.......... Particle Baits - How to prepare and use some of the best carp baits available ..........

Particle baits, which include practically every seed, bean, pea or nut, can be every bit as successful a carp catcher as the most expensive boilie. What is more, with the vast majority of them, success is much more instant. 

Some of the most widely used particles are;

  • tiger nuts -------------  Preperation - Soak for 24 hrs & boil for 30 mins.
  • peanuts ---------------  Preperation - Soak for 12 hrs & boil for 30 mins.
  • sweetcorn ------------  Preperation - Straight from tin or bag, keep in own juice.
  • maize ------------------ Preperation - Soak for 24 hours & boil for 30 min.
  • chic peas -------------  Preperation - Soak for 12 hours & boil for 30 mins.
  • black-eyed beans ---- Preperation - Soak for 12 hours & boil for 30 mins.
  • hemp ------------------  Preperation - Soak for 12 hours & boil until split.
  • tares ------------------  Preperation - Soak for 12 hours & boil for 30 mins.
  • dari -------------------  Preperation - Soak for 12 hours & boil for 30 mins.
  • broad beans ---------  Preperation - Soak for 12 hours & boil for 30 mins.
  • almonds --------------  Not sure about this one - Anyone?
  • hazel nuts -----------   Preperation - Soak for 24 hours & boil for 30 minutes
  • maples peas ----------  Preperation - Soak for 12 hours & boil for 30 mins.
  • Partiblend ------------ Preperation - Boil for 1 minute.

For those that still remain cautious of preparing their own particles they can be purchased ready to use from the likes of Hinders or you can buy Dynamite prepared particles from most good fishing stores.

All of these particle baits have, and still do, catch lots of carp.

There are drawbacks to particles in that none, with the possible exception of tiger nuts, are selective. The more that go in a water, the more other species get turned on to them. In fact other species need only have tuned on to one or two particle baits before they go for any new ones right from the start. With the first ones used however, it is often carp which are the first onto them.

Maple peas, chic peas, black-eyed beans and peanuts are probably the most widely used and overall, successful, of the particle baits. There are few waters where they will not succeed in the first instance.

Tiger nuts are an exceptional carp catching bait. These nuts are very selective because of their hardness - other species find them difficult to digest. You'll still catch the odd bream and tench but not as often as with most of the other particles. They are very hard to break down, and the chances are any thrown in will stay where they are until they are picked up by carp. A lake may respond to them for several seasons, on a kind of on/off basis. On most waters they are not as instant as say sweetcorn, maize, chic peas, black-eyed beans or peanuts, but once fish are on to them, you can expect great sport. In the past tigers have received 'bad press' because there may come a time when, after heavy feeding on these nuts, a lake will go completely dead for weeks on end, when it seems practically impossible to catch on any bait. I've never experienced this myself so I'm not sure how true it is.

Smaller dark seeds, particularly hemp, can be very effective when fished along side other baits. That is to say, they get carp feeding, but catching them can be a devil of a job, even when you fish hemp hook baits. At other times, hemp will provide a feeding response when carp are quite willing to pick up other baits fished over the hemp. Tares and dari seeds are both likely to give similar responses. Consider allowing them to germinate before you cook them. Germination can usually be achieved by first leaving them out in sunlight in a shallow tray, the seeds being covered in water, for a full day. Then bring them slowly to the boil. Twenty minutes simmering and they are ready to use.

Less widely used, but still effective are broad beans, sweet lupins, almonds and hazel nuts. With nuts it can be very hit and miss. Ones that have been in stock a long time will very likely float, so make sure the ones you buy are fresh. Sweet lupins are not commonly used in the UK but vast numbers of carp have been caught on them, particularly on the continent, where some anglers regard them as the particle supreme.

The most used and universally regarded particle bait would have to be sweetcorn, but there are plenty of others found in tins on the supermarket shelf which can score heavily. Baked beans and red kidney beans to mention a couple.

Always buy good quality particles from a reputable supplier. Some particles, notably peanuts, can be potentially lethal to the fish in certain states. Look for 'human grade' particles and you'll be OK.

On the whole, it can be said that the vast majority of these baits will work to one degree or another, merely soaked and not cooked. It must be said though that cooking produces a better bait, as it releases the full flavour. Cooking breaks down the outer skin allowing the natural oils to escape. Even if you don't cook the particles it is ESSENTIAL you soak them first, it is however important that all particles are boiled to kill any dangerous organisms they may hold and also to prevent germination so just soaking particles before use without boiling in not recommended.
Some particles can swell up alarmingly as they take in water and may bloat to twice their original size. If the carp eats them un-soaked this swelling could take place inside the fish leading to death. In general soak for at least 24 hours but longer in the case of tigers and un-prepared maize, where 48 hours is better. This is the time to add any flavours or additives. 

For small particles like hemp & dari just bring to the boil and then allow them to cool off in the same water, bicarbonate of soda can be added to hemp to make it turn black and help it to split. Harder particles like tiger nuts & peanuts must be soaked for 24 hours and then boiled for 30 minutes, again allowing them to cool off in the same water. I always try to store the particles with as much of the cooking water as possible - it contains a lot of attractive oils. If I'm using a groundbait with the particles, I'll use the water to mix with the groundbait. 

If you're not using the particles straight away they can be frozen at this stage. However, with tigers I like to leave them for 2 to 3 days until they start to ferment. The time depends on air temperature but you'll know when they've 'turned' because the water will go sticky, like syrup. I find them to be at their most effective at this stage.

Additional Flavours
With beans, you generally find the paler the colour, the less the flavour. For this reason, black eyed, soya, haricot and lima beans are generally more successful when flavoured. Soaking them overnight in flavour rather than just cooking them produces better baits. For the most part the darker baits i.e. maples, tares, tiger nuts and hemp have enough natural flavour, so adding flavours is not necessary.  I've used flavours with particles but I can't say I've found it dramatically increases their effectiveness. However, if they've been used un-flavoured extensively on a water it might just add the difference that brings results....... some good particle additives/flavourings worthy of a mention are salt, chilly powder, aniseed, CSL and molasses, all of these can enhance the effectiveness of your particles so they're well worth a try.

You should add flavourings at the soaking stage so that they are drawn into the bait, after that boil the particles up in the same water they they have been soaking in.... a tea spoon or two of salt per kilo is good, 20mils of CSL or/and molasses per kilo is also good, you will need to play with the amounts of other flavorings for yourself but the amounts added when making boilies is a good starting place.

As with boilies pick the right particle for the job. On a hard bottom almost any can be used, but when fishing over silt, either use a very buoyant one or one with large flat sides such as broad beans, lima (butter) beans, red kidney beans or almonds. 

I regard boilie and particle fishing the same - I use the same methods and rigs for both. Particles, just like boilies, are particularly effective as a hook bait when popped off the bottom. To do this you can use a buoyancy aid such as a cork or rig foam, tied just above the particle on a hair, or the centre of the particle itself can be ground out and plugged with one of the said buoyant substances.

Apart from the lack of selectivity, the only other drawback is the lack of distance such baits can be catapulted.

Some of the best baiting methods for particles are spod's, pva bags or stringers though some degree of drying is needed for the last two or soaking in salty water, don't forget that great carp sport can be had in the margins right under your feet at times!

A particularly inventive approach is to make up a standard hook link with bait, then drop this into an ice-lolly former. The rest of the cone is then filled with particles and flavour and the whole lot frozen. The frozen cones can be cast as far as most boilies!

Particles are tremendous baits, and can be fished in most situations, when you put your mind to it.


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