Carp fishing with maggots can work exceptionally well for catching carp, especially in the colder winter months.
In these colder months the carp become less active, they feed less and move less.
When they do feed it’s usually a smaller amount than in the warm months and they are much more selective, this is part of the reason why maggots are so effective during this time.
Let’s dive into some tips and tactics for carp fishing with maggots.
When to Use Maggots
Maggots are primarily used in the winter months when fishing for carp can be exceptionally tough.
During these months, the maggot bite will usually get good, typically from December to March.
During this period of famine in terms of bite, maggots can be the key to enticing them, and if done correctly, can even outperform your summer fishing action, due to the fish really keying in on natural food sources and not other types of presentations.
Maggot Fishing Tactics
When arriving at your fishing spot, be prepared to spod about a gallon of maggots. You want your bait bed to be fairly small, but a little spread is definitely preferred, this is why I would recommend a spod over say PVA bags.
The great thing about maggots is that they wriggle around and spread a bit on their own. Carp actively bottom feeding on your bed of maggots will waft them around while feeding with the vacuum like mouths and tail action.
This spreads the maggots out, and keeps them there for hours, even overnight. This spreading action keeps carp in the swim that you’re fishing for hours as they attempt to root out every single last maggot.
Many carp anglers shy away from using maggots because of nuisance fish such as bream or tench eating their bait.
But in the winter months bream and tench live by the same rules as carp, with slower feeding habits in the cold water.
Nuisance fish eat much less than carp during this time and in the winter months it actually isn’t a problem.
With only minor exceptions, you might only catch one of these fish here or there, but it is by far a constant issue.
Rigs for Maggots
There are a few different types or rigs that really excel at maggot fishing, and they all have something in common, typically they are smaller and lighter setups that complement the smaller bait presentation that are maggots.
Let’s take a look at a few rigs you can use to catch carp with maggots.
Critically Balanced Carp Rig
The components you will need to make this rig are a maggot clip, a small piece of sponge (I like using ones that are red in colour) for buoyancy and for using liquid attractant, a hook around 10 or 12 in size, and some small split shot sinkers in case we need more weight.
For this rig you need to tie on a very short bait lead from the hook of only an inch or 2 at most. Threading the maggot clip through the sponge and to the lead that is attached to the hook. I recommend using around 6 maggots on the maggot clip. The great thing about the maggots and sponge is that it hides the hook very well.
This rig is going to take a little bit of work and patience to set up correctly. That’s why we said split shot sinkers may be needed. We want the maggot to float just off the surface, but not enough to lift more than an inch or two off of the bottom. If your sponge is too buoyant, start adding some weight on the lighter end of the spectrum, and move up in weight until you get it dialed in perfectly.
This ones a classic. Grab a sewing needle and some sturdy sewing thread, and shish kebab a piece of imitation corn and your maggots onto the sewing needle, we recommend about 6 maggots here and only 1 piece of corn.
We also recommend you put the corn on last so that it’s in between the hook and the maggots.
Slide your maggots from the needle to the thread, and then the piece of corn, tie a small metal ring onto your hook length to form the hair, tie on a number 10 or 12 sized hook using a knotless knot, tie the threaded maggots and corn onto the ring. Voila. Corn and maggot rig folks.
Keep Rigging simple
With the exception of our critically balanced rig suggestion keeping your rigs simple is probably your best bet here, we are looking for small, natural, and subtle presentations.
You can even scratch the need for threading with needles and bait links and put 6 or so maggots directly on your hook in most cases. Maggots are gonna wriggle around on the hook and give an incredibly appealing presentation.
Caring for Your Maggots
The best place to store maggots when you are not fishing is in the fridge (wife’s approval recommended), this can keep your maggots alive and happy for up to two weeks.
The cold of the fridge slows their metabolism down enough to prevent them from turning into casters. Oh, by the way, always keep a lid on them to prevent damp maggots from venturing into your wife’s casserole if she agrees to allow you to keep maggots in the fridge.
If you don’t have the ability to keep maggots in your fridge (your wife said no), keep them someplace that’s dark and cool, the garage or basement floor, or better yet, in a bait box floating in a bucket or tub of water.
Bring out yer dead!
Be sure when you have stored your bait somewhere that will allow them to survive for weeks, that you go and pick out any maggots that have turned into casters or died. This will keep the rest from the same fate more quickly than normal.
Riddle me this!
One great way to separate large quantities of living maggots from dead ones is to use a riddle. Grab yourself a bucket and a riddle and put the riddle over the bucket and add all your maggots.
The living maggots will wriggle their way through the riddle, leaving all debris and dead maggots in the riddle itself.
Now, our next tip is a very important one in regards to your wife. As a consolation prize, you can give the dead maggots to your wife! She can use them to feed the birds out in the garden, her favourite songbirds will happily munch on the dead maggots.
The Path Less Travelled
As mentioned in our introduction many carp anglers shy away from maggots due to them thinking that the nuisance fish makes it not worth the time and effort.
We also explained how in the winter months when maggots are truly effective that this issue isn’t much of, well, an issue. On pressured bodies of water maggots can really outshine everything due to not being used much.
And likewise, once you start doing well with maggots on a body of water, I would even encourage you to bring your friends there and have them throw maggots in multiple areas.
This will tune in the carp to feed on them regularly after feeding on your large baitings of free maggots from spodding, and over time can actually make maggots the best big carp catching bait you can throw on that body of water.
Pros and Cons of Maggot Fishing
- Can be devastating in the winter months to big carp
- Simple rigging is all that’s needed
- Last a decent amount of time in between fishing sessions
- Requires some daily maintenance during storage to keep alive
- Can attract nuisance fish to your bait offerings
- Wife might have reservations about keeping a colony of creepy crawlies in the fridge
Carp fishing with maggots is something that you should not shy away from, particularly in the winter months.
Many carp anglers shy away from these presentations, but let’s be honest, to an opportunistic angler, you should embrace that mentality and exploit it.
The lack of anglers fishing with maggots means that the fish see them less frequently and are more prone to accepting your offering.
If you have any questions or anything to add feel free to leave a comment below and I will get back to you ASAP