THE NUTTY PROFESSOR
We join particle professor Bryan Jarrett for an education in nuts
NUTS have divided opinion for years. Vilified by many, loved by others, plenty of anglers are uncertain about using them.
Bryan Jarrett has no such qualms, despite the bad press nuts sometimes get.
True, in times gone by the use of badly prepared particles (of all types, not just nuts) or anglers piling in kilos and kilos of them did have a detrimental effect.
Now, with every bait manufacturer offering fully prepared offerings, these dangers have been put to the sword. “I love nuts as a carp bait,” Bryan told us. “They seem to catch the more wary fish, those that have been hammered on boilies – I believe that carp just love to eat them.”
To find out more about these contentious baits and how the current partner of Hinders Fishing Superstore uses them, we joined Bryan at Chad Lakes (www. chadlakes.co.uk) in the Cotswolds.
WHY DO CARP LOVE NUTS?
Rock-hard, and with no discernible smell compared to a boilie, nuts don’t seem to bring much to the carp-fishing party.
But once the fish get on to them and take that first bite, they crave more and more. Whether it is the crunch or the fact they are packed with oils that makes them so moreish, no-one really knows.
“A wholly natural offering packed with milky, creamy oils and a crunch factor seems to create the ultimate taste combination,” Bryan explained.
“Even though they don’t have an obvious smell like pellets or boilies, I have in the past thrown half-a-dozen tigers, with one on the hook, into the margins before climbing a tree. Very often I will see carp approach and their body language suddenly changes, as if they are immediately turned on. A run tends to follow very shortly afterwards!”
WHAT ARE THE BEST NUTS?
The choice of nuts is legion, but in fishing terms not all nuts are created equal. Bryan’s favourites are listed here.
1 Tiger nuts (Cyperus esculentus) – These are the number one nut of choice for many carp anglers. Available in a variety of different guises – chilli, black, mini, monster, crushed and flavoured – they have been instrumental in the downfall of more than their fair share of specimen carp.
Readily available pre-prepared from all tackle shops, they have never been easier to use. If you prefer to prepare your own, though, the best way is to soak them for 24 hours before bringing them to the boil and simmering for 45 to 60 minutes. The whole mixture is then transferred into a bucket and left to cool.
“They will be fine for a few weeks, but if you want to keep them for more than a month, I’d freeze them,” Bryan added.
2 Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) – Not technically a nut (they’re a legume), but peanuts are a brilliant carp bait that’s hugely under-used and under-rated.
The one problem with peanuts is that when the carp get on them they can become preoccupied. The trouble now is that their
weights can drop, as they don’t get enough nutrients from a pure nut diet.
“I now use them either crushed, so I can add them to a stick or PVA bag mix, or even better, put them in a mesh bag and place this bag in with my soaking hemp,” Bryan explained.
“I then cook the hemp and peanuts together, so all the taste, flavours oils and attractors from the nuts transfer into the hemp. So, even if peanuts or nuts as a whole are banned, you can still use their attractors.
“It’s been one of my little secret bait edges for many years!”
3 Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa) – Yet another ‘under the radar’ hookbait, Brazil nuts are also seriously under used.
The great thing about Brazils is that they often float, which means you have a natural pop-up.
They can then be used plain or dipped in flavouring but it’s best to take them bitter skin off them first.
“I don’t tend to use brazils much these days as the harvesting process is much better, so the pickers tend to get less broken nuts, which were so much cheaper to buy in bulk,” Bryan said.
FISHING WITH NUTS
There is a massive misconception that because tigers, for example, come in a large jar, you have to feed handfuls of them. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For his spod mix – used on large or deep venues – Bryan will only add around six to eight to a couple of handfuls each of peanutcooked hemp, frozen corn and a nut-based mix, like Hinders’ Nutz.
“I like to mix my spod mix to a slurry. This means that when it is spodded, I can fish a zig rig in the resultant cloud for an hour or so,” he explained.
“If no bites are forthcoming, I will replace the zig with a simple six-inch blowback rig fished hard on the deck.”
To add extra attraction and pulling power to his nut hookbait, Bryan will place the rig into a solid PVA bag containing some of his crushed nut mix and a little tiger nut slime.
“The carp know they can’t charge about over a light mix of crushed nuts, so they tend to sit over the top of it, slurping down the free feed,” Bryan told us.
“My tiger nut hookbait always has a cork plug inserted so it is neutrally buoyant. This means it is easily sucked up and the carp are nailed.”
THE MAGIC OF BETALIN!
Now in its 16th year, Betalin is one of those additives that has taken particle fishing by storm.
An intense natural sweetener, dipping your hookbait prior to casting or soaking your particle in 2ml to 3ml of the stuff can make a world of difference to a standard particle mix.
“It took us a long time to get the formula right, but now it has cemented its place as a great carp-fishing additive,” Bryan said.
“It is something I’d never be on the bank without.
“If you have never tried fishing with nuts before, I thoroughly recommend you give them a go. Their pulling power can be quite exceptional.”
Shrivelled dry tiger nuts (left) turn into an absolutely brilliant carp bait once properly prepared (right).