Step 1 – There are several commerciall available maggot clips that allow you to pop open a spiked metal point, thread maggots on and then close the clip again. The idea is sound, but I still come back to tying the maggots to a rig ring with the line, finding the clips small and fiddly and preferring not and preferring not to have the extra metal around the hook bait. Strip back three to four inches of coating from a combi link like cortex and tie a small tear drop or oval rig ting to the end using a three turn grinner.
Step 2 – You’ll need some plastic maggots for the best presentation. There are plenty available but the tougher Enterprise Mag-Aligner grubs have worked best for me. Colour is unimportant. Pierce a grub with a baiting needle through the narrow end and thread it on the link from the opposite end to the ring, sliding it up the hook length pushing it up against the rig ring head end first. The grub helps add buoyancy to create a slow sinking bait and offsets the weight of the hook.
Step 3 Now whip on a size 9 Arma point knotless knot style and leave and leave an inch of braid between the the hook and rubber maggot. Use a 6-8mm length of low diameter shrunk tube up the link and push over the hook at a 45 degree angle.
Step 4 – To thread maggots on you’ll need some light mono, 4-6 lb is ideal but you can also get away with low diameter line from your floater kit. Other essentials are a couple of fine sewing needles to pierce the grubs. Always have a spare, you can loose them very easily. In emergencies you can improvise with a fine splicing needle but they are far from ideal. You’ll also need two more rubber grubs, this time the softer Enterprise immitation maggots are a better choice.
Step 5 – Tie a length of mono to the eye of the needle and thread on a softer rubber maggot followed by ten or a dozen real grubs. Pierce them carefully through the rough part of the head and although there’s always a “squirter” or two (no hardship – think of the scent they are giving off) you should be able to get most on the line without them bursting. Now thread on the second rubber maggot so the real maggots are sandwiched either end by artificials.
Step 6 – Snip the needle from the end of the mono and pass one of the tag ends through the the rig ring on the hair. Pass the line back parallel to itself and tie a four turn grinner knot, moisten with saliva and tease the knot barrel tight, Now tighten the loop down by pulling one of the tag ends gently. Do it slowly because this pulls the line through the grubs on the hair as you tighten. you’ll see the grubs being pulled tight down to the rig ring to form a bunch.
Step 7 – This should be the end result. Snip the tag ends carefully, you can leave them a few millimetres long without worry. The rubber grubs that were threaded on either end will act as buffers and stop the line from pulling through the real maggots. They also protect the live maggots from nausiance fish banging and add more buoyancy to the finished presentation. Put it in the margins and you’ll see the maggot ball is slowly sinking and sits up enticingly off the bottom.
Step 8 – Big bunches aren’t always the best option, and on waters where maggots have been fished heavily you’ll see smaller hook baits score better. In this instance drop the rubber maggot from the hair leaving just the rig ring, reduce the hook size to a ten and fish a bunch of five or six maggots sandwiched between two soft rubber ones on the fine line to give a more subtle hook bait.
Step 9 – Put some maggots in a PVA stocking on the hook to stop them escaping. Fine mesh PVA for cold water is also essential.
Step 10 – The hook goes through the tag of the PVA bag rather than through the middle because a maggot may be pierced and the bag will split before the cast
Step 11 – A running lead is my standard end tackle for most situations, and when maggot fishing the vastly superior indication they offer is essential so you are aware if small fish have taken a fancy to your hook bait because my end tackle tells me whenever the hook length is pulled. Even if you’re a committed semi-fixed man, running leads are worth their weight in gold when fishing the little red men.
Step 12 – Likewise with end tackles, indication needs to be generated towards sensitivity, so you are always confident that there’s still a nice bunch of grubs wriggling on the hair rather than a bunch of sucked out skins. Light indicators on a drop are better than heavy bobbins wound up tight are best. Most takes of maggots even in cold weather are very positive but if you get a few jumps or rattles that don’t result in a fish, wind in and rebait.
Step 13 – Because a maggot rig takes a bit more work than threading boilies or pop-ups on, it’s wise to use time sat behind the rods to tie a spare one up after each cast. Then you can slide the rubber from the existing link and replace it on the Kwik Change swivel in seconds rather than losing 20 minutes while you thread more and tie fiddly knots. Keep ready baited maggot rigs in your bait box with the lid on though to keep away robins, ducks and other unwanted bait robbers.