The pulling power of hemp seed

Bucking the current trend of ground baiting with various mixtures and sizes of pellets, I’ve gone back to a tried and tested method that still lands lots of fish, the humble hemp seed.

It’s cheap, easy to prepare and so effective, some fisheries still have it on their ‘banned baits’ list.

You can buy ready prepared hemp seed, cooked in the tin, from all tackle dealers.

There are a quite few variations available, with different added ingredients such as chilli flakes, but quite honestly, the seed alone is good enough.

But it couldn’t be easier to cook your own hemp seed, simply pour the seed into a big pan, cover with water and bring to the boil.

Make sure you don’t let the pan boil dry, as once happened to me late one night, the smell lingers for a very long time and doesn’t win you any ‘brownie points’ from other family members.

Once brought to the boil, simmer until tiny white shoots start to appear from the kernels, then drain the seeds and save the water, its full of flavour and oils, ideal for mixing with brown crumb.

You’ll find the cooked hemp seed has turned from its natural colour to black, with a tiny white shoot appearing from the ‘split’ in the kernel.

It can be bagged up and frozen or ideally, used straight away. The boiling ‘liquor’ will also freeze.

Some of the old angling books say hemp seed can be prepared in a thermos flask, but it’s never worked for me.

Fishing for roach, a little and often approach is best, with just a few grains fed into the swim every put in. When fishing for barbel, I use a bait dropper to get plenty down to the bottom. Check out the Fox bait droppers, they work a treat.

Don’t bother trying to hook the seeds; I use an artificial rubber ‘grain’ available from Enterprise Tackle. But if you do have the patience (and dexterity), pierce the seed with a baiting needle and carefully thread onto the hook. Another method is to superglue a few grains onto a small piece of rubber band and then thread the band onto the hook.