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Grubbing around in the dark

#1
Hi chaps, fished earlier this week and blanked on a new stretch of the Kennet to me that was low and clear. I fished afternoon into dark for a few hours and really wished that I’d taken along a few pints of maggots given the conditions.

And being biteless, as it does, gets you thinking.

Questions are, does anyone fish maggots as a hookbait into darkness? Maybe in conjunction with hemp? and possibly flavoured maggot or just as they are?

Interested to know if anyone has success with this, really need a way to bypass the Cray interest with a still effective method and thought this method maybe a way to do this.

BTW, 3 otters swam through at dusk so might be a completely pointless excercise...

Cheers, Darren
 
#2
I have frequently pondered this Darren, but have found it difficult to move far from the notion that you are predominantly relying on smell/flavour to attract the fish at night. Then I recall a presentation Paul Floyd gave at a BS show a few years back and he talked about his night fishing tactics on the WA. It’s almost exclusively a maggot approach but fished over pellets. I don’t think he mentioned flavouring them and presentation wise, I think it was just a large bunch of maggots straight on the hook. Must be worth a bash.
 

Mark Swaby

Senior Member
#3
Maggot feeder is very effective after dark, it was a method we used to fish on the Kennet back in the day.But this was before the crayfish issue , you could always use maggot in the feeder and plastic maggot on the hook to try to avoid them..We used to catch lots of barbel but the river was very prolific in those days
 
#4
Been thinking about this myself. Trying something that can last half to an hour with resonable expectation. Don’t want to be recastingin the dark. I was thinking to take a leaf out the carp boys book. Fish a large bag of maggot over a bed and use a mag aligner and a hair rigged bead with real ones super glued on, never had any joy with maggot clips.
 

John Care

Senior Member
#5
Great minds. I've been thinking the same. I've read Tony Miles book, "Top Tactics for Barbel" and he talks about maggots in detail, but his approach was for small rivers where you can you spot the fish. The same tactics must work on the WA and Lower Severn where i fish, feeding a lot of maggots and a big bunch on the hook, as Howard says.
 
#6
If I've been fishing a maggot feeder through the day then I'll always fish them well into darkness, particularly this time of year and towards the end of the season and almost always with hemp. The only change I tend to make is when I'm fishing long hooklengths in low and clear conditions, is to shorten the hooklength when it gets dark. If nothing happens after that hour or so of darkness then I might switch to a small pva bag and pellet or a boilie.

Haven't ever flavoured maggots for barbel, not really sure why as I often flavour them for tench and roach. Can't see it doing any harm to be honest.

Not sure how you can round the crays though.
 
#7
Thanks guys I think it’s worth a shot.

Yes both the feeder and PVA delivery are options and maybe just experiment with hookbait presentation.

I’m for trying it this winter, if others are too then maybe pool information? sharing what’s successful and failures of course, would be interesting to see results over a variety of rivers.
 
#8
I like to introduce most of the maggots via a baitdropper, and then have them trickle slowly out of the feeder.

You can achieve this by taping up some of the holes on the feeders, or if you can find them using feeders like the ones shown in the pics below, on which you can adjust the hole size or completely close them. I usually close them which leaves 4 small holes at the very top and bottom of the feeder for the maggots to escape from. The idea being that keeping the maggots in the feeder for longer concentrates the smell for a longer period. Seems to work anyway.
 

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#10
Very nice fish Joe.

Yes agree slowing the release of maggots is the way to go, I do that anyway when Chub fishing with maggot.

I’m assuming that the weather and/or river conditions influence your decision to use this method over boilies etc, or is it just a preferred method for you?
 
#11
I like to introduce most of the maggots via a baitdropper, and then have them trickle slowly out of the feeder.

You can achieve this by taping up some of the holes on the feeders, or if you can find them using feeders like the ones shown in the pics below, on which you can adjust the hole size or completely close them. I usually close them which leaves 4 small holes at the very top and bottom of the feeder for the maggots to escape from. The idea being that keeping the maggots in the feeder for longer concentrates the smell for a longer period. Seems to work anyway.
Joe are the feeders shop bought as they are or Drennan ones that you have modified?
 
#13
I had some success with maggots on the Warren beat on the Kennet. Two rubber maggots on a hair so they hung just below the 3 or 4 maggots on the hook, the idea being it gave the small fish something to nibble on. A combination of 3mm pellets and maggots in the feeder.
 
#14
Very nice fish Joe.

Yes agree slowing the release of maggots is the way to go, I do that anyway when Chub fishing with maggot.

I’m assuming that the weather and/or river conditions influence your decision to use this method over boilies etc, or is it just a preferred method for you?
If its low (ish) and clear or fining down then I prefer using particles when fishing during the day and into night. I usually fish from 7-8am through till 9-10pm ish before hitting the road, its nearly a 4hr round trip for me to get to the Trent. In summer and early autumn I do enjoy using the hemp and caster approach, then Nov - end of the season I prefer maggots when conditions allow. If the rivers up and carrying some colour then pellets/boilies and hemp (I never go barbel fishing without it).

If I lived closer to the rivers I fish then I'd maybe look at prebaiting with boilies.
 
#15
Joe are the feeders shop bought as they are or Drennan ones that you have modified?
These ones Dave, I came across them being sold by Glasgow Angling centre, and ordered a couple. When they arrived I realised they were perfect for the way I fish, and as I couldn't find them being sold anywhere else I bought enough to last me the next 5-6 years!

Just had a quick look and there is a European site selling them: https://www.piscor.com/p/tubertini-maggots-feeder

The 60g ones tend to be about 70g, the 100g approx. 110g, and the 150g seem about bob on. Perfect for bigger rivers like the Trent, saves having to modify the Drennan's by adding extra weight etc. I've found them to be more durable than the Drennan's as well. They are a bit bright but that's soon sorted with a permanent marker pen.
 
#16
Maggots are just as effective after dark especially if you've been baiting up in the daylight. No need for too much finesse either, a big bunch on a large hook works well enough. I thought the cray problem had died down a bit on the Kennet?
 
#18
These ones Dave, I came across them being sold by Glasgow Angling centre, and ordered a couple. When they arrived I realised they were perfect for the way I fish, and as I couldn't find them being sold anywhere else I bought enough to last me the next 5-6 years!

Just had a quick look and there is a European site selling them: https://www.piscor.com/p/tubertini-maggots-feeder

The 60g ones tend to be about 70g, the 100g approx. 110g, and the 150g seem about bob on. Perfect for bigger rivers like the Trent, saves having to modify the Drennan's by adding extra weight etc. I've found them to be more durable than the Drennan's as well. They are a bit bright but that's soon sorted with a permanent marker pen.
The Korum CombiFeeders are really good too, especially on the bigger rivers such as the Tidal Trent. Difficult to get hold of in the heavier sizes at the moment, think that's because Korum have redesigned them and are in the process of relaunching them.