3. Bait, hooks and maggots

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Local waterways have been an escape for many during these difficult times. Our work to protect them is more urgent than ever.

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