Hemp seed is loved by all course fish and is powerful fish attractor. To make dry hemp seeds safe for fish to eat, they must first be soaked and cooked. There are several ways to prepare hemp for fishing, but I prefer to stew mine as follows.
Prepare hemp for fishing
- Cover the dry seeds in cold water and leave to soak for 24 hours.
- The next day, put the seeds along with the water into a pan. Simmer them for 20 to 40 minutes until the kernels split, showing the white interior.
- When ready, douse the seeds in cold water to halt the cooking process.
Quantity to cook
Hemp seeds only expand by about 10% when cooked, a pint of dry seeds will result in just over a pint of prepared bait. It’s worth preparing several pints at a time, then bag up and freeze some for later trips.
It’s difficult to recommend how much hemp you should take fishing, but a pint is a good starting point. More than a pint may be needed in the summer, but come the winter half a pint could be too much.
Hemp for the hook
If you intend using hemp on the hook, pick out a few dozen seeds that have begun to split, but are not yet fully opened. Mount the bait by either pressing the bend of the hook into the split, or by piercing the back of the seed with a pin, then passing the hook through and out of the split. Either way, make sure the hard shell of the seed does not cover the hook point. An easier complimentary hookbait to use with hemp are tares. Tares look similar to hemp, but have a soft skin once cooked making them easy to hook.
Hemp as feed
Hemp is an outstanding loose-feed that I believe works best on rivers and natural waters. It’s easy to handle, it can be thrown, catapulted or added to groundbait and is not at all messy. Hemp can be mixed with and compliment small baits like casters, corn and cubes of meat.
Not quite an additive, but a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda added to the water when stewing will make the hemp darker in colour. Chili powder, turmeric or perhaps a favourite glug can be added to cooked hemp, or you can do as I do and use it as it is.
Preparing hemp for fishing is easy, just soak and simmer. Hemp is available from tackle shops, feed merchants and on-line. It’s an excellent loose-feed which fish find very attractive. Individual seeds can be used on the hook, but most anglers prefer to use more convenient hookbait such as tares, caster, maggots, or corn. A little time spent stinking the house out to prepare hemp is a small price to pay for such a potent fish attractor.
Best of luck.