Maggots are arguably the most successful and versatile bait known to man. I doubt there’s a single fish out there that wouldn’t be tempted to scoff down a maggot or two. They’re commonly known to catch the usual roach, bream, tench and carp however they’ve even been used to catch sea bass and mullet. From how they’re dyed to when they were first used I’m going to tell you 7 facts about maggots that you most likely didn’t know.
- When were maggots first used for fishing?
Evidence suggests that maggots have been used as bait for thousands of years in primitive traps and fishing methods. The first evidence for pleasure fishing dates back to 1496 in an essay by Dame Juliana Berners. In this she talks about how to catch many of the fish present in England and includes favourite baits, including maggots.
2. How do they get their colour?
Obviously, the natural colour of maggots isn’t red, bronze, blue or fluorescent pink so how do they get their colour? There isn’t an evil doctor injecting every single maggot with dye and they don’t take the maggots for a swim in a pool of dye so how is it done? In fact, the maggots are fed on meat which has been died. When the maggots ingest the meat, they absorb the dye and appear coloured.
3. The Dark Spot
Have you ever wandered what the dark spots within the maggots are? The pair of dark holes at one end of the maggot are the spiracles, these are small holes which act like lungs, they are how the maggots get their oxygen. The black dot that is inside the maggot and slowly moves down the maggot is its food reserve.
4. How many maggots are produced each year?
It is estimated that each year, 1.5 million pints of maggots are sold across the UK. That’s 190,000 gallons or around 2 billion actual maggots.
5. Are maggots actually used medically?
Quite simply, yes. They are used to treat open wounds and there has been evidence that they have been used since antiquity. One interesting case I found was in WW1. A soldier left for several days on the battlefield who had suffered a compound fracture and large flesh wounds. Maggots were infesting his wounds, he had no fever or other signs of infection and survived his injuries, which would normally have been fatal.
6. Maggots in forensic science
This next fact is pretty grim but quite interesting. If maggots are found on a deceased body, the type of maggot and environmental conditions can be analysed to determine an approximate time of death.
7. Types of maggots
Maggot is actually a general term for insect larvae. The most common maggot used in fishing is the maggot of the European Bluebottle fly. Other commonly used maggots include squats, the slightly smaller larvae of the common house fly and pinkies, the larvae of the greenbottle fly.
Hope you enjoyed, maybe one of those facts might come in useful at a pub quiz one day! See you all next week when I’m planning to rack up the points for the Essex Anglers Species Hunt. If your wondering what that is then check out last weeks blog where I ran through what we will be doing.
Until then! 🙂