Fishing bait maggots are bluebottle fly larvae. You can buy them from fishing tackle shops in a sealed, ventilated bait box or maggot container and store them at home for up to 3 weeks. Bait maggots are approximately half an inch long, and anglers use them to catch tench, carp roach and bream. Maggots are farmed and raised on waste meat, and they must be kept dry at all times. A dark mark on the maggot's body is called the feed spot, and fresh maggots feel soft and slightly squishy.
Buy a bait box or make your own maggot box out of a lidded, plastic tub. Fishing tackle shops sell maggots in half pint and pint measures, so if you are making your own box, choose a container twice the size of the amount of bait you require. Punch ventilation holes in the lid using an awl, ensuring the holes are too small for maggots to escape.
Take your bait box or homemade container along to a fishing tackle shop. Choose active maggots with a large feed spot and a soft body texture for the best bait specimens. Do not fill your box more than half full because maggots sweat and become damp in overcrowded conditions. You can also buy maggots in pre-filled containers, but always check the larvae inside before you make a purchase because they may be older stock.
Add a handful of maize meal or bran to your bait box and top-up after a week. Store the maggots in a cold environment to slow their metabolism and prevent the onset of the chrysalis phase, the stage when larvae grow a hard shell known as a cocoon or pupa before hatching into flies. A refrigerator is ideal, but if you don't like the idea of maggots in your fridge, a garage, shed or cold basement floor will provide a suitably low temperature to ensure the maggots remain in their larval form.
Run your maggots through a maggot riddle every 3 or 4 days to remove cast dead skin. Hold the riddle over a bucket and tip the contents of your bait box onto the riddle. The maggots will wriggle through the mesh and drop into the bucket, leaving their shed skin behind. This process also catches casters, or maggots in the chrysalis state. Tip the riddled maggots into their original container and repeat the procedure after 3 or 4 days and top-up the maize meal or bran if necessary.
Maggots last for 2 to 3 weeks in a refrigerator and up to a week on a cold floor in warm weather.
Always keep a maggot container covered with a sealed, ventilated lid. If maggots hatch and escape, you will have hundreds of flies loose in your house. If you think your maggots have hatched inside a sealed bait box, take the container outside before removing the lid.
Tips and warnings
- Maggots last for 2 to 3 weeks in a refrigerator and up to a week on a cold floor in warm weather.
- Always keep a maggot container covered with a sealed, ventilated lid. If maggots hatch and escape, you will have hundreds of flies loose in your house. If you think your maggots have hatched inside a sealed bait box, take the container outside before removing the lid.