Fishing with Hemp Seed
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Hemp or hemp seed is a small black seed of about 2 or 3mm in diameter and classed as a particle bait. It is a natural seed bait and one of the most successful and popular particle baits available. Hemp can be purchased loose, as a natural seed, or pre-cooked in a tin ready for fishing. I have never used tinned hemp so cannot comment on it. Hemp is normally used in conjunction with Tares and is renowned for being one of the best hook baits when fishing for roach.
Hemp is not only an excellent hook bait, it is also a great bait for holding fish in a swim and brilliant attractant when added to groundbait. Prepare the hemp as below before adding it to your groundbait.
How to prepare hemp for fishing.
To prepare hemp seed yourself for fishing there are several methods.
Cooking or soaking. Cooking is the quickest and what most anglers prefer. Soaking just involves putting the hemp in a container, covering with water and leaving until the hemp seed splits.
Some anglers cook hemp from dry and others put the hemp seed into a container, cover with water and leave to soak for 24 hours which helps the seeds split when you cook them. Either way follow the instructions below.
1. Put the hemp into a pan of water and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally and making sure the hemp is covered with water all the time.
(adding bicarbonate of soda to the water, at the rate of one teaspoon per pint of hemp, will turn the seeds dark black)
2. Keep boiling for 5 to 10 minutes and while boiling look for the hemp splitting – when this happens you will see a small white protrusion from the seed – at this point turn down the heat and simmer until most of the hemp seeds have split.
3. When you see most of the hemp has split, turn off the heat and drain the hemp and tip into a container of cold water. This will stop the cooking process and stop the hemp splitting wide open. If the hemp splits too wide this can make it harder to stay on the hook. After half an hour or so drain and rinse the hemp again and it will be ready for using.
Using a Thermos flask to cook the hemp.
I have tried this method and it works but I don’t use it because you are restricted to around a pint of hemp (depending on the size of flask that you use) and I use a lot more than a pint on a fishing session.
Half fill a thermos flask with uncooked hemp, add bicarbonate of soda if you want the seeds to be dark black and top up the flask with boiling water. Do not fill completely, leave some space for the seed expansion, put the lid on and leave to cook overnight. In the morning your hemp should be cooked ready for using.
On clear waters, rivers, canals and stillwaters, liquidised hemp can be very effective as a ‘loose’ feed when fishing for roach. I say loose feed but as you will find out its not really loose. When mixed correctly with water and introduced into the swim, it causes a cloud as it drops through the swim depositing the larger bits on the bottom. The cloud attracts the roach and the bits on the bottom hold the fish in your swim.
Half fill a liquidiser with cooked hemp (un-cooked hemp can be used but cooked hemp I find mixes better) and switch it on and give it a quick blast to smash up the hemp. You may find it sticking to the sides of the liquidiser as it is ground up. When smashed up empty into a container ready for taking fishing. The liquidised hemp will be stodgy and sticky and if thrown into the water like this it will just fall to the bottom as a lump. Mix some water with it before hand until it is ‘mushy’ and this will then cause the fish attracting cloud. Fishing for chub on rivers, running waters this is ideal for using in a swim feeder. Mashing up a small amount of liquidised hemp with a slice of bread makes a great hemp paste.
Hemp can be frozen.
A time saver is to prepare more hemp than is needed and to make up batches in pint sized bags and freeze them for using another time. Then its just a matter of defrosting the night before it is needed.
‘Fishing with Hemp Seed’
When fishing hemp seed as a hook bait it is generally used while float fishing and when feeder fishing it is used as an attractor in an open end groundbait feeder. Half fill an open end feeder with Hemp and plug the ends with groundbait to hold it in. On fast running water hemp can be used in a closed feeder.
As with all fishing there are no hard and fast rules and if you want to try it as hook bait when feeder fishing then give it a go, although I must say I only use it on the hook while float fishing and if using it while feeder fishing I use it in a feeder.
When the fish are really ‘having it’, try a tare on the hook. These are bigger seeds and easier to put on the hook. Just nick the hook through the skin of the tare.
How to hook hemp.
Choose a slightly undercooked seed that is only just split. Push the bend of the hook into the opening and let go. The shell of the seed should grip the hook. That’s it, ready to fish.
Hemp can also be used on a hair rig. Using a fine needle push it through the seed from the split, thread the line through and tie it back on itself. Four or five grains of hemp can be threaded onto the line and used in this way. To be honest I have never tried hair rigging hemp and prefer the quicker method of pushing the hook into the seed.
Tackle should be chosen for the species of fish you are targeting and whether you will be float or feeder fishing. Light tackle is best if roach fishing with hemp and heavier tackle for chub, barbel, tench etc.
Choice of fishing Line
This depends on whether you are float or feeder fishing, the species of fish and the size of the fish expected to be caught. Monofilament is a popular choice.
If float fishing for small roach use a light main line of around 2.5lb with hook lengths of 1lb to 1.5lb and if you will be feeder fishing a 4lb main line with 2lb to 2.5lb hook lengths can be used. Scale up according to the average size of fish.
A size 18 or 16, preferably barbless, fine wire hook with a wide gape to position the hemp at the back of the bend with plenty of the hook point showing.
Float and shotting patterns will depend on the water and what method you are fishing.
See. shotting patterns
On stillwaters, the shotting pattern set up for roach I start off with is strung out shirt button style.
While fishing with hemp, when you get fish feeding on it the bites can be pretty fast and you may find fish mistaking the shot on your line for hemp and start going for that instead, if this happens try doubling up the shot down your line. After every bite check your hook as the hemp can be taken off very easily.
This is an individual choice and depends on the water you are fishing and fish you are targeting.
As with balling in groundbait at the start when bream fishing in Ireland if you are fishing for carp on known well stocked stillwaters a kilo of hemp thrown in at the start may not be out of order. Fishing for roach or chub on rivers would be loose feed a little and often and up the rate depending on how many bites you are getting.
Article Copyright J. Boswell www.fish-uk.com All rights reserved
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Buy Fishing Hemp in Bulk
If you haven’t tested your local waters with hempseed then you really should. Hemp is a fabulous particle bait which is appealing to most species of fish. This inexpensive bait can be utilised as groundbait and also as hookbait to catch smaller fish. Carp, in particular, find it hard to resist hemp. This could be because the seeds are reminiscent of water snails which feature in the carp’s natural diet. Alternatively it could be because this rich and oily particle bait has such an irresistible flavour.
Hempseed Particle Fishing Bait
Hempseed is a highly effective particle fishing bait that is a powerful attractant to most species of fish. It’s rich and oily, inexpensive and versatile meaning that it should shoot straight to the top of your shopping list if you’re yet to try it.
A Little History
Hempseed is the seed of the hemp plant. This is an environmentally friendly crop as it requires no chemical pesticides or fertilisers to grow and it is good for the soil too. Hemp fibres were originally used to make rope and paper but are now also utilised in fashion fabrics. It is a versatile crop but is prohibited in some countries because it is a close relative of cannabis.
Hemp was introduced to the UK as fishing bait by European refugees in World War I. First used for catching roach, this enticing seed is now favoured by anglers to use in their groundbait when fishing for any species. It can also be used as hookbait for catching smaller fish. Hempseed was only available uncooked until the 1990s but then many bait suppliers began to sell pre-prepared hempseed. These ready to use tins are always useful to have on hand but it is far cheaper to prepare your own seed. Batches can be frozen for future use if you wish to minimise the amount of time you spend prepping your fishing bait.
It is best to soak your hempseed overnight before cooking it. Once soaked it should be simmered for around 15 minutes. The seeds will start to split to reveal the white hearts. Take care not to overcook the bait, especially if you wish to use it as hookbait. You need to keep an eye on your pan and stop cooking when the seeds are just beginning to split. When the hempseed is cooked, strain off your seeds but retain the oily water as this is excellent for mixing with groundbait. Rinse the seeds in cold water and pack in a sealed container.
Hempseed is rarely used as hookbait for larger fish as the seeds are so small. However there is a method for fishing with these tiny seeds on a big enough hook. You can use a sticky substance, which is amusingly called ‘bogey’, tied to a hair rig with hempseed pushed into it. This creates a grainy ball which will enable you to land some impressive specimens.
Ramping up the Flavour
This particle fishing bait is naturally oily and flavoursome but you can pimp your bait with a variety of attractants if you wish. Add your chosen flavours to the cooking water to create your unique take on hemp.
Top Hempseed Tips
Hempseed floats if it dries out so keep it moist whilst you are fishing. Don’t use too much at once when you are fishing because you’ll find that little and often is the way forward when it comes to hemp. If you arrange a fishing trip at short notice and haven’t prepared any hempseed then you can do a little impromptu prep-work using a vacuum flask. Put some seeds in the flask and cover them with boiling water, allowing room for the seeds to swell. Seal the flask and leave overnight. The next morning you will have usable hemp.
Hemp at Fishing Bait World
You will find hempseed particle bait of the highest quality here at Fishing bait world. It is on offer in 2.5kg bags but also in bulk if you need a good supply and once you have tried this bait you will probably want more. Once prepared, you can freeze hempseed for future use.
How to prepare hemp seed for fishing?
Take care to properly prepare your hempseed otherwise it can prove harmful to fish. Tip the hempseed into a container. Cover with cold water and seal the container. Make sure that there is plenty of room in your container as the hempseed will swell. Once it has been soaked you can then place the seed and the water into a saucepan. Bring the water to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. The bait will soften but should not break up unless you simmer it for too long.
If you don’t have the time to prepare your bait then you can also invest in Dynamite Frenzied Cooked Hempseed which is prepared using Dynamite’s unique process to lock in all of the flavour.
Hempseed is a firm favourite with fish but can also be enhanced with attractants if you wish. This is a versatile particle bait which doesn’t cost the earth and which should yield excellent results for you.
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