Seeds as bait are cheap, easy to prepare and have accounted for some fine fish. Apart from sweetcorn, tares and wheat, rice and hempseed have achieved popularity with coarse fishermen.
Seed baits are apparently baits of fad and fashion. Those in current vogue with non-specialist anglers are sweetcorn, tares and as an en-ticer or feed-bait, hempseed.
Most seeds will tempt fish and most are prepared for the hook in a similar way. It pays to soak seeds overnight in cold water after first washing the hard grains. Then they are placed in a saucepan and again covered with water which is brought to the boil and left to simmer gently for a particular length of time, decided by the kind of seed.
Correct timing is very important. Undercooked seed baits are too hard for any fish to mouth. Over siderably in preparation and an overfull flask is liable to explode.
Seed baits are best cooked just before you set off to fish. Hempseed, in particular, is ready for use as both groundbait and hookbait by the time an angler has carried it to the waterside in a vaccuum flask and set up his tackle. Don’t throw away the water left in the flask—mix it with a cereal groundbait so that its scent complements the bait.
Groundbaiting is best done by mixing a few grains of hemp with the well scented cereal, then introducing the mixture at frequent intervals. This method invariably produces an earlier response than simply feeding with loose handfuls of bait.
Seed baits are enjoying renewed popularity after a decline during the past decade. Their re-emergence is due mainly to the restless search by carp anglers for new baits. Anglers like Ron Felton, Bill Walkden, Gerry Savage and Kevin Clifford have been using dozens of types of exotic-sounding seeds.
Wheat is an unjustifiably neglected bait these days. During the harvest, from August to September, it is deadly along rivers which pass through corn fields. It accounts for roach, chub, barbel and carp.
To prepare wheat, wash it first in a colander to remove all the chaff. Leave to soak overnight then bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and allow the seed to stew until the husk just splits. Once again, wheat is a filling bait, so tend toward underfeeding rather than overfeeding.
Rice can be a good switch bait for roach and chub. Choose the long-grained variety of Patna or American rice, and to prepare, boil until just soft. Rice can also be used as a groundbait additive for flavour and for use as a binder, as can semolina, barley and sago. Pearl barley is another useful switch bait which should be prepared in the same way as rice.