The correct way to hook a maggot is:
- Use a sharp hook.
- Locate the small lip at the thicker end (head) of the maggot.
- Hold the maggot in your weaker hand, between your thumb and index finger, exposing the head of the maggot.
- Gently squeeze the maggot to push the lip outwards.
- Delicately hook the maggot through the lip.
Bait presentation is vital to a successful catch. The whole reason we put bait on a hook is to attract fish to it.
A poorly presented bait is less likely to get a bite. In this aspect, fish are similar to humans. For example, out of shape fruit and veg doesn’t sell as well as their normal shaped counterparts, even though they taste the same.
Most new anglers start fishing using maggots as bait. It is therefore important to learn how to put maggots on a hook correctly.
Before you get to how to put maggots on a hook, there are a few basic things you need to do first.
Use the correct fishing line
In general, the stronger the line you use, the thicker it is. Thicker line is more visible to fish, so if you’re only fishing for small roach and perch, then a 2lb or 3lb line is more than adequate.
However, you are fishing somewhere that stocks larger fish like carp, then you should use 6lb to 8lb. (For larger carp over 20lb, you will need a much heavier setup).
Using a hook length (a lower strength section of line connected to the hook) is a good idea if you only have a higher strength mainline. You can make your own hook length or buy them pre-made with a hook already tied for you.
Hook size and bait presentation
Before your hook has any bait on it, you need to make sure that the hook is presented in the right way.
You need to make sure you are using the correct sized hook compared to the fish you are targeting. As a general rule of thumb, try to match the size of the hook to the size of the bait you are fishing with.
If you are targeting small fish, then sizes 24-18 are likely to be the most suitable. For slightly larger fish then sizes 16-10 will be suitable. For much larger fish like specimen carp, then anything up to a size 2 is likely to be required.
A big hook with a single or double maggot will be too visible and the fish will eat up all of the free bait around your hook, and leave you biteless.
When fishing you should take care to remove any weed from your hook. This can hide your bait and could affect your ability to sink the hook into the mouth when striking.
Similarly, make sure that you trim any excess line after you have tied your hook. A very small amount of line is fine, however, a large tail of line from your hook will put off any approaching fish.
Use a suitable and sharp hook
A sharp hook is important for two reasons. If you do not have a sharp hook, regardless of the presentation you will struggle to hook a fish with a blunt hook.
If you do manage to hook a fish with a blunt hook, there is a high chance it will get away as the hook is unlikely to be hooked deep enough.
Secondly, maggots are filled with larva which is like puss or maggot juice. If you hook them with a blunt hook they will burst. Fishing with a burst maggot is not ideal as the maggots will not look very appealing and they will not wriggle much and will die.
What are the best maggot hooks?
Drennan manufacture hooks that are ideally shaped for hooking maggots. These hooks are made from a super high carbon steel wire and are shaped perfectly for maggot fishing.
Drennan hooks are always very high quality. Knowing you have a good quality hook gives you the confidence knowing that when you get a bite, you have a good chance of hooking and landing the fish.
Drennan make these hooks in a number of sizes and come with a pre-tied hooklength. As aswell as silverfish maggot hooks, they also have larger carp maggot hooks and even red maggot hooks to disguise the hook when fishing with red maggots.
Use good quality and fresh maggots
Where possible, always try to use fresh maggots. Good quality, fresh maggots are likely to be more active when on the hook. You want them to be wriggling around as much as possible to attract fish.
Simply contacting your local fishing tackle or bait shop and asking what days they receive their maggots is usually a good start for getting fresh maggots. Most tackle shops take deliveries each day but it’s best to check.
Maggots are usually on view in most bait shops. Check them out before you buy them and make sure there are no casters mixed up with them as this is usually a good indication that the maggots are old.
Finding good quality maggots can sometimes be a little bit of trial and error between bait shops however most reputable bait shops have decent maggots.
If you are storing maggots yourself, try to keep their temperature low as this will slow down the chrysalis process and they will be better quality for longer.
Store your maggots in a good quality bait box with lots of air holes to allow them to breath.
How to put maggots on a hook
Hooking a maggot is very simple. If you look closely at a maggot, you will notice a head and tail. The head has what looks like two eyes and a mouth. The tail-end narrows and does indeed look like a tail.
You should hook the maggot through its head. More specifically, the maggot’s head has a little lip, this is where you should hook the maggot.
Try to be as delicate as possible. With your sharp hook, you should nick the lip. You will notice that the maggot wriggles a lot once you have done this. This is exactly what you want.
If you are going to use two maggots, hook the second maggot from the tail end. Two maggots create a scissor movement when going through the water which spins your line. Hooking the second maggot through the tail counteracts this. Make sure you hook the maggot at the very tip of the tail, however.
If you are struggling to hook the lip, gently squeeze the maggot and the lip should extend.
If you are targeting small fish, a single or double maggot on a small hook is ideal. For bigger fish, a bunch of maggots on a larger hook works best.
As a side note, there are other tactics sometimes utilised by anglers for hooking maggots.
Totally against the above advice, some anglers hook the maggot through its head and push the head of the hook through the maggot’s body, leaving the maggot’s body halfway through. This hides the majority of the hook and leaves only the hook point showing. Some anglers prefer to hair-rig a bunch of maggots.
However, by far the best and most efficient way of hooking a maggot is through its lip. You should experiment with other ways, but always remember to make sure your hook is sharp
How to put casters on a hook
Just like maggots, you have to make sure your like and hook is presented in the best possible way.
When it comes to hooking a caster it is even more important that you use a very sharp hook. A caster has a hard shell, but is still very soft inside like a maggot and contains the same larva. However, you have to hook through the shell. A blunt hook will bust the caster and make it useless as it is likely to break off in the water.
To hook a caster, the best way is to hook through the top (or head) of the maggot and through the body, with the hook point coming out of the caster’s body, with only the point showing.
If you want to hook more than one caster, then hook them through the top of the castor the same as you would hook a maggot.
You could also experiment and use a combination of both casters and maggots as hook bait.
For more tips on your coarse fishing setup please check out our Coarse Fishing Bait Guide.