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Home > The Big Red Carp Fishing Blog > Seeds by Ken Townley

Seeds by Ken Townley

Tuesday, 10th July 2012

There are many seed baits available and probably the best known is hempseed. Other well-known seed baits are Red Band, dari seed and sunflower seed. Seed baits are also generally known as mass baits because you get a lot of them to the kilo. They are used to achieve a level of feeding preoccupation hard to achieve with other bait types. When carp are feeding on small food items they can quickly become totally preoccupied with the bait and will compete for every last seed. They tend to be less cautious when they are feeding in such a manner and the greater the degree of preoccupation and aggressive feeding the more the carp throw caution to the wind. I have watched carp literally barge each other out of the way simply to get at a few hempseeds nestled under a stone. They have even been known to shift quite large stones in order to get at any seeds trapped underneath.
As you can imagine, when they are feeding like this they seem to develop a sort of tunnel vision and normal everyday caution and even fear of the hookbait goes out of the window. Unfortunately this can have a knock on effect as fish that are totally preoccupied on a carpet of mass baits can become so single-minded that they actually ignore an alternative hookbait positioned over the top of the carpet. Preoccupation is all very well, but you don’t want it working against you. It is therefore perhaps wise to be a little bit prudent when introducing any mass bait.


Red Band

Seed blends like Supercatch’s Euro Mix, Carpticle and Red Band Pigeon Conditioner also work on the preoccupation theory. These baits consist of numerous mini and micro seeds that are blended together to form a tempting mixture of texture and taste. Properly prepared these blends are almost guaranteed to pull fish down thanks to their almost instant attraction and to the size, smell and texture of the overall bait carpet.

Euro Mix

Whole Hemp Seed

When you have seen carp feeding on mass baits you will soon come to notice that subtlety is not a feature of their table manners. They are downright uncouth to tell the truth. I have watched carp feeding so hungrily and greedily on a carpet of hempseed that they suck in huge mouthfuls of seeds, far more than they can ever chew up and then swallow in one go. Though much of the mouthful gets thrown back to the throat teeth, a good deal gets crowded out of the mouth via the gill covers in a shower of expelled seeds. I have even watched other carp feed on these expelled seeds as they fall back to the lakebed. That is some measure of what you can achieve with mass baits.

Seeds, and seed blends are used to achieve a degree of pre-occupation and as the pioneer of particle fishing Rod Hutchinson pointed out one of the best baits for getting the carp preoccupied is hempseed. This dark coloured seed is very nutritious being high in natural hemp oil. It is also very crunchy and some experts have claimed that carp are attracted to it in the first place due to its similarity in looks and texture to tiny water snails.

In the summer months when the water temperature is at its highest hempseed is one of the finest baits going as the warm water allows a much greater amount of the highly attractive oil to leak out from the bait. A carpet of hemp sends a stream of attraction to the surface and carp cruising at or just below the surface will home in on the bait carpet thanks to the smell of the oil leaking from the seeds.

My own method of preparing hempseed differs slightly from the generally accepted method.

1. Soak the hempseed for at least 24 hours.
2. Transfer the seeds and the water in which it has been soaking to a large saucepan.
3. Bring the water to the boil.
4. Once the water is boiling turn allow the seeds to simmer for about five minutes, then turn off the heat and transfer the boiling water and the seeds to a large freezer box.
5. Place the lid on the freezer box and allow the water to cool down slowly. This cooks the hemp without the usual prolonged boiling which sucks all the goodness out of the seeds. 6. As soon as the water has cooled completely the seed is ready for use.
7. It can either be used straight from the bucket or it can be strained, bagged up and frozen.
8. Keep the liquid that you strain as it will contain plenty of highly attractive pure hemp oil that will have come out of the hempseed during preparation. Use the liquor to dampen groundbait or Method-style mixes.

You can also prepare a smaller quantity of hempseed overnight with the minimum amount of preparation using a Thermos flask. Here’s how you do it:

• Fill a flask three-quarters full with hempseed.
• Top up the flask with boiling water.
• Seal the flask.
• After an overnight soak in the flask the hemp will have cooked slowly without loosing any goodness and is ready to use.
• The advantage of this method is that you can prepare small quantities of hempseed while doing sessions and if you prepare the flasks just before you turn in for the night the hemp will be ready for you at first light of a summer’s morning.

Crushed Hemp

Crushed hemp is also available from Supercatch and many anglers regard it as more effective then the whole seed. It has the added advantage of needing no further preparation. Open the bag, dampen the crushed hemp slightly and stiffen the mixture with groundbait such as SuperRed or Red Factor and then roll the bait into orange –sized balls.

Super Red
Red Factor

A neat trick is to add a few grains of yellow maize or sweetcorn to a large bed of hempseed. It appears that carp often go for the bright yellow grains first so a hookbait of maize, or even plastic corn stands every chance of being picked up. Add a small tin of sweetcorn to five kilos of cooked hempseed.

Tinned sweetcorn will be fine as a hookbait for short range or margin fishing but a tougher bait is needed when fishing at range. I like to use strongly flavoured maize as a hookbait in these circumstances. To prepare maize for hookbaits simply soak a few grains (enough to keep you supplied with hookbaits for the session) in strongly flavoured water overnight. In this time they will swell up and absorbed the flavour and water well, but they will still be very hard and will withstand the force of the cast.

Red Band

A brilliant seed blend mix is Haith’s Carpticle. This is a bait comprising of mini and micro-seeds and cereals specially blended and formulated to allow fermentation to take place. Most people think that particles are pretty low in nutritional terms and compared to a top class fishmeal or HNV boilie, this is so. However, seeds and seed blends are full of protein and other important nutrients and have the advantage over some other types of baits in that they are easily digested so can give the fish a decent feed without having to cough up a fortune. Blends such as Red Band also fulfil all the important criteria in that they are visual, smell good and are reasonably nutritious and the big plus point is that they cost pennies compared to boiled baits.

There are many seed baits available and probably the best known is hempseed.

Another well-known seed blend with a big reputation is Red Band, Haith’s trade marked own brand Pigeon Conditioner. There is only ONE Red Band!
Euro Mix

Haith's Euro Mix also works on the preoccupation principle.

As does their micro seed blend Carpticle.
Cooked Carpticle

Cooked Carpticle…Even I fancy eating it!

Preoccupation as fierce as this can only help lower their suspicion and create aggressive feeding.
Stainless steel Thermos flasks

Stainless steel Thermos flasks such as these are great when you only want to prepare a small amount of bait.
flasks method

You can see from this picture how well the flasks method prepares the seed for fishing.
Crushed hempseed

Crushed hempseed is a fantastic bait ingredient and can even be used on its own. Simply dampen the crushed hemp slightly and stiffen the mixture with groundbait such as SuperRed or Red Factor.
 maize for hookbaits

To prepare maize for hookbaits simply soak a few grains in strongly flavoured water overnight. They will last ages like this.
capture caught on a mass

A recent capture caught on a mass bait like hempseed or Red Band.

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