Something for our friends on the bait fishery this month, some basic maggot wrangling tips.
Maggots, or Gentles as Isaac Walton would have known them, are probably the most popular fishing bait available. Despite the initial impression, maggots are actually quite clean but they do suffer from a number of "personal" problems.
Problem one is that they turn into flies - mostly Bluebottle. In fact, before they become flies, they turn into casters, the pupal stage of the the Bluebottle. Casters can actually be used as bait, and can be very effective in some situations, but you can prevent your maggots becoming casters or flies by keeping them cool. You MIGHT be able to convince other users of your home fridge that the wriggling mass of fishing bait next to the tomatoes is quite safe, but this is unlikely, so you may want a bait fridge that you can keep in the garage. Small tabletop fridges are ideal, but even a standard work-top model will do. Look out for second-hand bargains in the local paper or at auction.
Now, even the coolest, best kept maggots can develop the second problem, that of "sweating". Maggots produce ammonia, which is as best unpleasant and at worst, toxic. To avoid this, make sure that your maggots are stored "thinly" mixed with a quantity of maize flour. Don't be fooled into thinking more maggots, less maize flour is a good thing. The maggots feed on the maize, and it allows them to burrow and feel more secure, making it less likely that they will pupate and turn into casters. Do not keep your maggots piled up in a narrow container where they are in permanent close contact with each other, and all will remain well...