3. Bait, hooks and maggots

Learn about mixing groundbait, fishing with maggots and the best hooks to use when fishing on the towpath side of the canal.

Things to remember: groundbait

  • We mix up groundbait using a little water at a time. We want to be able to squeeze it into a small egg-sized ball
  • We use groundbait to attract the fish into our swim (where we are fishing)
  • We don’t use too much as otherwise the fish will get full


  • Bait must look natural as otherwise the fish wont eat it
  • Anglers use lots of different types of bait on canals: large maggots (fly larvae), casters (pupae), squats and pinkies (small maggots), bread and worms
  • The best baits for beginners are squats, pinkies, maggots and bread
  • When putting a maggot on a hook you must thread it through the flat end of the maggot


  • Hooks come in all different sizes
  • For canal fishing we use a size 18 or smaller
  • When fishing for small fish on the towpath side of the canal, we use a small hook. Use small hooks for small fish
  • If you use a big hook with a maggot, the maggot wont wriggle and the fish won’t want to eat it
  • Use bigger hooks with bigger bait – when fishing for bigger fish

Remember: Stay safe! It’s safer to fish as part of a group and children must always have parental permission.

Before you go fishing you need a Rod Licence if you are 12 years of age or older and permission from the fishery owner/angling club.

Last date edited: 29 March 2018