Description: White larvae of the blue bottle fly up to 1cm long.
Ideal for: Most fish like maggots including roach, chub, bream, barbel, tench and carp
Where from: Fishing tackle shops.

The humble maggot is without a doubt the most popular bait used by anglers all over the country. The larvae of the blue bottle is loved by almost all species and sizes of fish from inch long minnows to forty pound plus carp. It is a staple for matchmen and pleasure anglers on rivers and lakes as well as being a devastating bait for big fish anglers targeting barbel, tench, bream, chub, roach and carp. Maggots are bred for anglers on special farms using waste meat products and are sold by all good fishing tackle shops. They are usually sold in pints or half pints in maize meal or bran to keep them dry and kept in plastic bait boxes with air holes in the lid to allow them to breathe. Don’t overfill your bait boxes as without enough air the maggots will sweat and become useless. As a rough rule of thumb use a bait box of at least twice the capacity of the amount of maggots you want to buy so if you want to buy a pint take at least a two pint box. You can tell how fresh a maggot is by the size of the dark feed spot in its body, the larger it is the fresher the maggot They must be kept cold to slow down their natural development into chrysalis’ and ultimately flies so if possible always keep them in a fridge where they will last up to three weeks. If not a cold garage floor will do but they won’t last more than a week or so in warm weather. Fresh maggots are very active and soft to the touch and are better for most types of fishing, the only exception being in icy cold water where they tend to stretch and lose their liveliness. In cold water tougher older maggots are often better as they seem to be more hardy.

Hooking maggots

To present a lively appealing looking maggot hookbait that looks and behaves like the loose feed you are throwing in use as small and fine wire a hook as you can, taking into consideration the size of the fish you are trying to catch, and it must be sharp.

Gently squeeze the maggot and nick the hook into the skin of the maggot at the blunt end. When you have got it right no juice will have come out of the maggot and it will be wriggling vigorously on the hook. If you burst the maggot trying to put it on remove it and try again. When fishing with a single maggot use a size 24 to 20 hook, for double maggot use a size 20 to 16 hook and for three or four maggots use a size 14 or 12 hook. When fishing for specimen carp or barbel you can fish with big bunches of up to a dozen maggots on a size 10 to 6 hook but because of the thicker wire you will burst some if not all of them. Because of this many big fish anglers thread big bunches onto fine wire maggot clips that are then attached to the hook on a hair rig.

Colours and Flavours

Natural white maggots catch thousands of fish but coloured maggots are possibly even more popular with bronze and red being the favoured colours. Colouring maggots is a messy complicated business as the colour has to be introduced at the feeding stage to ensure the colour is inside the maggot rather than just on the surface where it might simply wash off in the water. If you want to use coloured maggots buy them from the shop. Bronze maggots are excellent for roach and chub while red maggots work well for tench perch and carp. Many anglers believe in giving themselves an edge by flavouring their maggots. This is not a new thing with flavours like fenugreek having been used as early as the sixties and turmeric considered an essential for river anglers through the seventies and eighties. Nowadays with carp anglers flavours so readily available the world is your oyster for flavouring with vanilla and strawberry being popular with commercial anglers and pineapple a favourite with big roach anglers. To flavour maggots simply riddle off all the maize or dust they come supplied in and add a few drops of flavour to them and let them wriggle about in it.

Maggot Tips

1 – When fishing with double maggot hook the first one through the pointy end and the second through the blunt end as normal to help prevent line spin.

2 – Floating maggots can be deadly especially when fishing on the drop or up in the water with the weight of the hook being jus enough to make them sink very slowly. To make maggots float simply put 5 to 6mm of water into a bait box, add a few maggots, enough for hookbaits only, put the lid on and leave for 20 minutes in which time they will absorb enough water to make them float.

3 – Keep your maggots dry at all times. When wet maggots can climb out of the deepest bait box so when it rains put the lid on or put them under your brolly to prevent mass escapes.

4 – When keeping maggots for any length of time let them run through a maggot riddle every few days and remove any dead skins or casters that stay on the riddle and add fresh maize every week to keep them in tip top condition.

5 – Dead maggots are superb for long sessions for big fish as they won’t bury themselves in the mud and silt on the lake or river bed. To kill them put them in a polythene bag, squeeze out all the air and pop them into the freezer for a day or two.

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  1. John Stark

    May 14, 2008

    Can I freeze Maggots for later use?

  2. Mark Murdoch

    May 20, 2008


    You can freeze maggots but obviously when they freeze all the way through they die. That said they are a great addition to groundbait for bream and also a good bait for carp on method feeder. I have also used them to good effect on the pole for carp when the weather is that bit colder and the bigger inert baits such as sweetcorn and pellets are not working yet.


  3. Gordon clark

    Aug 21, 2008

    is it possible for me to colour my own maggots

  4. Bill

    Sep 04, 2008

    Does anyone know how and when you add colour to maggots that you breed yourself? What colouring agent should be used?

  5. Steve

    Mar 08, 2009

    What is the best temperature to keep maggots in your fridge?

  6. Sir snapalot

    Apr 07, 2009

    You can keep your maggots at 34 fahrenheit or 1 centigrade

    has for the colouring of maggots you will need rhodamine red =red maggots ,mythic orange= bronze and auramine = yellow

    Mix dye with corn oil and spread over feeding maggots on forth day of feeding

  7. Mike Rowe

    Oct 20, 2009

    watch this episode of Dirty Jobs. Its all about Maggot farming.

  8. Dylan

    May 14, 2010

    You can just use normal food colouring or even flavoured colouring.

  9. Ben

    Jun 30, 2010

    Is it safe to keep maggots in the same fridge I keep my food in?