Hints & Tips - Bait Preparation

The use of particle baits in carp fishing, and coarse fishing in general, have become extremely popular due to their versatility and effectiveness. The majority or particle baits are hard nuts or seeds and as such they need to be prepared correctly before they enter the water. Under-prepared particles can be fatal to fish stocks; dry particles absorb water and then swell in size which can lead to fish deaths if this happens inside the fish's gut. That said, don't let this put you off using particles because if they are prepared correctly then they can be devastating!

The preparation phase is crucial with particles, it shouldn't be seen as 'another hassle' prior to leaving for your fishing session. Part of the reason why particles are so effective is that during the preparation stage (which usually requires some degree of pre-soaking and boiling) the oils and attractors from within the particle are released. This can transform a bland and boring seed or nut into a rich mix of flavours and attractors.

Ever since particles have been used in fishing, anglers have put their own 'twist' on how they prepare particles ranging from adding a teaspoon of salt or sugar to adding chilli or garlic to the cooking water. By adding these extra ingredients at the preparation stage means that the particles will absorb and take on these flavours and can give you that all important 'edge' over other anglers.

Many anglers tend to fish with an assortment of particles rather than just one type. This provides the fish with a variety of food sources of different sizes, textures, flavours and colours and will increase the fish's confidence in feeding over a bed of particles.

This page will focus in detail on the most popular types of particles that need preparing. If you are still unsure or not confident of preparing your own particles then seek advice from an expert i.e. your local tackle shop, or buy ready prepared particles.

HEMPSEED
Hempseed is without doubt the most popular particle used in fishing. In its unprepared state, hempseed is a small black seed that is hard.To prepare hemp so that it is safe to use, it needs to be pre-soaked.To do this, tip the required amount hemp into a large container that has a lid. Pour cold water over the hemp so that it all of the seed is submerged in water and put the lid on. Leave to soak overnight, 12-14 hours is sufficient time. The hemp will swell up slightly during this time so make sure the container is large enough.

Next you need to transfer the hemp and water into a pan and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and leave to simmer until the seed has split (see picture above). Now transfer the cooked hemp and all the juices back into the original container, seal and leave overnight.

The hemp is now ready to use or freeze.
TIGER NUTS
In its unprepared state, tiger nuts are hard, brown and very rough in texture. To prepare tiger nuts so that they are safe to use, they need to be pre-soaked. To do this, tip the required amount of tigers into a large container that has a lid. Pour cold water over the tigers so that they are all submerged in water and put the lid on.
Leave to soak for a minimum of 24 hours.

Once the tigers have soaked thoroughly, transfer them and the water into a pan and bring to the boil. Keep them on the boil for 30 minutes (for larger tiger leave to boil for 45 minutes). Now transfer the tigers and all the juices back to the original container, seal and leave overnight. The water will turn a milky colour due to all the sugars in the nuts. If possible, leave the tigers in the container for 2-3 days; this helps them to ferment and brings out the full flavours of the tiger nuts.

Cooked
MAIZE
In its unprepared state, maize is hard, very hard! To prepare maize so that it is safe to use, it needs to be pre-soaked. To do this, tip the required amount of maize into a large container that has a lid. Pour cold water over the maize so that it is submerged in water and put the lid on. Leave to soak for 24 hours.

Once soaked, transfer the maize and the water into a pan and bring to the boil. Keep them on the boil for 30 minutes. By now, the maize will have expanded and although still quite tough should split when pinched. Now transfer the maize and all the juices back to the original container. Leave to stand for 30 minutes or so until the maize has cooled down, and then its ready to go.

Cooked

There are of course many more particles available than those listed above, in fact the only real limit to what can be used for particles is your imagination! Below is a simple table that gives details on pre-soak and cooking times for a range of the most popular of particles:

Particle Pre-Soak Time Boil/Simmer Time
Hemp 12-14 hours Until split
Small Tigers 24 hours 30 minutes
Large Tigers 24 hours 45 minutes
Whole Maize 24 hours 30 minutes
Blackeyed Beans 12-14 hours 10-20 minutes
Chick Peas 12-14 hours 20-30 minutes
Red/White Dari 6 hours 10-15 minutes
Groats None required 1 minute
Red Kidney Beans 12-14 hours 20-30 minutes
Flaked Maize None required 1 minute
Maple Peas 12-14 hours 20-30 minutes
Moth Beans None required 1 minute
Tares 12-14 hours 20-30 minutes
Wheat 6 hours 10-15 minutes
Partiblend None required 1 minutes
Pigeon Mix 12 hours 20 minutes



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