Joe Chappell

7 Useless Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Maggots.

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.

  1. 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

ᐈ Zombie cartoon stock pictures, Royalty Free cartoon zombies pics |  download on Depositphotos®

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! 🙂

Tom Baird

The Nightmare – KHV

Evening Anglers and a Happy New Year. Well kind of. With the new lockdown now in force, 1000’s of anglers now have to live in the workshop, garage or shed avoiding a divorce sorting out tackle. Your tackle is never going to be so organised and clean.

I am about to move home, but have been avoiding the packing of fishing gear until the last moment. I have no excuse anymore and will now have to pack it away, to be ready after lockdown to get back out there.

Sunken eyes on the left

In my last blog I spoke about Black Spot and it seemed to go down well. I have spoken to a few of you and I was asked to discuss KHV. Most of us know about this dreaded disease, but thankfully if the fishery is run properly and measures are put in place you will never come across this nasty infection.

So, Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (also CyHV-3, koi herpes virus or KHV) is a species of virus causing a viral disease that is very contagious to the common carp (Cyprinus carpio).

The disease is mostly found in ornamental koi, which are often used in outdoor ponds or as feeder stock. Unfortulantly we see Koi be added to fisheries as a dream fish to catch. Which I must admit I have caught a few in my time and they are amazing. But this is where we put our other stocks at risk and the heart break seeing a dead 40lb mirror or common is devastating to the angler, but more so to the owner.

The first case of KHV was confirmed in 1999, after a report in 1998. KHV is a DNA-based virus. After discovery, it was identified as a strain of herpesvirus. Like other strains, KHV stays with the infected fish for the duration of their lives, making the recovered and exposed fish potential carriers of the virus. Fish infected with KHV may die within the first 24–48 hours of exposure.

Symptoms of KHV include:

  • Gill mottling
  • Red and white patches appearing on gills
  • Bleeding gills
  • Sunken eyes
  • Pale patches
  • Blisters

Changes in the fish’s behaviour may also indicate the presence of KHV. Behavioural symptoms may include

  • Disorientation,
  • Hyperactivity
  • Isolation, in which the fish detaches themselves from the shoal.

You can help control the spread of disease if you:

  • follow rules for imports – Health checked stock
  • perform regular health monitoring to spot disease early
  • contain outbreaks as quickly as possible
  • use good husbandry practice
  • follow rules when moving fish – EA will help advise you
  • put in place and follow a biosecurity measures place i.e., dip nets/dry nets etc.

If you come across an infected fish or shoal you should inform the owner or club etc. Then you need to report it to –

CEFAS – Email:,  Tel: 01305 206700

Environment Agency – Email:, Tel: 0800 807060

I hope you found this helpful and if you’re new to angling you can do your part.

Tom Baird

Midweek Blues

Afternoon fellow anglers, I hope you all had a great Christmas and you were happy with the fishy bits you received as presents. So, its that time between Christmas and New Year’s. The Turkey has finally run out and looking forward to a lovely joint of roast beef on New Year’s Day.

I haven’t been fishing since last Wednesday. I know it has only been a week but it seems much longer and I was getting the itch to go. Last night we agreed it would be a family outing. But I found myself going on my own. Even though I love fishing with the kids and family, it was nice to hit the banks on my own and reflect on a busy and unusual year.

I was in two minds whether to hit the river or go to a club lake. I thought I would check the river first to see how it was. To my surprise it was quite calm and a steady flow in a certain section. I spoke to some fellow anglers who were already battling the cold and felt it was going to be a good day.

I went up river to a nice spot and started to fish. I hit a nice pocket of Roach and pulled in 17 fish, not bad I thought. I also had a lovely Perch which was a nice treat on red maggots. What I did notice with the Roach, is that some had Black Spot. I thought it would be a good opportunity to explain what Black Spot is and how it ends up on a fish.

Black Spot is a parasitic flatworm that appear as tiny black spots on the skin, fins and flesh of fish. There is no method of control to eliminate this problem. This organism does little harm to the fish. The main problem related with black-spot is the unsightly appearance it may cause.

What is remarkable is the life cycle of the parasite which is quite complex. It starts when a fish-eating bird (Great Blue Heron, Kingfisher) eats an infected fish. The black spot or worms are released and grow to sexual maturity in the bird’s intestine.

The adult worms pass eggs with the bird’s droppings. When the eggs reach water, they hatch into free-swimming organisms which then penetrate snails for further development. Finally, after leaving the snails they burrow into the skin of fish and form a cyst. The fish scales surround the cyst with black pigment that gives the disease its name. If an infected fish is consumed by a bird, the cycle starts again.

I hope you found that interesting or useful. Obviously if the fish is riddled with Black Spot, take as many pictures as possible and report it to the Environment Agency. They should then look to see how serious it is.

Until Next time, Tight Lines…….. Happy New Year…….

Tom Baird

What a Plank

Evening fellow anglers and what a day. So, after a few jobs this morning I decided to have a few hours fishing at a venue recommended and blogged about by fellow blogger Andrew Pilgrim. I arrived at Bobby Georges lakes at 10:30 and I was the only one there. I went to the back lake where the island runs down the middle of it.

Looked around for a while to see where the fish were and chose my spot. I used the good old Darent Valley Specialist rod by Tackle Box. Put on a simple rig and these new boilies that I’m testing out for Baylys Baits, 11mm Blackcurrant Twist. Soft but durable boilie and the smell is amazing. I took some photos obviously for my blog and sent them to the team.

First Joe noticed that my hook was bent, so back in came my tackle and sorted it out and then Andrew sent me the rules of the lake. Which clearly states no hire rigs. This is where the Plank bit comes in. WHAT A PLANK, I only looked at the rules the other day. After I spammed myself and had a word in the mirror. I reeled in again and decided to go to the float.

Before this I was getting lots of attention on my line and this was from the blackcurrant oozing out in the water. I had only put these on my hook and a few in the water. No ground bait or tones of bait piled in, small and often. This means they must be a decent bait, but had to bring in due to the rules.

Now set with a float, I only had fake sweet corn, so put that out and there wasn’t much. Until a knight in shining armour, a true and knowable angler came to the rescue. Andrew Pilgrim had arrived with worms and a tin of sweet corn. I could not let down my hair as I have none, but he managed to make it to my swim.

I put some corn on and we had a really good chat about fishing in general and some of the amazing places Andrew has fished. I had some interest but still nothing. Andrew then went of on his noble stead and left me to it.

I was in front of some Lilly’s and my reel screamed off, thank god I was in. A nice 10lb 2oz Common. What a save from blanking and thanks to Andrew for rescuing me.

Lovely Autumn colours

What are the lessons for today, do your research, read the rules and be more prepared? Also, what a lovely fishery.

Tight Lines……..

Tom Baird

The Humble Tackle Shop

Today I was driving through Horndon on the Hill and saw this tackle shop. So, I went in to have a look. What a little gem. Met the owner Graham and the guy was full of knowledge. As this wasn’t my normal tackle shop, I asked him how business was? He said it was very quiet and not much trade has been through.

It took me back a bit really, with all the new anglers out there this year I thought business would be booming. This made me think “what does a tackle shop mean to me?” Obviously, I order online sometimes (Sorry Paul, owner of my local tackle shop). But I love going into my tackle shop to have a look around and have a good old-fashioned chat with people who I can relate with.

I love it when I say to the wife “just popping to the tackle shop”, she knows I’m going to be gone at least an hour. But we always say “see you in five”. Just walking through the doors and seeing the shop full of other anglers, young and old is amazing.

I have seen some shops fade over the years and never heard of again.  All of them have their own characteristics and flair. Its like the TV programme Cheers. You have Sam the owner, every tackle shop has a Woody lol. Then a few regulars who are retired or so rich they live in the shop lol.

When we have our chats its not all about fishing, its every day stuff too. Work, family, ok mainly fishing. I like seeing what’s new or even that odd bit you need that hasn’t been sold in years. Paul will have it in his magic box in the back. Online shopping is good and its amazing you can have it by the next day. But you don’t get that all-round service, as you do in the shop.

I suppose what I’m saying is, get into your local shop and have a good look round. Speak to the staff and get to know them. Its amazing what you might find or deals that are on. Fishing is an amazing sport/hobby but we need these tackle shops for our baits and tackle.

You can’t smell boilies online or get a feel of a rod. My tackle shop is Clacton Angling, what’s yours?

Please also check out Nuts Tackle & Bait, Brooklyn Farm, North Hill, Horndon-on-the Hill, Essex SS17 8QA.

Tight Lines…….

Bailey Payne

Sunny River Fishing

Today I headed to a lovely stretch of the Chelmer, this stretch has fantastic Roach in to a great size, loads of Chub and Dace too, a brilliant bit of River and it was my first time Fishing it, and I continued to use the centerpin in hope of continuing my learning of the method!

It wasn’t ideal conditions, very bright and warm, so I wasn’t expecting too much to show, however, still wanted to make the best, it seemed the conditions did put most Fish off, however the one species which didn’t seem to bothered by the conditions where the Minnows! Overall today, I probably had close to a 100 minnows, made for a great days Fishing just catching small Fish and getting plenty of bites, and just learning how to control the float and strike to the bites properly on the pin.

I also had probably the smallest Fish I have ever caught! Still a Minnow but was tiny! Made for a laugh seeing that, the maggot I used as a bait was almost bigger than him!

Worlds Smallest Minnow??

I did however perserve and manage a few better Fish in the midday heat, finding a small shoal of Chublets and quickly catching a few, including the best Fish of the day, which is a better size Chub, however still a Chublet!

Overall, Fished the River a bit earlier than I should have, in maybe a month it will come into it’s prime with the Roach Fishing and I can’t wait for that! And hopefully we can manage a few nice Chub along the way too! Good first exploration of the River, found a few nice swims and saw a lot of good Fish just cruising in the sun! A lot to take back with me and prepare for! Till next time!

Tom Baird

For the love of Tench

So, I love Tench/Tinca’s, what a fish and what a fighter. There’s nothing like seeing the fizzing in the water and know that the green beauty is down there. I usually fish for them early morning or late afternoon. From 11am to 3pm I never have much luck.

Now over the years I have caught some amazing fish and I’m very lucky in some of the places I get to fish. Its all about knowing the water and what works in that particular place.

Now when I’m at a certain lake, I use a method feeder rig with Squid and Krill red size 10mm boilies or an inline feeder with maggots. Now there is no need to bait the area to death. Just a small amount of ground bait with around three boilies stuck into the ground bait, so it looks like a traffic light. Once casted in the desired location, a few more boilies around the area near your bait.

Now I’m not teaching you to suck eggs or anything. So, find what works for you and try different rigs/setups. Trial and error are always the best way to learn. Even when you want to give up, keep going and one day it will pay off. It took me 7 years to catch from my local river, now I know where and what to do in my location.

See, on the River where I love catching these majestic creatures, I find a simple float set up works with mixed maggots on the hook. Few mags and ground bait chucked out around the float. They seem to love the margins, right under your feet.

Now I use Barbel rods for Tench fishing 1.75 lb test curve. That’s what I have been showed and used time and time again. It’s a better fight and seems to keep the fish on better. But again, do what works for you.

I’m sure you will catch some amazing Tinca’s and enjoy the amazing colours from deep dark green to a golden colour. The big fan tale and the red fiery eyes. Everything about this fish makes it all worthwhile.

I would love to see your Tinca pictures, so please put them on Essex Anglers Community and a little background of how you caught the beauty.

Tom Baird

Surface fishing with the Walsh’s

Bank holiday Monday was upon me and after speaking to my old mate Matt Walsh who hasn’t been fishing for long, we decided to do a family day fishing. Now that’s four adults and four kids and Baby Pippa. So, in the morning I went to Clacton Angling and got 4 guest tickets for my local club water, as the Baird clan are all members and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Then we met the Walsh Clan at the chosen lake. Matt was happy and we set off down the farm track to our desired location to fish. Now the Walsh Clan haven’t surfaced fished before and have never caught anything over 2lb, so I wanted them to catch some nice Carp from the top.

On the way to our chosen swims, we spoke to a few anglers who must of thought what the hell was going on lol. Once at our swim, I threw some floating pellets out to test out the water. Bang the Carp were on a feeding frenzy. It was great to see Max and Poppy looking at all the Carp on top and they definitely couldn’t wait to catch some (fingers crossed).

As I know this water and its quite easy to catch, we only had two rods working at a time, as we would be running around like headless chickens. So Max was first to cast out, the water started to move and bang! He was in. Max had a new PB, a 6lb 5oz Common. Well done Max.

Next was Harry and it wasn’t long before he was in. Another 6lb Common. Harry loves a Carp and a photo opportunity too. Poppy was up next, it took a bit longer and we had to build up the confidence of the fish, as they had cottoned on to what was happening. Bang she was in with a lovely 8lb 7oz Common. Sophie was next and the girls were winning on weight so far. She was in another Common at 5lb 4oz.

We just kept on going around, all of them caught three fish each. Now it was Matts turn and what a turn. This man wasn’t having any luck and it looked like he was going to throw a strop. It took 7 attempts for him to land a fish, one by one they came off while trying to land them. He was blaming me, the rod and life in general lol. I could not stop laughing and then it happened. Finally, he was in and we managed to land the fish of a life time for him. A lovely little Common, which was the smallest fish of the day. But it was his fish and a new PB for Matt at 5lb 2oz.

We had so much fun and all the kids loved the afternoon fishing. We went back to mine for fish and chips and had a good catch up. Oh, and Matt while at Tesco getting some wine for the wives, accidently headbutted the safety glass at the till point. I have never seen someone jump so much than the poor shop assistant. I was crying with laughter.

Make sure to check out Tacklebox above……..

Tom Baird

Back on the River

On Saturday I attempted the River Chelmer again near Baddow Road. It’s a nice part of the river and this time my friend Jeff asked if he could bring his god son along to have ago at fishing for the first time. I was in two minds about going Saturday, as I knew the weather wasn’t going to be great and also didn’t want to put any stress on the fish, due to temperature change etc.

But I hand the bug to go fishing, so met Jeff and Josh at 08:00 sharp in the car park and set up the poles for the kids and got them fishing straight away. Well this was Josh’s first-time fishing ever, so wanted him to catch. Also wanted Harry to catch, as he loves this stretch.

Within 5 minutes, Josh was in with a Roach. What a great way to start fishing and catching most people’s first ever fish. Josh was so happy and was loving every second of it. Once Josh was back out fishing again, I set up a float rod for Jeff, as he hasn’t been fresh water fishing for years (now a sea angler).

Whilst I was sorting out my tackle box, as it was all quiet on the western front, Harry caught a lovely roach too. Thank god he wasn’t going to blank; I would have had a 7-year-old turning into teenager mode lol. With that I heard a splash coming from Jeff and Joshes direction. I could see they had caught a Tench, wow what a second fish to ever catch.

As they were bringing it in to the net, you guested it, it came off. The poor look on Josh’s face, he was excited and so sad at the same time. I was even a bit down about it and Harry was too. We explained that the one that gets away, will now be on your list to catch next time. Lesson learnt and back on with the fishing.

The rest of the day went very slowly and could see the kids were getting bored. Then the heavens opened up and any of you fellow anglers who were fishing around the Chelmsford area on Saturday know that it poured down. That’s when we decided to pack up and call it a day.

Josh and Harry were still happy with their catches, and me and Jeff, well we were just wet. Until next time guys. Have a safe one and tight lines.

Bailey Payne

Trip to Lake District

Well, around July in 2019 me and my partner decided to go on holiday to the Lake District, the little town of Glenridding on Lake Ullswater. And going on holiday by a Lake, it’s rude not to put some Fishing gear in the Car! At this point, I didn’t have much gear, was only bring a tip rod with me, and hoped to get worm or maggot when I got up there, however, I couldn’t, so had to settle for luncheon meat from a small local shop, looking back not sure why I didn’t get any corn! So my method was some groundbait and meat, not the ideal mix, however it was more of a taking in the scenery holiday! So wasn’t too bothered whether I caught, of course, I wanted to though!

There is definitely worse places to Fish! Sitting in the mountains with a beer, the peace was amazing! The lake acted like an ocean, it’s waves hitting the rocks. When your partner is happy to be Fishing to you know the scenery must be good! Although I think sitting on a rocky beach with a BBQ probably helped! (Luckily I wasn’t trying to catch dinner, had some nice burgers bought)

Rose manning the Rod’s while I cooked!

It didn’t take long before I started getting a few indications and the first bite followed soon, a greedy little Perch! And this was the pattern for most of the time Fishing in the Lake District, little Perch! They had lovely colours on, and was a joy catching them.

I know…I have a great taste in swimming trunks!

I was hoping to catch my first Trout on this trip, however never got one sadly, don’t think meat was the best choice, corn may have served be better, but was a shame I didn’t have maggot or worm as I would’ve caught a lot more, next time I’ll bring some, however since this trip I have a fly rod and a lure rod, so I should be able to catch a few more and get some wild trout from the lakes!

On the last day of my trip, I did manage to get a proper pull round, and a Fish that provided a nice little Fight! I was so thinking this was it, my first Trout, however, when it surfaced, I saw a long green shape, and it was unmistakably an eel. Only a small one, but gave a good little Fight, and was a nice catch, although took a while to unhook him, but always nice to see the Fish dart back into the depths.

I’m excited for the next time I go to the Lakes, new gear and have learnt a lot since then, I hope to be able to catch more Perch and Trout while there. Overall, was a lovely break and was great to top it off with a few Fish!