There is no doubt that particle baits can play a big part in your fishing bait armoury. Probably the most popular, Hemp, forms the staple of many a spod mix and fish are known to go crazy for the nutty taste and crunchy texture.
However, particle baits do get a bad press and have been banned by some venues. This is mainly down to the risks that poorly prepared particle baits can pose to fish.
Most particle baits start life as dry seeds, pulses, nuts and grains. When added to water, these absorb the moisture and swell, sometimes over twice their size. If this takes place inside the fish it will understandably cause them harm, and in worst cases death. Nut baits in-particular pose a big threat and many venues impose a ban solely on nuts.
This means that pre-soaking and cooking is essential for all particle baits before use.
There are many types of prepared particle baits sold in jars and tins from a number of brands, and these are great if you’re the occasional user. That being said, if you like to use a lot, like to save money, or prefer to add your own twist, then preparing your own is definitely the best option.
If care is taken to prepare your particles properly, you will have an excellent bait that is perfectly safe to use.
How to prepare particle baits for fishing
Preparing particle baits correctly will not only make them safe to us, but also release the natural oils and sugars that make them so attractive to fish.
All baits require some degree of soaking, with the majority then needing a boil. Below you’ll find a table detailing the soak and simmer times for the most popular particle baits.
But first, here are a couple of methods we like to use to prepare our particle.
The Coolbox Method
Probably the easiest and cleanest way to prepare small particle baits like hemp and seed mixes.
All you need is a kettle and a coolbox. (If you have an old coolbox, it might be better to use that than the one the Mrs uses for picnics )
The day before your fishing trip, simply add the required amount of particle to your coolbox, ensuring you fill no more than half of the container.
Then fill the coolbox up with boiling water, making sure there is at least double the amount of water to particle. So, if you have half filled it with hemp, fill it to the brim with hot water.
Give it all a quick stir, replace the lid and leave overnight. By the morning it will be perfect.
The Soak and Simmer
If preparing large quantities, or for larger particles like maize or maples , then you have to pre-soak and boil.
Although you can use a large saucepan, if you are able to get hold of a tea urn type device like a Burco Boiler, then this does make things a little easier.
However, the process is the same for both. In a large bucket with a lid, or directly in the Burco boiler, add the dry particle and water, again 1 part particle 2 parts water, and leave to soak for the required amount of time.
Once the particle bait has had sufficient soaking, its time to take the lot, particle and bait, and bring it to a simmer. Again, using the table below, simmer for the recommended time.
Then, leave to cool in the liquid you cooked them in. Once you completely cool you can either place into you bucket ready for you fishing, or bag up and freeze ready for when needed.
Freezing is a great way of preparing ahead or saving unused bait, but it wont last forever and does suffer from freezer burn if left frozen for too long.
Particle Baits soaking and cooking times
These times are just a guideline and you should always check that your bait if cooked enough. Hemp should be split, meaning the darker husk cracks revealing the white insides. Other seeds and pulses should be soft enough to squash between your thumb and finger.
Particles do vary by depending on age and supplier, so its always best to check before to stop the boil.
|Hemp||12hrs||30mins (Until most are split)|
|Mixed Seeds (Pigeon Conditioner)||12hrs||30mins|
|Chopped Tiger Nuts||12hrs||15-20mins|
Pimp your Particle
Probably the best thing about preparing your own particle is the freedom to add your own twist. Sweet, Salty, Spicy, Coloured, the options are endless.
Bicarbonate of soda is a great additive for hempseed as it blackens the husk and once cooked gives the hemp a nice shine. This should be added to the water when you soak the seeds, around a teaspoon per kilo of bait.
Salt is a favorite, again this can be added prior to soaking/boiling or can be mixed into the finished particle.
Oils are another winner. Hemp oil can be added to cooked hemp to really give it an oily boost.
Chilli Flakes can be added to particle baits, and many anglers swear by spicy chilli particles.
Top Tip. If using chilli, remember to wash your hands after handling your particle. Anyone who has answered a call of nature after handling chilli hemp will know why !
What you add to your particles is really only limited by your own imagination.