Thursday, 27 November 2008

Tiger Nuts for Carp


I first started using tiger nuts around 1995. At the time I had no idea they were such an outstanding carp bait, in fact, it took me quite a while to pluck up the courage to actually use them. It was a chance happening on a local north west carp water that convinced me to give them a go. I just happened to be sitting talking to a carp angler when his rod screamed off and after a good fight he netted a half decent carp, it was then I noticed the tiger nut hanging from the carps mouth. After chatting to him and enquiring about the tiger nuts, he convinced me they were worth a go. I look back now and laugh, even when I cast out my first ever tiger nut rig I still wasn’t convinced they were any good for catching carp!. I reckon I waited about an hour for my first ever run on a tiger nut, I couldn’t quite believe it when the rod actually screamed off, for me, that first session success began a long association with this superb carp bait, a bait I'm still catching carp on today!.

If I could choose just one carp bait to fish with for the rest of my life it would be tiger nuts. I'm not sure why they are such a good bait, maybe it's their sweetness, or that carp like to 'crunch' on them, probably a bit of both, one things for sure, I'd put tiger nuts up against any boilie you can think of, and they will perform very favorably.

How to prepare tiger nuts for carp fishing, click to watch!

If you’re planning to use tiger nuts, you should make sure that you prepare them correctly, as they are very hard. When you buy them, you will notice that they are dehydrated, they need to be soaked for at least 24hrs. During this time, they will take on water and swell to their normal size. Once soaked, they should be boiled for at least 30 minutes, this is to soften them a bit. I don't think they will soften any more than this so there's not much point in boiling them any longer. Once boiling is completed, they can be left in the same water to cool. It's just a case of take them to the lake and use them once they are prepared!. Some people prefer to leave their tigers at this stage, as, after a while, they will begin to ferment. They do smell a bit when they reach this stage, some people swear by their effectiveness when left to ferment, personally, I like mine fresh and will use them within 3 days of preparation.

Dry Tiger Nuts, Soak them for 24 hours then boil for 30 minutes.



For presentation, I like to fish tiger nuts on a hair rig using a knotless knot set up. I cut a piece of cork to the shape of a tiger nut and use that as the top half of a snowman hook bait, that is, the cork sits on top of the tiger nut to pop it up. It's then just a case of balancing the rig with a bit of putty, so that it sinks very slowly. This has been a superb presentation for me over the years and I've taken many carp using it. You should not worry about the cork being on top of the tiger nut, the fish can't tell one way or the other. I usually put a few pieces of cork in with my prepared tiger nuts, that way, they soak in some of the juices from the nuts.

Tiger nut carp rig, fish as a pop up or trim the cork to size so the bait just sinks with the weight of the hook.


22lb 6oz Capesthorne Hall Carp caught on the snowman tiger nut presentation, this carp is an upper 20 these days.


The last word on tigers goes to bait application, this bait should be used sparingly. Usually just a pouch full or two along with your hook bait is more than enough whilst fishing. I tend to put more tiger nuts in when I’m actually leaving the lake, not many though, on most waters I won’t introduce more than a pound or two of tiger nuts in any one go. On rivers like the dee and the weaver I use a lot more as river carp can be very nomadic and I know there is no chance of over using tiger nuts in an open river system. Over-use of tiger nuts can be a bad thing and can cause what's known as 'tiger nut syndrome'. These baits contain very little in the way of nutrition for carp yet the carp can become totally pre-occupied with them to the point were they will just eat tiger nuts and nothing else, neglecting both natural food and anglers boilies. This can result in weight loss and in extreme cases death for the carp so please use them sparingly. I believe this is why they are banned on some carp waters, because some people don't have the common sense to use them properly!. Thankfully bans are not necessary on most waters and if you use them correctly, they will work for years with no ill effects for the carp.

Still catching on tigers, last weeks river dee carp fell to one!


Should you wish, you can always buy tiger nuts that are already prepared, bait companies like dynamite sell tinned tiger nuts and these are ideal if you are a first time user of this excellent carp bait.

Tight Lines
Mark.

17 comments:

  1. What would you suggest as feed for tigers on the hook? I was thinking a few tigers and hemp?

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  2. Hi Matt, hemp is an excellent bait to use with tiger nuts, like tigers themselves hemp can easily be overfed but with a different result. The carp get preoccupied with the hemp and ignore your tiger nut hookbait!.
    I've had this happen to me several times and when I use tigers and hemp in combination I feed the hemp sparingly, just a few pouchfuls in the catty then top up with a few more after each fish.
    A superb alternative to hemp is groats, groats take flavours really well and if you soak them in the water/juice that your tiger nuts are in they are fantastic!.
    I have a blog post about the use of groats and tigers together and you can find it via the 'quick post finder', its worth a read if your looking for an alternative to hemp but at the end of the day both hemp and groats are both superb and I'd be happy to use either of them with tiger nuts fished over the top.
    Mark.

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  3. Very intresting and just wondering but can raw tiger nuts posion and even kill a fish???

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  4. Yes mate raw tiger nuts can kill fish. In their raw form tigers are de-hydrated, this is why we soak them for at least 24hrs and then boil them for 30 minutes to get them as soft as possible. If you fed unprepared nuts to a carp they would swell up in the carps gut and kill it, the nuts themselves can reach 2 or 3 times their de-hydrated size!.
    Some nuts can also be poisonous but thankfully they are rare. The way to avoid poisonous tiger nuts is to only buy nuts that are fit for human consumption. Tiger nuts for human consumption do not have the poisonous aflatoxins that cause problems for our carp. If you are ever in doubt about tiger nuts you have bought, bin them off and get them from a reputable source like Hinders of Swindon or maybe a health food shop, at least then you'll know your nuts are safe.
    Mark.

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  5. hi great read thanks , ive just prepared a kilo of tigers [jumbo] soaked and boiled i noticed you can use groats with tigers what about chickpeas? [mabie with the chicks soaked in the tiger juice]? any help would be much appreciated,also would a fake tiger do just as well as cork to balence the snowman rig mentioned above...thanks colin w .

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  6. Hi Colin, I've used tiger nuts and chick peas together in the past and caught well. I'm not sure if the two go together as well as tigers and groats though, if I had to pick one combination I'd pick the tigers and groats every time.
    Regarding the fake tiger nuts, they work just as well as cork but they are a bit of a rip off. Fake tiger nuts cost a couple of quid for just 5 and a couple of quids worth of wine corks from boots goes a lot further!.
    Thanks for the comments.
    Mark.

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  7. hi mark many thanks sir, tight lines ...colin.

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  8. Hi Mark, tigernuts are my favourite bait as well. I tend to pair them with maples.
    Do you use them in winter?

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  9. Hi Neil, no mate I don't use tiger nuts in winter. I know some people say they work but that hasn't been my experience, I usually give up using tigers after October. I usually switch to boilie, pellets or maize during the winter.

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  10. Hi Mark, I have heard the same as well, but generally switch to boilies for the winter
    My local lake contains a lot of silver fish. What size pellet would you recommend for pre-baiting?

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  11. I use 14mm halibut pellets myself Neil but my water has very little in the way of silver fish. I've done surprising well in winter on halibuts despite their high oil content. This year I've switched to Hinders 'Elips' pellets in 10mm size. I origonally bought them for barbel fishing but the carp love them and I'll be giving the elips pellets a try this winter. Not sure I'd use either of these pellets on a lake full of roach and bream though!. If I had a nuisance fish problem I'd stick with a boilie!.

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  12. Hi Mark
    not sure I can afford to pre-bait through the winter with just boilies
    My local lake is in St. Helens, have you ever fished there?

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  13. Sorry Neil never fished out that way before, I live in Wirral and I'd get done for tunnel money each way before I even start so I'd never even consider fishing round the St Helens area.
    If your struggling with the prebaiting I'd go for Maize, it's cheap and it has a proven track record, I usually feed Maize myself when it's cold, I've more confidence in it than tiger nuts when winter has set in.

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  14. Can you use pre cooked sinned Tigers directly on you hook like a puff for pay lakes

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    1. you can use pre cooked or tinned tigers no problem but they are too hard to put straight on the hook, its best to put them on a hair rig like the one in the picture above.

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  15. Can you use pre cooked sinned Tigers directly on you hook like a puff for pay lakes

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    1. hi jim, you can use pre cooked or tinned tigers no problem but they are too hard to put straight on the hook, its best to put them on a hair rig like the one in the picture above.

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