How to catch carp with maggots [Easy Guide]

How to catch carp with maggots [Easy Guide]

Now we all know that carp fishing can get a lot more difficult throughout the winter months. So in this article, we’re going to look at how you can catch carp with maggots when it’s cold.

Now it’s not totally understood why maggots work so well for carp, particularly in the winter, but there’s no denying that maggots as bait throughout the winter months consistently outfish loads of other baits on all water’s up and down the country.

Why use maggots for carp fishing

Why use maggots for carp fishing

Some people think that the movement is key that’s certainly what I think about maggots is, when they’re wriggling around on the bottom or they’re moving and writhing around, they simulate a natural food source for the carp and something that might get away if they don’t go and eat it quickly.

So I think that movement is definitely key.

Also of course there’s the fact that particularly red maggots look quite similar to a very natural food source for the carp, the blood worm.

Very importantly a carp can eat a lot more maggots before it gets filled up than it can boilies or high oil and high protein pellets.

So each maggot that gets eaten is another chance you could have had a bite when the fish would have otherwise got filled up eating boilies or pellets.

In the warmer weather if you’ve ever tried to fish maggots on a lake that has got lots of silverfish you’ll find out that very quickly the bait is stolen from your hook and you’re fishing with no bait very very quickly.

However in the winter when it’s cold all fish slow right down and the Silver fishes won’t be so interested in stealing your maggots. You will sometimes find on some bodies of water a maggot ball or a PVA bag of maggots is wiped out by roach, bream, tench that sort of thing very quickly.

But if your local water isn’t overrun with small fish then I’m sure you’ll get away with fishing with maggots and get them through to the carp.

What rig to use catch carp with maggots

To catch carp with maggots, there are two rigs that we would advise.

  1. A pop-up presentation
  2. A traditional bottom bait rig.

We’ll move on to the use of PVA and also loose feeding maggots later on in this article, but for the moment let’s look at those two rigs and how to set them up.

Items needed to tie a bottom bait maggots rig to catch carp

Items needed to tie a bottom bait maggots rig to catch carp

To tie a standard bottom bait maggot rig you will need the following items:

  1. Some coated hook link (e.g. dark matter braid)
  2. Your hook of choice, we like to use a size 6 or size 8 wide gape
  3. Some silicon tubing
  4. A maggot clip
  5. Lastly a basic needle, some scissors, and a stripper tool.

Some people prefer to strip the coating of braids with their teeth though so a stripper tool is an optional extra.

Steps to tie a bottom bait maggots rig to catch carp

Steps to tie a bottom bait maggots rig to catch carp

To start the rig peel off about 8 inches of the coated braid. Then strip back approximately three inches of the coating. You can do this with your teeth or a tool.

Take the strip back end and tie on a maggot clip. We use a half-blood knot but you can also use a uni knot to attach the maggot clip to the braid.

With the maggot clip attached now cut and thread on a 2-3 millimeter section of silicon tubing.

Now take your hook you’ll need to push the point through the tubing and secure it onto the hook. The reason for using the tubing is to ensure the wriggling ball of maggots can’t wrap the hair up and around the hook link.

We’ve used this rig with loose hair in the past and the maggot ball has tangled up the hair. But this way seems to work quite well.

Now tie a knotless knot. Pass the braid through the eye of the hook towards the point. Wrap it around itself approximately six to ten times and then passed the end through the eye again towards the hook point.

Now tie a figure of eight loop knot at the end of the rig. Your rig is now complete and just needs maggots to be threaded onto the clip before fishing.

Alternatively, you may like to use a pop-up maggot rig. We like to use a pop-up maggot rig if we’re fishing over light weed or very very soft silt.

This pop-up rig ensures that the maggot is popped up away from any debris or weed on the bottom.

Steps to tie a pop-up maggot rig for carp fishing

Steps to tie a pop-up maggot rig for carp fishing

To tie a pop-up maggot rig you’ll need to use most of the same items as the first rig. But swap the silicon tubing for some split shot and swap the maggot clip for some buoyant foam and a needle plus some cotton thread.

So now to tie the rig. Just like before you’ll take your 8 inches or so of braid stripping off the three inches at the end, but instead of tying on a maggot clip just tie an overhand loop.

Then thread on your hook and tie a knotless knot leaving a relatively short hair.

At the other end of the rig tie a figure of eight loop knot which is used to attach the rig to your lead setup. Break the coating of the braid just under an inch away from the hook just enough to then pinch on a split shot.

Now cut a small piece of foam and use a baiting needle to thread it onto your hair. Cut a short length of cotton thread and place it through the eye of your sewing needle.

Push a load of maggots onto the needle. You can get away with just three or four maggots but if there are any small fish around I’d fill up the needle with plenty just in case the small fish steal a few of them.

Then slide the maggots off the needle and onto the thread. Now tie them off into a ball with a double overhand knot.

Take the tag ends of the cotton and pass one of them through the loop when you’re Hair rig. Then tie it on with a double overhand knot.

Lastly, slide the foam up the hair so it sits just underneath the maggots. Trim the foam down a little and test it in the water just to ensure that the maggot ball sinks slowly.

This setup ensures that the riddling maggots can’t get stuck in low-lying weeds or tangle the rig up as the foam holds them up and away from any danger.

Catch carp with maggots

Catch carp with maggots

In conjunction with using maggots as a hook bait, you can also use them as a loose feed to try and evoke a feeding response in the carp get them feeding, and give you more chance of catching. One option is to use the PVA bag of maggots.

Be careful though to use a micro-mesh PVA, it is the larger hexagonal pattern of PVA. The holes are just a bit too big and the maggots can escape so look for a micro-mesh version.

larger hexagonal pattern of PVA

Spotting can also work well with maggots and you’ll often find people baiting heavily with maggots through the winter months.

When you start to bait quite heavily with maggots it can get quite expensive so we’ll often bulk out and maggot mix with some bread crumb, some ground bait, or even crumb duck boilies.

This can create a highly attractive mix that doesn’t contain too many large food items so the fish don’t get filled up on it.

We will often put a couple of loaves of bread through a blender, make a load of breadcrumbs and mix that in with the maggots to create an amazing cloud of attraction in the water.

This bread and maggot combo has worked really well for us in the course a lot of carp.

How to feed maggots to carps

How to feed maggots to carps

When it comes to actually feed in winter particularly with maggots what we would advise is a little and often feeding approach.

Firstly small fish like perch and Roach will gradually work their way through your bait particularly when you’re using maggots. So if you just put out a loaded bait at the beginning and leave it for days and days at a time and it’s quite likely that small silverfish will work their way through the bait and finish it off.

However, if you’re feeding little and often keeping the spot topped up with bait, yeah the small fish might eat some but they’ll always be a trickle of attraction and food in the water for when the carp turn up.

Secondly, the other reason why feeding little and often worked quite well in winter is that when the water is clear and the fish are quite spooky they can actually get scared of a big bed of bait, so if you fill it in right at the beginning of your session put in too much the fish can actually see that big unnatural bed of bait and spook off of it.

Finally, if you put in too much bait at the beginning of your session you can’t take it back out again. So try not to overfeed and one of the best ways to do that is to simply bait with small quantities little and often throughout your session.

So I’ve been speaking about the use of maggots in the winter for carp fishing. But there’s no reason why you can’t catch carp with maggots through spring, summer, and autumn too.

All I’d say is take into account how many smaller species are in the lake, so if there’s lots of Roach, Bream, Tench, or was that sort of thing probably stay clear of maggots.

But if your lake is mostly carp and you feel like you can introduce maggots without them all being eaten by other species and definitely give them a go because we’ve caught carp or maggots all through the year. They are very effective bait.

You just have to be aware of the activities of small fish and whether or not they’ve cleared you out.

Lastly, maggots can also add attraction and movement to a zig rig too.

Just use a blob of super glue to attach a few to the top of your pop-up or foam hook bait. This makes for a visual and attractive hook bait when Zig fishing, that little bit of movement giving you even more chance of getting a bike on a zig.

Also, read How to tie a pike fishing rig [Step By Step Guide].

What color maggots are best for carp?

It’s not just a matter of grabbing the angler’s eye with red, white, green, bronze, or even blue; there are instances when one color is far more effective than others. Bronze maggots, for example, are excellent for river fishing, while red maggots are ideal for specimen carp fishing.

Are maggots a good summer bait for carp?

Carp fishing with maggots can be extremely effective at capturing carp, particularly during the cooler winter months. Carp become less active, feed less, and migrate less during the colder months.

Why do carp love maggots?

Why do carp love maggots?

Carp become less active, feed less, and migrate less during the colder months. When they do feed, it’s usually a lower amount and they’re much pickier than in the summer, which is one of the reasons why maggots are so successful at this time.

How long can you keep maggots for fishing?

Because maggots can only be stored for two weeks, buy them as soon as possible before you plan to go fishing.

So good luck with your fishing definitely give maggots to try particularly in the winter or if you’re just struggling on your local lake and not getting that many bites give maggots a try because they can unlock some waters where previously the carp seemed almost uncatchable.

Give those maggots a try and hopefully, you catch a few.

Fenil Kalal is a talented web content writer that specialises in health and fitness, fishing, travel, cryptography, and gardening. His skills and expertise in the field are the result of years of research and study. His passion in science, along with a bachelor's degree in information technology, gives him an edge and adds value to his work. Because he is fascinated by science and technology, writing high-quality content has become a virtue for him.

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