All-round ace Mark Pollard takes a closer look at the key baits you must have on your side tray this winter.

1. Must-have Maggots!

If I could pick one bait for any venue – canal, lake or river – I think maggots would have to be top on my list this winter. The humble maggot catches everything that swims. They’re great for roach, perch and skimmers all year, but they suddenly become my number one bait for quality fish like carp and F1s in the winter, too. 

I definitely favour nice big and fresh red maggots the most, but whites, yellows, bronzes and even big flouro maggots can have their day. Pop one, two or even three maggots on a hook and they’re hard for anything to resist. Try a single on a size 20 or 18 hook, two on an 18 or 16 hook and three on a 16 or 14 hook.

A taller Toss Pot will help prevent spillage

Given the chance, I like to be positive with maggots and will pot, throw or catapult them depending on conditions to rev the fish up. However, on really tough days it’s definitely better to frugally drip in as little as three to six maggots at a time. A small Flexible Toss Pot fitted with the special sprinkle lid is the ideal weapon for this! Adding the optional height extender also helps to reduce spillage as you ship out.