Feeder fishing is extremely common in carp, and coarse fishing, with many anglers using some sort of feeder to bait up a swim with their hook bait, presented close by.
Feeders are usually small plastic devices that allow you to hold bait during the cast where they will sink to the bottom before the bait starts to release.
This is a great method for encouraging fish into your swim, where they will hopefully begin to feed comfortably on the free bait where your hook bait will be presented close by.
There are a few different types of feeders, such as the method feeder, open-ended feeder, cage feeder and even the maggot feeder.
What feeder you choose to fish will mostly depend on the bait mixture you’re planning to fish and also at what depth you are planning to fish.
As you’d imagine, maggot feeders are specifically designed to feed maggots on the bottom and can be extremely effective at putting fish in the net in the right conditions.
So, let’s take a look at how to fish a maggot feeder.
How to Fish a Maggot Feeder?
What is a Maggot Feeder?
Maggots feeders are small plastic capsules of various sizes and weights that will have holes drilled into the side of them so maggots can wriggle and escape when the feeder is in the water.
The maggot feeder will have some “door” that you can open to fill your maggots on the bank, and once closed, the only way that the maggots can escape is through the holes.
Like all feeders, they will come at different weights and sizes and even with different amounts of holes. Heavier weights will allow you to cast further distance; larger sizes will allow you to fill the feeder with more maggots, and how many holes will determine the feed rate of the maggots.
The maggot feeder will often be weighted on the bottom like all other feeders so it can hold the bottom better, whether it be in flowing waters such as rivers or on slopes on still water venues.
Maggots are great for catching nearly all coarse species as they closely resemble natural food sources in the water, such as aquatic larvae or even maggots that are washed into the water during heavy rain or wind.
They are small enough that all small silverfish have no problem picking them up.
This is a pro, and also sometimes a con of using a maggot feeder, as the consistent feeding of maggots will be sure to bring plenty of coarse species into your swim, whether they are large or small.
Match anglers are fond of fishing the maggot feeder as it allows them to catch plenty of fish, but specimen carp anglers think differently as they are only in it to try and catch the largest carp possible.
Steps for Fishing a Maggot Feeder
The steps for fishing a maggot feeder are rather simple and relatively the same as those used for fishing other feeder variations for coarse fish.
The first step in fishing the maggot feeder effectively is to ensure you choose an area of the lake that is likely to hold fish.
This is not only an essential part of maggot feeder fishing but can also be the most important step in any fishing approach.
When it comes to coarse and carp angling, you can spend a good bit of time watching the water to look for any telltale signs of carp, such as them showing on the surface, feeding bubbles, areas of silty water where they carp may be feeding on the bottom and uprooting silt.
Features are also a great place to start; these include close to margins, beside weed beds, the margins or any snags in the water, such as fallen or overhanging trees.
Commonly, fish will stay close to these areas as they feel safe and will be more comfortable feeding here.
Once you’ve located a potential swim, you should load up your maggot feeder and cast out to your swim.
Make sure you are accurate with your cast, and try to cast as close to the feature you’re fishing.
Bites should come fairly quickly, and it is classed as more of an active method of feeder fishing; you shouldn’t be leaving out your feeder and hook bait for too long.
5-10 minutes should be a reasonable time to leave in your feeder before retrieving and re-filling your feeder before casting accurately to the same swim.
If you’re not receiving bites but are having plenty of line bites, then you can mix up the colour of maggots on your hook to see if this brings any more interest.
Casters can also be a potential if you’re not having much luck with live maggots on your hook.
When is a Maggot Feeder Most Effective?
The maggot feeder can be great for coarse fishing throughout the year, but during the summer, when small silverfish can be more of a nuisance, it can become frustrating if you’re only looking to target larger fish.
The maggot feeder will bring in all sizes of fish that will quickly hoover up all the free maggots and often pluck the maggots from your hook or become hooked.
If this isn’t a problem for you and you’re happy to catch any size of fish, then the maggot feeder can be great all year round.
However, if you’re a carp angler or looking to target large carp, then the winter can be a great time to bring out a maggot feeder.
As the water temperature drops into winter, the carp’s metabolism will have slowed considerably, and they will spend far less time feeding.
As the carp’s metabolism has slowed, they are much less likely to pick up nutrition-rich baits such as boilies or pellets, and it can be extremely easy to overfeed fish on these baits during the winter.
Maggots naturally present themselves and can be easily picked on without overfeeding the fish. They are also going to need to work to find the maggots as they wriggle around in the silt so it can keep the fish in your swim for longer periods.
How to Tie a Maggot Feeder?
Tying the maggot feeder rig can be fairly straightforward and almost identical to how you would tie other feeder rigs.
The video below does a great job of explaining how you can tie a maggot feeder rig.
- Slide your maggot feeder onto your mainline
- Attach a line stop after the maggot feeder to stop the feeder from sliding back off the mainline
- Tie on a quick change swivel by spinning the line together to create a 3-inch more rigid length of double line before tying it off in a loop
- Pull the rubber stop back down to the top of this double-line boom.
- Hook your hook length onto the quick-change swivel
Maggot Feeder Tips
Mix Up Your Bait
Once tip that can help your maggot feeder approach is to mix the colour of maggots you’re fishing within the maggot feeder.
You can also mix in some casters or fluoro pinkies to give the fish a choice and also to help with the attraction of your swim with plenty of different coloured maggots wriggling.
Fill Your Feeder
It won’t take maggots long to wriggle from your feeder, so you should make sure you’re fishing every cast as effectively as possible.
If your feeder is not packed with maggots effectively, there’s a high chance that the maggots will begin to fly out during the cast.
Also, if the feeder is too empty, then as it hits the water, the maggots can be easily washed out as it drifts to the bottom of the water.
This is something you need to avoid as you want as many maggots as possible to be making it to the bottom of the water to bring fish into your swim and near your hook bait.
If you’re fishing for silvers or F1 carp, a long hooklink can be a great method for catching fish as the feeder sinks to the bottom.
The long hooklink with maggots attached will sink slower than the feeder, which can be great for catching some fish as they watch the maggots drift slowly to the bottom.
Maggot feeders can be a great method for catching all sorts of coarse fish but can be especially useful for fishing natural baits in the winter than are not going to overfeed the lethargic fish.
They can be extremely easy to tie and fish if you follow the simple steps above.