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Gents - Maggots


One of the most popular baits for fresh or sea water fishing is maggots, of which, some people call them Gents. Whatever you want to call, them they work ! The number of different species that find these little suckers to their liking is amazing - Trout find them irresistible, Carp can�t leave them alone, Garfish and Tommies find them indefensibly delectable and Redfin will kill for them.

Gent�s have been available from most South Australian Tackle stores for some time now. The one main failing in this is that they work out expensive. This is because you need to use about a pint and a half in volume every time you go fishing. Like anything else, its cheaper to grow your own, and it couldn�t be easier.

There are three kinds of Gents which are sold in their natural state or dyed various colours: Large Whites, Pinkies and Squatts. The most common and preferred variety used for fishing is the Large Whites.


Pinkies are a slightly smaller Gent and are the larvae of the common greenbottle, so called because in their uncoloured state they have a 'pinkish' tinge. These can be used as hookbait using a smaller hook when the fish are proving hard to catch, or, as a loosefeed when using normal Gents as hookbait. The psychology behind this is supposedly that a fish sees a large Gent amongst the smaller ones and it will go for the big one! Again the same rules apply re: freshness and preparation as to the larger Gents.


The name is probably due to the fact that these are the smallest of the Gents used in fishing, are the larvae of the common housefly, and are sometimes also referred to as 'feeders'. Squatts are usually coloured only in white, although sometimes you may be lucky and find red ones available. These are used mainly as feed, either as a loosefeed or mixed with groundbait.

Squatts normally come in damp foundry sand. They are the only Gent that should be kept damp, the reason being that if Squatts are allowed to dry out they float. Squatts always seem to smell of ammonia. Chances are the fish don't enjoy this smell, therefore, its prudent to place them either in a bucket of freshly mixed groundbait or a fresh bait box with some dampened bran.

Another trick that sometimes works, if the Squatts are very fresh, place them in a bait box with a slice of bread dampened with milk. They will sometimes begin feeding on this and their size will increases a little.

Large Whites

Large Whites - the larvae of bluebottles - are the most widely used and are usually sold in maize meal or sometimes bran or sawdust.

Large whites are ideal as both hookbait and feed. They can be loosefed accurately by hand up to 10m or so, but for greater distances up to about 25m, or when there's a facing wind, you need to use a catapult or mix them in groundbait.

They are particularly suitable for running water. Being about 13mm (1/2in) long and 3mm (1/8in) thick they are big enough to be seen easily by the fish and heavy enough when fed into the water to reach the bottom fairly quickly.

Buying, Storing & Cleaning

Gents aren't cheap but, with care, fresh Large Whites and Pinkies can be kept in good condition for two or three weeks. Squatts unfortunately don't usually keep for more than a week.

Fresh Gents are lively and soft to the touch, not leathery. Tough, old Gents are only good in very cold water, which makes fresh Gents stretch and die. With Pinkies, you want to see only a slight tinge of pink. A strong tinge is a sure sign of old age.

They are best kept in purpose-made plastic bait containers with perforated lids that let the Gents breathe. Keep the boxes clean and dry and the holes in the lids unclogged. To prevent spillage, the boxes should ideally only be filled halfway.

The best place for storing Gents is a fridge. Failing that, choose a cool, dark, well ventilated place such as a garage floor, but bear in mind that they won't keep as long only a week at most in summer, a bit longer in winter.

Hooking Gents

Gents are not large baits and are prone to bursting all over your fingers creating a particularly unattractive look when trying to impress someone with your fishing prowess.

Use a chemically sharpened hook no greater than size six (ie use from 6 to 14). The barb on hooks any bigger than this will cause the aforementioned problem. Gents do vary in size so its size plays a part in dictating the size of the hook.

As a general rule, if you start with a size 10 hook, you are covering most circumstances. A Gent has a top and a bottom, a front and a back end. The Gent has a pointed end , this is the front or head.

The blunt end is the tail. If you look at a Gent under a magnifying glass you will see that it actually does have a tail. Its tail is an extension of its underside. It is through this tail that the gent is hooked . Once on a hook, the Gent appears to feel nothing at all and wriggles furiously to get away, making it extremely enticing and attractive to a cariety of fish.

Bait presentation is a phrase used again and again by many fishing gurus everywhere. The method of hooking described above allows the Gents to move vigorously. It also allows the Gents to survive for much longer on the hook. When viewed on the hook, two Gents wriggling away looks enticing and natural to the fish.

How to Clean Gents

You will need

  • 3mm (1/8in) sieve
  • Dry bait box
  • Dry maize meal

Large Whites and Pinkies should be cleaned at least once a week to reduce sweating and smell, so making them more palatable to fish. Squatts are best left in their original sand, though this may need slight dampening occasionally.

Tip the Gents on to the sieve (if cleaning pinkies use a 1.5mm (1/16in) sieve), quickly shake it until all the old maize meal, sawdust or bran has fallen through, then immediately place it over the container.

After a few minutes, the Gents wriggle through, leaving the dead skins and rubbish behind.

Transfer the Gents from the container to the clean bait box. Finally, add half a cup of maize meal per pint of Gents.

Breed Your 0wn Gents

You will need the following

  • three plastic storage bins (of reasonable size to fit into a fridge)
  • a flat shallow tray and a sieve
  • fine saw dust
  • 1 kg of chicken liver
1.Take two of the storage containers and place half a kilo of the liver in each.
2.Place outside in the garden in semi shade, leave it there for around twenty four hours. The flies will lay their eggs, and in some cases live Gents on the meat. These are reasonably easy to spot.
3.At this stage cover the meat with saw dust to a depth of about four inches.
4.Leave the containers in a garage or garden shed for a period of three or four days. (In the winter you will have to leave the Gents for a much longer period to develop - up to ten days is not unusual.)
5.After the three to four days you will see a fine lace work membrane sitting on top of the sawdust, discard this. It is in fact all that is left of the liver.
6.You then proceed to separate the Gents from the sawdust using a sieve. Place the sieve over the last of the three containers pour the Gents/sawdust mix into the sieve, the Gents will wriggle through to the container below. Some saw dust will fall through with the Gents , don�t worry about it. Add some fresh sawdust to the sieved Gents, just enough to cover them.
7.You then repeat the process with the second container, sieving into the first container.
8.At this point it is best to decant the Gents into proper bait boxes.
9.You are then able to store the bait boxes in the fridge.

You can keep them in the fridge for any thing up to three weeks or so.

For the continued breeding of Gents and the re-use of the containers, make sure that the containers themselves are washed and are kept clean, as this eliminates nasty odours and makes things easier to handle next time round.

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