IMG_3424There’s nothing quite like a pint beside the river. Or maybe two. To hell with it, if the barbel and chub are feeding you might as well have a gallon!

I’m talking about maggots, of course. Probably the best all-round bait there is. They will catch every species of freshwater fish that swims, and have a place in sea fishing too, being especially tempting for mullet.

But when we pick up a nice, clean, sawdusted tubful from the tackle shop, do we ever consider the lengths someone else has gone in order to get them there?

A typical day at a maggot farm will begin with the meat preparation. Turkey and chicken carcasses, fish guts and lord knows what else, all get minced up to a mulch and then spread across the floor of a barn full of bluebottles. The meat is swiftly blown, and within hours the maggots start hatching. Once they have reached a good size, they are shovelled into cool stores where they are cleaned and readied to ship out to tackle shops.

Knowing how badly a single pint of sweaty maggots can smell—imagine sticking your nose over a ton of them….

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