for counterbalancing your hook and catching roach and rudd on the drop, or indeed legered presentations where you don’t want your hookbait disappearing into the weed.

Fishing Canals Photo Gallery


Smaller than normal maggots, pinkies come into their own for canal fishing. The beauty of these smaller grubs is that you can trickle more of them into the swim without overfeeding the fish. They keep as well as maggots and can be conditioned the same way. When ‘scratching’ for bites in tough conditions, they are simply brilliant on tiny hooks, sizes 20-24. You’ll also often find pinkies dyed in a bright orange besides the usual colours, and a single ‘disco’ pinkie on a tiny hook is the sort of bait that will get bites on the most gruelling of days. Don’t be deceived by their size however -many a quality bream has been taken on double pinkie.


Pinkies and squats are fantastic baits for several reasons. They are incredible value firstly. Even if you feed them every minute, a pint goes a long way. Both are excellent for small fish, but you’ll also draw bigger fish and catch these on tiny hookbaits too. Squats come into their own when waters become clear and the fishing hard. Pinkies stand out more and become the better bait when the water is more coloured. There’s nothing stopping you from combining baits, and one economical trick is to ask for a pinch of pinkies with your pint of squats, or a few big maggots with your pint of pinkies so you have a few bigger hook samples.


The tiniest of maggots, squats, come in a fine sand and require rather more careful storage than other grubs. They can be stored on the cool floor of a garage for short periods, but keep the temperature control at a higher setting if you wish to store them in the fridge.

Squats come into their own for winter fishing, when they possess a terrific ability to hold fish like roach and skimmers in the swim. Because they are so tiny, they keep the fish interested for ages without filling them up. They work well with groundbait and unlike bigger maggots they won’t break up balls of the stuff. They also make good winter hookbaits on tiny hooks. I also like squats in conjunction with liquidized bread; sometimes you keep catching fish on squats when bites dry up on bread punch.

Tiny terrors: squats will keep fish grubbing about for ages, without filling them up.

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