Using tares

Have you ever fished one of those swims where no matter what you did you couldn’t raise a bite? If not, you must be the luckiest angler alive and probably don’t need to read this. More than likely, though, you have experienced this frustrating problem – where bait changes, different hook sizes, line, floats, and even rod and reel meet with the same response – nowt! But there is one thing that you may very well not have tried.

The bait is known to pigeon fanciers as the ‘pigeon pea’. Anglers prefer to call it the ‘tare’- it is in fact a seed. Although it’s a rather unlikely looking bait – a bit like a black pea in appearance – on the right day it can resurrect a dead swim.

The time and place

The great secret with tares is to pick the venue and time of year to suit the bait. Although carp, bream and chub certainly like tares, no species seems to get so thoroughly hooked on them as roach. Small roach have mouths that are roughly the same size as a large tare and have difficulty swallowing the bait. Roach above 4oz don’t have this problem. As a result, the size of tare-caught roach tends to be pretty good.

Look, then, for a venue with a good head of roach above 4oz. Rivers tend to be better than still waters but there are no hard and fast rules.

Why mid-July, August and early September should be the best time for this bait is not clear, but this is certainly when the best catches are taken. A prolonged spell of hot weather – when water levels are low – seems to be particularly good.

Tare tactics

If you are after roach, fish the tare on light tackle – 1-Mb b.s. line is about right. A hook made of wire that is too fine tends to make the bait slightly awkward to hook — cutting through the soft tare – and may well straighten if you hook a good roach. Go for a slightly thicker, fine wire hook in a size 18 or 16. Step the tackle up for bigger species.

Floatfishing works best for this bait. As a general rule the float should be as light as you can get away with. Often it is more effective to fish tares right under the rod tip with a light float than to cast farther with a bigger one — it is surprising how close roach will come.

This filling bait is best reserved mainly for the hook, using hempseed for the bulk of your loosefeed. Feed little and often with the hemp and just occasionally throw two or three tares in

It can take a while for tares to work, so be ‘ patient. Try another bait while you are waiting — giving the tare an occasional go -but whatever you do keep feeding. When the roach arrive bites can be very fast. But if the roach are really feeding you should be able to hit the bites in spite of their quickness. Get them going and you could be on for 20 lb or more.