Did you know?

Almost two thirds of households near our waterways are disadvantaged. Support our community projects along canals and rivers.

Smaller than the standard large maggot, pinkies are the larva of the common greenbottle fly.

Pinkies bait Pinkies bait

On a large part of the canal network top anglers would use pinkies alongside squatts as the standard hookbait on a typical canal peg. Squatts would make up the loosefeed in most situations. Roach, gudgeon, simmer bream and perch are all easily caught on pinkies.

If you are new to fishing and attend a Let’s Fish event, pinkies will probably be the hookbait that you are first introduced to.

Commercial production

Pinkies are bred on maggot farms and are naturally white in colour. However, they get their name from turning a pale pink colour soon after being taken off the feed. They are usually available in white, red and a bright orange colour and can be known as disco or fluoro pinkies. They are available all the year round in good tackle shops.

History of the use of pinkies

The use of numerous types of maggot is mentioned by the likely author Dame Juliana Berners in the Treatise of fishing with an angle written around 1420. Along with squatts, pinkies are mentioned in R E Fletcher’s "Baits and Ground Baits for Match Fishing" published in the 1920s.

How to store them between fishing sessions

Anglers store pinkies in plastic bait tins with fine sawdust, maize meal or bran added. When it’s warm in the summer, pinkies will quickly pupate, typically in around a week or so. To slow this process down, pinkies are kept in the fridge and belong hardy, they will last in good condition for at least a fortnight.

Do make sure you get permission from the fridge owner and take care to ensure the lid is kept on the receptacle - for stories of escaped pinkies truly are the stuff of nightmares.

Motty’s tips for fishing with pinkies

  • Avoid loose-feeding with pinkies on canals as if you are not careful it can fill the fish up too quickly and therefore they won’t eat you hookbait
  • Use a single pinkie rather than a double pinkie on the hook as it looks more natural to the fish
  • A size 22 is the ideal hook size for both pinkies and squatts
  • If you miss a bite, always check that the end of the pinkie has not been nibbled as fishing with a sucked pinkie massively reduces your chance of getting another bite

Take special care to ensure the lid if kept on the tin containing pinkies - they are the Houdini’s of the bait box as John Ellis once found out when I first knew him...

Last date edited: 26 November 2017