Maples were among the first switch baits to be used after sweetcorn started losing its effectiveness. By then everybody recognised the effectiveness of the particle approach but finding a replacement for the little yellow grains proved difficult.
It was Rod Hutchinson who first started using mini-maples at Redmire, the peas being obtained from Haith's (who else). Rod was probably the first to discover the treasure trove behind the massive warehouse doors of the Haith's factory and maples and mini-maples were his first purchase from us. (Update: our thoughts go out to Rod Hutchinson's family & friends as he sadly passed away last month) (June 2018)
Rod chose the little pea because he thought he was going down the right road by using small dark baits rather than big bright ones (sweetcorn). Vast amounts of mini-maples were introduced into Redmire, first by Rod and then by Chris Yates who later joined in the experiment. Suddenly those elusive Redmire carp began to seem easy, all thanks to the brilliant application of maples by Rod and Chris. Since then maples have become the first choice of many particle bait users who prefer beans and pulses rather than nuts. They have been particularly successful in summer as there is no better bait for warmer water,
As with all particle baits correct preparation is vital. Maples are not hard to prepare but unless you do so correctly you run the risk of damaging the carp by introducing under- or un-prepared peas. Incidentally, many anglers believe that maples are best used without any additional flavouring as they have a unique and powerful aroma. I would go along with this but on the other hand I don’t think adding a flavour takes anything away from their effectiveness…but nor does it ad anything either!
This is how I prepare two kilos (dry weight - approx 4kg wet weight) of both maples and mini-maples. First crumble four beef stock cubes in boiling water until they are totally dissolved. These are included to encourage the peas to darken slightly and to add a salty flavour. Pour the flavour-rich water over the maples having first placed them is a medium sized bait bucket. Top up the bucket with cold water.
Stir the flavour, sweetener and dissolved stock cubes together and allow the peas to absorb the liquid. This takes at least 12 hours and to be honest I prefer to soak them for 24-36 hours to allow maximum absorbsion and also to cut down on boiling time.
Now transfer the maples to a large saucepan (or two), along with the water in which they have been soaking. Bring them to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Test the baits from time to time to ensure they do not go too soft. After the fifteen minutes are up the peas should be nice and pliable, not too soft but of a fairly rubbery consistency.
Drain off the liquid to prevent them overcooking and transfer the cooked maples to a bucket with a sealable lid. At a push the baits are ready to use straight away and in fact you are preparing them at the lakeside it is far better to introduce them while they are still warm.
Otherwise kick start their pulling power by encouraging them to ferment slightly. This is how you do it. After straining the maples and sealing them in their bucket, place the bucket in a warm place such as the kitchen or the airing cupboard, or in summer you can stand the bucket outside in the sunshine. Allow the maples to stand for 2-3 days after which time they will begin to exude a milky, glutinous substance as they slowly begin to ferment. They will also begin to smell very powerfully and if you get the milky substance on your clothes and hands, I don’t recommend that you go to the pub until you’ve had a chance to have a good wash and maybe a change of clothes! The maples are now ready to use and in this form are, to my mind, at their very best.
This small round yellow pea has been around in the carp world for nearly three decades and is a firm favourite with particle lovers. It is usually one of the first change baits after sweetcorn starts to slow down and along with black eyed beans is probably the most well know and widely used of all the pea/pulse baits. It is one of the easiest to prepare so it is ideal for short session fishing and it takes colours and flavours very well. In its natural state the chickpea is a bright yellow colour so it is obviously a very visual bait that can pull fish down instantly. Many anglers have told me that they believe chickpeas really only work well over gravel but I have to say that I have found them to be one of the most versatile of all the particle baits.
Widely used on the Continent, chickpeas have been known to score well on some of the most difficult waters and multiple catches have been reported from Orient, Der-Chatequoc and St Cassien, as well as from other less well known waters. I have done particularly well using chickpeas on rivers. I think river fish are largely very nomadic and a big carpet of brightly coloured, highly flavoured particles can pull them down almost immediately. As chickpeas are probably the most visual of all the particles, these are often our first choice for a pre-bating campaign.
Preparation could not be easier. Simply soak them for 12-24 hours then bring them to the boil. As soon as they come to a fierce boil, remove from the heat and allow the peas to cool in the water in which they have been boiled. This will produce a bait with a very reliable consistency with a slightly sweet taste.
Colours and flavours (if required) should be added at the soaking stage to allow them to penetrate right into the bait. Though chickpeas have a slightly sweet natural taste I like to boost the sweetness with a few mills of my favourite sweetener, Sweet Cajouser from Nutrabaits. Chickpeas soak up flavour like a sponge and I have found that just about any flavour works well. You will also find that chickpeas absorb liquid food additives better than most particle baits so a good dose of Nutramino, Multimino-PPC or Corn Steep Liquor will certainly boost attraction
I have done very well using chickpeas soaked in stock cubes of various kinds as well as in Marmite or Bovril dissolved in hot water. These enhance most of the more savoury flavours and may also have the effect of reducing the visibility of the peas somewhat. This may be an advantage on waters where chickpeas have been used extensively and the carp are becoming wary of the naturally bright, uncoloured baits. You can add artificial colouring at the soaking stage too. Simply add a teaspoonful of your preferred colour dye for every kilo (dry weight) of particles. It is also a good idea to add a few mills of neat flavour and sweetener to the baits after they have been drained. This gives them that extra little kick-start once they are introduced to the swim.
(Don’t forget that tinned chickpeas can be just as effective!).
8) BLACK-EYED BEANS.
This is a fabulous bait, which was tremendously popular in the 70s at the start of the particle revolution. They too have fallen from favour somewhat since then but anyone with a spirit of adventure and the yen to try something ‘new’ should give them a go. Like maples they are easy to ferment and they soak up flavours and colours just as well as chickpeas. In addition they are not as heavy (dense) as maples or chickpeas so they are better for fishing over weed or soft, silty lakebeds.
Once again we have Rod to thank for bringing them to our attention and it was Rod who also popularised the preparation of pulses in soup. Tomato soup and black-eyed beans will always be synonymous for me in the early 70s when Rod’s first articles appeared in angling magazine. He gave me the inspiration to try the new method and black eyed beans at were my our first change after maples seemed to loose their effectiveness
There is something about black-eyed beans that carp adore and I rate them equally with maples or chickpeas. One thing to remember, however, is that they are extremely filling and unless you are fishing for large shoals of carp, it is wise to err on the side of caution when baiting up.
Black-eyed beans have been absolutely instant wherever I have fished them so there is no need to prebait. In fact, I sometime think it might do more harm than good to prebait with any of the pulses, so again tread cautiously.
The beans are very easy to prepare. Simply use the same method as you would with maples. However, you can pep them up with flavour (I am particularly keen on the spice flavours like cinnamon), sweetener, liquid food and so on…whatever takes your fancy really.
This is my way of preparing black-eyed beans:
1. As before place the dry beans in a suitable pan.
2. Add a tablespoon of salt per kilo of dry beans.
3. Add your preferred flavour. I adore the spicy flavour like cinnamon.
4. Add any colouring (bright to stand out against the bottom, dull colour to blend in).
5. Top up with water so that the beans are covered by about an inch or so.
6. Stir the pan so as to blend in the additives.
7. Now leave the bait to soak for 24 hours, checking to ensure that the bait is always covered by water. Note that black-eyed beans absorb a great deal of liquid so you will invariably have to top up.
8. After the soak is completed bring the pan to the boil and cook for 15 minutes.
9. Now drain off the boiling water and run the particles under a cold tap for a few minutes to take the heat out of them and stop them overcooking.
10. Once cool place the beans in a bucket and pour on 50ml of your preferred liquid food such as Sense Appeal or Multimino-PPC.
11. Shake the bucket to coat each the bait with the liquid additive.
12. Seal the bucket and leave it in a warm room or the airing cupboard for a few days.
13. After three or four days you will find that they have taken on the smell, attraction and colour of the amino acid liquid food.
9) MALTING BARLEY
Malting barley is an unusual bait that is seldom mentioned in print. Brewer’s use it to add flavour, taste and body to their beers. Just chew on a handful and you’ll be hooked. It has a rich, deep malty taste with a hint of sweetness that is almost irresistible. I find myself eating handfuls at a time when I am trying to prepare a bucket full for a fishing trip. Malting barley is grown throughout the UK but different varieties are grown in winter, spring and summer. In addition there are regional variations. However, some of the best malting barleys come from special maltsters who cater for the real ale trade. These folks are often pretty tight lipped about how and from where they obtain their malting barley but don’t despair. Haith’s can supply in 25kg bags.
As a viable alternative to the traditional mass baits like hempseed, groats and the dari seeds, malting barley is well worth your consideration. It is simple to prepare and easy to use, but bear in mind what I said at the beginning about it being pretty filling. Unless you are fishing for a big head of carp that you know are all likely to shoal up and feed together, you should err on the side of caution when baiting up.
When malting barley is prepared correctly all the starch turns to sugar producing an intense natural sweetness that carp find very attractive. I prepare it in much the same way as I do hempseed:
• Soak the barley for at least 24 hours in water to which 250g of sugar has been added. (Dissolve the sugar first in boiling water then top up with cold.)
• Transfer the grains and the water in which it has been soaking to a large saucepan.
• Bring the water to the boil.
• Once the water is boiling turn down the heat and simmer for about five minutes.
• Now turn off the heat and transfer the boiling water and the barley to a large sealable bucket.
• Place the lid on the bucket to create an airtight seal and allow the water to cool.
• As soon as the water has cooled completely the bait is ready for use.
I looked at peanuts a couple of months ago and since that article appeared I have been asked a number of time if the use of peanuts as a carp bait is ethical. In fact I was loath to even mention peanuts back then as they do have a certain reputation. However, they are a highly effective carp bait when used responsibly. In other words, SPARINGLY.
Used sensibly there is no reason why peanuts should not have a long and successful catching life but as I say, err on the side of caution. Before I go any further, I just bang the drum a bit more for my dear old chum SuperRed, which by my own design contains a small proportion of peanut kernels to add that extra kick!
As is the case with tiger nuts, a kilo of dry peanuts is ample for a 48-hour session. No need to go mad with them! Please refer to the previous article for preparation advice.
So there you have it…My Top Ten particles baits. Any one of them will produce results but always remember whenever you use particles to prepare them correctly.
Maples are probably the most under-rated of particles. They are especially effective when exuding this gooey, glutinous liquid.
I don’t think adding a flavour takes anything away from maples’ their effectiveness…but nor does it add anything either!
Beef stock cubes add a salty flavour to the maples.
A beautiful UK common caught on a single maple pea over a sparse scattering of free offerings (maples).
Chickpeas are one of the most popular particle baits and carp simply adore eating them.
A simple rig baited with a couple of chickpeas and fished over a carpet of Red Band will score every time.
I have done very well using chickpeas soaked in stock cubes of various kinds.
Don’t forget, tinned peas can be just as effective!
Black-eyed beans have been absolutely instant wherever I have fished them so there is no need to prebait.
I am particularly keen on spice flavours when flavouring black-eyed beans.
As a viable alternative to the traditional mass baits like hempseed, groats and the dari seeds, malting barley is well worth your consideration.
One kilo of dry peanuts is ample for a 48-hour session. No need to go mad with them!