Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 279: Maggotology

When: Wednesday, February 14th, from 7:15pm to 7:45pm
Where: Mindowaskin Pond in Westfield, Union County, New Jersey
What: Fishing
Weather: Overcast, 45 degrees, NW wind at 9mph
Barometric Pressure: 30.19in and rising
Moon: Waning, a day past the last quarter
Water Conditions: Couldn't really see, it was dark

What an exhausting day. It was a good day, and I'll explain more soon, but I am utterly wiped right now. It's 11pm and I have not stopped moving since this morning.

My day wasn't supposed to be this crazy, and I was hoping to cut it short and find myself a better fishing hole. That didn't happen.

Instead, I headed home after work completely exhausted and made a quick stop at Mindowaskin before meeting some friends in Westfield. I didn't get any bites, but who cares.

However, I figured I'd take this opportunity to explain something that I was going to do during the ice fishing season that we didn't have.


I'm sure that some of you have seen that I've been using "waxworms" for bait. But what exactly are waxworms, or spikes, or mousies for that matter?

Well, they're maggots. They're all nice names for maggots. Actually, waxworms are technically caterpillars, but they may as well be maggots. So here is some quick info on a few very common panfish baits that one may run into at a tackle shop, especially during the winter.

(Pictured above)
Waxworms are the caterpillar larvae of wax moths. The adult moths are sometimes called "bee moths." The off-white caterpillars have black-tipped feet and small black or brown heads. They are commonly used to catch panfish and can survive for weeks at low temperatures. If kept cool, they can go a long time without eating.


Spikes are the pale whitish larvae (read maggot) of the blue bottle fly. These tasty morsels generally begin their lives as eggs that are laid on garbage, decaying meat or, well, you know. The blue bottle fly is found in most parts of the world. Like the waxworm, these small "worms" are commonly used to tip jigs used to catch panfish. They are usually sold in packs of 50 or so and absolutely must be kept cold or they turn into flies.

The term "mousie" is a cute and cuddly name for a "rat-tailed maggot," the aquatic larvae of the drone fly. They get the name "mousie" because of small appendage coming off their body that resembles a tail. When not residing in the bed of wood-chips that they are sold-in, mousies are more commonly found living in sewage. Once again, if not kept cool, these adorable little maggots will turn into flies.

Keep in mind, the best way to keep these baits cool is to keep them in the fridge.

Bon Appetit.

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