How to prepare perfect dead maggots

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Dead maggots form a key part of my fishing all year round, whether that’s potting in big helpings in the margins for summer carp or fishing one on the hook for skimmers in cold weather – and I always prefer to prepare them myself.

“Why not buy them already frozen from the tackle shop?” I hear you say. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ve found that the quality of your dead maggots makes a big difference to how well you can catch.

Frozen deads are fine for carp in the margins when feeding large amounts because these big fish aren’t too fussy once they get their heads down. Change the scenario to the feeder for skimmers, though, and you need a better quality bait – something plumper and more appealing.

Freezing tends to leave the maggots looking a little thin and discoloured, but killing them in a bag or in water doesn’t affect the overall size and shape of the bait.

They remain plump and looking as close to a live maggot as you can get, and it’s small details like these that really do make the difference to your success rate.

Buy clean grubs

Before you prepare dead maggots, they have to be clean, so don’t buy them with maize or sawdust! This means you must prepare them as soon as you get home – leave them in a bait tub and they’ll sweat and smell of ammonia!

Freezing method

Freezing maggots is the most convenient way to kill them, but it’s not the one I’d use for bream. Frozen maggots end up being a bit stringy. Freeze them well in advance, because it needs a minimum of two days to kill them completely.

Bag them up

You can kill maggots by suffocating them in a plastic bag, but it takes a while, so you’ll need a bait fridge. Pop the maggots in a bag, squeeze the air out, knot the bag tightly and leave in the fridge. After five days they should be ready to use.

Rely on water

The best way to prepare dead maggots is to put them in water. Pour them into a bucket, add a minimum of 6ins of water on top of them and then leave overnight. I take them to the lake still in water, but you can drain and bag them up.

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