When temperatures plummet and when winter really takes a grip, carp fishing can be hard, however even with the temperatures only a few degrees above freezing and with a hard frost still on the ground, if you get your tackle, tactics and bait correct, there are still much fish to be caught.
In the winter, carp stop moving around as much and so one excellent method and more importantly one excellent bait which can be used to devastating effect in these conditions is the humble maggot!
Carp Fishing with Maggots as Bait
Winter is the time of year many anglers turn to the wrigglers. You can slowly and consistently feed them on the river and get all manner of silverfish, chub and barbel feeding, as they don’t get as full as they would if you stuck to pellets and boilies. However, maggots truly come into their own in specimen carp fishing, buying you bites on days where lakes have been almost totally frozen! The natural attraction mixed with their tantalising wriggle is irresistible, even to fish that wouldn’t normally be feeding.
It is important to look after your maggots in the winter. After picking up your batch of maggots from your local Angling Direct, invest in a riddle and bait bucket so that you can sieve them and keep them in the best condition for the carp. Sieving maggots prevents them from sweating as much which can cause a nasty smell that puts carp off. The maggots that do not end going through the sieve after 15 minutes or so you may want to throw away or put to one side (dying or dead maggots are still useful!).
Using Dead Maggots as Fishing Bait
Either pour boiling water over them and drain or freeze them (careful there are no domestic accidents caused by boiling water!) to ensure the maggots no longer wriggle. Then head out to the bank and give them a go. They are great at creating a carpet of feed as they can’t wriggle away on the bottom and they are a little less together in the skin which makes them great for the hook.
Give you Maggots an Edge
In recent years, maggots have been seen to dominate waters, especially with some venues becoming almost maggot-only through the winter. When a bait is used a lot it can be a challenge to get carp’s attention so look to give an edge to your maggots. Watch the video below for 3 ways to use maggots for fishing.
TOP TIP: It is a good idea to mix some flavours in with your maggots. Try adding hemp and bait powders to give maggots and an extra kick of attractant.
What Colour Maggot is Best for Carp Fishing?
When choosing your colour maggots it’s not just a case of catching the angler’s eye; there are certainly times at which one colour is way more effective than others. While red maggots work brilliantly for all my specimen carp fishing, bronze maggots can be great on the river so do not limit yourself: have a selection of colours, and see what works best on the day.
Try a Maggot Feeder
In cold water conditions, the maggot feeder is not only extremely simple but also incredibly effective! Watch the video below to find out more.
TOP TIP: Make a Maggot Ball! Bind maggots together to form a ball to use on the longer range. Either add to your maggot feeder, solid PVA for a bottom presentation or catapultthe ball to your target area.
How to Avoid Nuisance Fish in the Winter
Many of us head to carp venues that do not have a large amount of coarse fish but if your venue does, you should consider what spots to fish from so you avoid shoals of coarse fish and do not end up wasting all your maggots.
TOP TIP: Try to spod your bait in the middle of the day and get a carpet of food into place before these brief feeding spells where silverfish become active.
How To Tie The Perfect Maggot Rig
The perfect Maggot rig for carp fishing incorporates high visibility and colour variation to help combat unwanted species ruining your rigs presentation. Check out how to tie this rig in the video below:
When heading to the bank armed with some of the finest red wrigglers, and with these tips, we hope you catch a few more fish this winter.
For more tips, tricks and winter fishing advice, head on over to ADTV or read our fishing blogs.