This blog post comes courtesy of Chris Currie from Nash Tackle, sharing his 'go to' method for landing big carp during the winter months.
ONE ‘go to’ method that dominates carp sport throughout the winter months on many venues is maggot fishing.
I devote the harshest winter months to higher stocked lakes with my son and many a cold day has the rod hooped over multiple times whilst many around me sit without any action on boilie tactics.
Be in no doubt, maggots beat boilies hands down.
I’ve had some surprising results whilst targeting perch with maggots that has led me to rethink my approach for winter carp. They are my first choice winter carp bait rather than a get out of jail card.
I’ve found red maggots are better than whites after a few side by side trials although I feel the stimulatory properties of them being alive is far more important than colour.
Juicing up maggots for carp
Maggots can be easily improved with additives, and I’ve found you can add a surprising amount of liquid.
I use between 25ml and 75ml of liquid soaks to a couple of pints depending on the strength of the liquid.
I soak in three stages firstly the night before say 25ml which gives the maggots a chance to draw in the liquid.
Then another 25ml is added in the morning before I leave for the lake or river.
Depending on the length of the session maybe another 25ml is added when they look to have soaked up the liquid in the bucket.
Keeping them well dosed keeps the maggots in tip top condition as well and when they pop they smell of the liquid.
If you’re using a certain flavour boilie on the venue try using the matching glug from that boilie as at least it will give the fish a taste of the same flavour.
My favourites are TG Active liquid bait soak, Tandoori Shrimp or the Instant Action Boosters especially Crab and Krill. These have all produced some nice carp on the coldest of days.
Powdering your maggots is something that many matchmen do but carpers seem to keep away from. Believe me it gives them a real edge. Strong olfactory stimulants like garlic powder or 4G Squid Extract are proven winners and have produced steady action for me on some surprisingly awful winter days.
Applying maggots for carp
The practical problem with maggots is they can quickly crawl away under the sediment layer on the bottom of the lake, although colder water temperatures tend to stun them and slow them up slightly.
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 ideal tactic 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.
Dead maggots I will Spomb or spoon out to the spot getting the bulk of them out there and then using a PVA bag of live maggots nicked on the hook before casting.
Don’t be tempted in cold weather to glug the bag in liquid before casting as this prolongs the breakdown time of the PVA considerably.
On higher stocked lakes feeding dead maggots on a little and often basis keeps a swim alive and helps eventually draw the fish into the spot, the constant activity really helps stir fish up.
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.
The groats also 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.
Maggots might be the best winter carp bait of all but that doesn’t mean they can’t be improved, or you can’t fish them better than the other guys on your fishery – a little bit of effort and thought makes them even more deadly.
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