<p>A ‘go to’ method that has literally dominated lakes throughout the winter months, but many refuse to consider, due to the complex nature of either the application or not having the correct understanding of the delicacies of the presentation needed to fully utilise the method.
I personally devote the harshest of days throughout the winter months to fishing higher stocked lakes with my son/stepsons and whilst they enjoy the art of float fishing with maggots, catching all the bits we all grew up with and loved every cast.
I will be found to be fine tuning my maggot approach trying to outwit a dormant carp. Many a cold day has the rod hooped and bucked in the rest multiple times whilst many around me either sit lifeless without any action persevering with their boilie tactics they’ve used all year to great success hoping it will pay off!
I will also clarify here that this is not a small fish method either, which appears to be misconstrued by many, as many large delicate feeding fish are tripped up by the finesse of the rig setup when using maggots and a swift change in tactics from the maligned boilie fishing can reap rewards as many thinking angler has proved.
I feel it’s very short-sighted to discount the live visual aspect that not only maggots, but worms, as well have during the winter and I’ve had some surprising results whilst targeting some exquisitely striped perch that has lead me to re-think my approach for carp on those bitterest of winter days. Starting with the colour I’ve found that the reds hold a little more visual impact than the whites after a few side by side trials over the years although I feel the stimulatory properties of them is far more superior to the colour.
I’ve found a few little tweaks that have really stood out over the years that have added an enhancement to maggots and the results seemed to be improved with them. Firstly, adding liquids to the maggots, I’ve found to say a couple of pints of maggots you can add a surprising amount of liquids only impeded by your own imagination.
I personally add between 25ml and 75ml of liquid foods depending on the strength of the liquid food in 3 stages firstly the night before say 25ml which gives the maggots a chance to draw in the liquid, then another 25ml in the morning before I leave for the lake/river then depending on the length of the session maybe another 25ml when they look to have soaked up the liquid in the bucket keeping them well dosed/or fed keeps the maggots in tiptop condition as well and when they pop they smell of the liquid, if you’re planning on fishing a certain flavour boilie on the venue you have just started on with the maggots try using the matching glug from that boilie as a least it will give the fish a taste of the flavour before you start introducing the boilie late winter/early spring.
My personal favourites in the liquid food range are natural blend, shellfish concentrate or the response bait booster’s especially the fruit one. These have all produced some nice carp on the coldest of days.
Powdering your maggots although something that many match man do as a matter of course many don’t think about dusting maggots, but this really enhances their pulling power and believe me that gives them a really edge and further enriches the allure of them to passing fish. Strong olfactory stimulants like the garlic powder or the blue cheese powder are proven winners and have produced steady action for me on some surprisingly awful winter days.
The dormant nature of fish in a prolonged spell of the harshest of winter weather can mean fish move very little and you will experience only very short spells of feeding during these aforementioned conditions, the problem with maggots is they very quickly tend to crawl away and hide themselves under the sediment layer on the bottom of the lake, I’ve found that killing them can keep them in a tight grouping and especially important if you are fishing a tight little spot.
The most ideal method is to cover the maggots with cold water to just above the main bulk and slowly but surely add boiling water to the cold water raising the temperature until they are dead don’t be tempted to add boiling water straight to them as they go all mushy and pasty looking rendering them unusable.
The dead maggots I will either spomb or spoon out to the spot getting the bulk of them out there and then I would attach small 50p sized pva bags of live maggots to the hook before casting, don’t be tempted in the cold weather to glug the bag in liquid before casting as this prolongs the breakdown time of the pva considerably.
But I’ve also found on higher stocked lakes that applying on a little and often basis via spomb/spoon keeps the swim alive and helps eventually draw the fish into the spot, the constant activity really helps stir the fish up and entices them to investigate the regular commotion.
An edge that has produced well for me is to combine the maggots with groats, this not only helps spread the cost of constantly feeding lots of maggots throughout a session especially if you are there for 48/72 hours, but also the groats take on flavour really well so if you combine the maggots with the groats and add your chosen liquid food this will soak in as well and the whitish colouration and size matches the maggots well. I hope this has given you a few tips and tricks to work with over the winter months and with all those winter carp being shown the same old tactics give the maggots a try and see if your results are better than expected.
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