Proof that fishing bait can be genuinely addictive! Hemp seed is one of the most effective and well-known fishing baits; so find out why this is and how to exploit this drug-containing bait for the best big fish catches!
In many countries since the 1970's tight controls have stopped the hemp seed phenotypes high in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) being imported. Of the 2 major cannabinoids produced by hemp plants and Cannabis, the THC is the psychoactive molecule found. Note: THC is not anywhere near as addictive as other habit-forming substances such as cocaine, nicotine or opiates (as in cocoa, milk casein-containing products or poppy seeds, for example. )
The difference between hemp and Cannabis plants has been categorized by the chemical levels and make-up of the cannabinoids produced (i. e. their chemical phenotype. ) This refers to the total levels of THC produced by a strain and of the ratio of its non-psychoactive cannabinoid called cannabidiol, when compared to levels present of the active cannabinoid; THC. This is mainly influenced by genetic differences even though total cannabinoid production can be influenced by the environment in which they are grown as with many other plants. It cannot be determined as yet whether hemp and Cannabis plants constitute different species or one genus as the exact definition of a species itself in this case is apparently not known.
In Europe Cannabis sativa has been commonly grown for centuries and used much for its multitudinous fibre uses. The form grown in India (Cannabis indica) has been known for having better psychoactive properties and although Cannabis is also found in China and Vietnam, Russia and Afghanistan too for example, there has been great difficulty in assigning correct plants categorisation overall. Bearing in mind that cultivated plants and wild plants can have miniscule differences; some scientists have attempted to propose different hemp or Cannabis species and subspecies.
It might seem that both indica and sativa species have both wild and cultivated forms and some escaped cultivated forms too. Each form can have more fibre or drug related properties which very much confuses things. But the latest advanced tests conclude there is just one species, but with geological and chemical extract differences; like that of the levels of sesquiterpene alcohols present for instance.
Today the THC content of hemp seed (the high inducing part) allowed into the UK (and many other countries for industrial uses) is far lower than 30 years ago for example. But still the available strains can cause impactful habit-forming fish feeding behaviour. (You just need to use more to get more effects; non-drug hemp plants contain higher levels of cannabidiol as opposed to THC. ) However, the feeding behaviour of carp feeding on hemp alone can be detrimental and can produce a situation where any other bait is ignored.
I cannot help recalling Rod Hutchinson's success on Redmire using hempseed by using it on the hair and constantly soaking, cooking and introducing hemp seed as free offerings to keep up a feeding frenzy in the swim. It seems most likely that the hemp seed he used then had a higher level of psychoactively active THC, but hemp used today still works wonders to produce a feeding frenzy.
The brain can become resistant to the most active part of hemp i. e. the cannabinoids, so it does pay to use it in moderation in combination with other baits which also helps to wean fish onto other bait items such as those used as larger hook baits for instance. However hemp seed certainly does have certain mental and psychological effects when consumed in enough quantities!
Just to point out more of the big differences between hemp seed for carp and Cannabis plants leaves, buds and flowers: THC is mostly secreted in a resin type substance by epidermal hairs called glandular trichomes. Trichomes on plants are epidermal outgrowths of various kinds and this is where much of the cannabinoids and alkaloids are situated being of interest to those into the drug marijuana. These substances are concentrated in the sepals or green parts of plants found just under the more familiar coloured petals.
There is a big difference between giving carp cooked hemp seed (or raw hemp seed protein powder in a boilie with hemp seed oil, ) compared to giving them actual dried bud or flower extracts; like those in the form of resin, marijuana, hashish or hashish oil or other extracts for example!
Hemp is farm produced for commercial and even medicinal uses nearly everywhere in the world, but for the USA, where insignificant wild low THC level, feral hemp grows as a weed. (Neighbouring Canada exports huge amounts of commercially grown hemp seed. ) This is very ironical now. Considering even USA founding fathers; George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew the plant as cultivated crops and even the first American paper mill used hemp in its production and was run by Benjamin Franklin. . .
Cannabis is now classified with hops in the hemp group, the alkaloids in hop flowers giving the special qualities of beer for instance. The terpeno-phenolic compounds of hemp and Cannabis provide the most familiar drug-like properties from the substances called cannabinoids. In fact in carp baits there are very many phenolic-alkaloid and terpene compounds (among many others) from plant extracts which have proven exceptionally effective, which I have uncovered extensively regarding making and improving fishing baits and are in my other writings. (I trained professionally for many years as a commercial horticulturalist and grower. )
THC is one of the 2 generally most abundant cannabinoid substances in hemp as in marijuana, the other being the precursor to THC; cannabidiol. The effects of these substances includes the habit-forming feeding behaviours, (significant fish feeding stimulation, ) boosting of the immune system and certain anxiety reduction and pain relief effects too. Obviously an experienced wary carp feeding in a relaxed state is far easier to catch! (It should be noted though that the smoking of the related cannabis actually delivers harmful substances too which are kept quiet and cause damage to the cells of the human respiratory tract. . . )
Hempseed cannabinoids are detected via specialised receptors as are many other substances by receptors in and on fish, but some the effects are not dependant on these receptors at all. Hempseed contains active enzymes as well as the cannabinoids which are extremely stimulatory to carp. Hemp contains edistin protein of an exceptionally high quality and is high in gamma linolenic acid which is essential to carp and a proven feeding trigger in itself.
In fact, in regards plant protein sources in nature, hemp protein is second only to soya in protein content (although de-fatted peanut products are close. ) But hemp contains none of the anti-digestive and anti-enzymic chemicals soya or peanuts have; making it especially ideal for baits used in low winter temperatures when carp digestive enzymes activity is very much reduced. (Many experienced bait buffs do not use soya at all due to its detrimental effects upon digestion and the digestive tract as a whole. )
There are also many antioxidant properties associated with very much of the constituents of hemp; from its vitamin E content and other vitamins, to omega oils 3 and 6 polyunsaturated fats content. Cold-pressed hemp seed oil is an extremely well-proven and versatile bait additive and can be mixed with other oils to help thin them. Sesame seed oil and hemp oil is a great stimulating nutritional alternative oil mixture. Mixing hemp seed oil with tuna oil or pure salmon oil for example, with added lecithins, produces a completely different to the norm nutritionally stimulating liquid flavour additive!
Hemp contains stimulatory chlorophyll and very useful dietary fibre which assists the digestive process in part by promoting the movement of food through the gut by muscular peristalsis, among other effects. Compared to grains like wheat and pulses like beans and peas, the levels of one or more amino acids are insufficient for carp needs. However, hemp protein supplies enough of each of the essential amino acids to contribute to carp body's requirements. Hemp protein powder as such is normally 50 percent protein or more, depending upon fat and fibre content and quality of the product and its production methods etc.
Hemp protein is very digestible and a proportion of it is albumin (as in eggs, ) but eggs are less digestible by comparison. Not only this but hemp protein has an analysis that is similar to blood products, and lysine content is good which means it is very useful in balanced nutrition boilies for example, as lysine content is the significant marker for protein amino acid profiling. Very often in carp baits, the first limiting amino acid which prevents the utilisation of further bait protein amino acids is lysine.
An important aspect of hemp protein is that it is a quality source of the amino acids arginine and histidine and of the sulphur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which are needed in the production of vital enzymes. Hemp protein also contains relatively high levels of the branched-chain amino acids that are crucial in the repair and growth of lean body mass. This is obviously a good thing for balanced health of fish and for promoting the long-term stimulatory effects of other nutritious ingredients you might use in making homemade boilies etc.
Hemp seed is the ideal size for inducing the naturally predominate particulate forms of carp feeding. Hemp seed mimics the natural seeds, snails and small particle size food items carp filter feed upon naturally. They can filter and extract the seeds by adjusting the gape of their specially adapted gill rakers, crushing the seeds at the back of the throat and utilise the rushing and cleansing of water through the gills too. This rushing produces attractive particles which scatter out of the back of the gills out into the water and can induce further intense feeding by other fish. Other fish may be tempted by the noises of the crushing sounds in the water, food and silt particles being scattered and clouding the water, hemp oils and general fish activity in a swim. This provides for us fishermen very intense and prolonged carp feeding as every rich individual grain is sought-out!
Hemp cooked with aniseed oil has been a proven winner as background free feed offering for decades, keeping fish in a swim for long periods. This feed increases the chances of hooking a fish while not feeding the fish until they are satiated and stop feeding or leave the area before you get a take! The activity of rooting out every single piece of hempseed causes a thermogenic effect because it is possible that these seeds take as much energy to find and actually process and digest as they eventually provide within the fish's system.
You can use hemp in mixtures with many other seeds including Niger seeds, sesame seeds, coconut, crushed tiger nuts, crushed peanuts, cracked corn (maize), sweetcorn and many others besides. These can all be alternatively flavoured and coloured to improve effect and make them different to the usual form of baits anglers may have used previously and provide a very significant edge. Hemp cooked in chilli powder is very stimulatory to carp, (and from range too. ) Hemp can be cooked in all kinds of additives from a range of spices like fennel and fenugreek powder, to tuna oil or even salmon oil for instance, to produce hemp that is generally less of a threat (being new to pressured carp. )
The fact now is that hempseed is pretty much a natural food in many busy carp fisheries, because so much is used as part of boilie recipes and ground baits. In common with most super food carp bait ingredients and flavour components, the amazing impact and effects of its potent antioxidant free-radical effects can produce amazing captures of fish. The hemp seed antioxidant providing immunity, health and metabolism boosting properties are a study in natural healing and peak nutrition. It is frequently the foods with the most antioxidant effects which most stimulates feeding instincts of so many organisms; including fish and animals. . .
To effectively fish hemp seed on the hook you can use a very small hook like a size 18, but your chances of netting a big fish on such a hook are low! Incidentally there certain variations in sizes of hemp seed and of course, like other seeds, you can select out larger individual seeds for the purpose of hooking, but again this is not really an adequate solution; who has the inclination or time to do this?! You can now obtain a glue-like inert product which sticks seeds together called Bogey, and use a ball of such seeds as a hook bait on a hair or directly on the hook.
A great method commonly used in the past in the UK was to super-glue seeds onto individual hairs on the hook and this was very effective. But it seems that speed and time take precedence today, but I have no objection to exploiting this rig format, utilising multi-stranded hook links, soluble polyvinyl alcohol glue and superglue. (But there is far more you can do with hemp products than meets the eye!)
If you really want to exploit hemp you can produce an homemade boilie made primarily from crushed and shelled seeds and hemp protein powder, (plus a binder, ) and also readymade base mixes are available from bait companies (with varying nutritional effects. )
Plastic or rubber imitation hemp has its uses on a hair rig. These may be used on their own or in conjunction with actual hemp seeds. This is similar to using tiger nuts and plastic and rubber boilies and pellets etc. Rigs using real and artificial hemp and chopped tiger nuts and hemp seed can fool tricky rig-wise fish. Even hemp flavours are available for making or adapting boilies and so on (From Richworth for example, ) but why pay so much for a small bottle when you can easily make your own totally unique homemade versions?
Hemp is obviously a very popular bait and used as ground bait very frequently for carp and other species too. Using pellets made from whole hemp and crushed hemp seed is great as it provides the advantages of all the nutritional stimulation and oily attraction this provides. Significantly, this does not fill the fish up and this is especially useful and important in cold water fishing scenarios. The impact of fishing over a carpet of dissolving crushed hemp pellets and marine halibut pellets of various sizes is well worth exploiting too. Although many fish species are attracted to hemp seed this can be a great bonus in exploiting this activity upon free offerings to draw into the swim the bigger fish.
You can use hemp seed and crushed hemp seed products in combinations with many other baits, from maggots, worms and meats, to shellfish, other particle baits, and a variety of pellets and boilies. The only limit to the use of hemp seed is your imagination and the particular fishing problems you may be faced with. For instance, few anglers use shelled hempseed soaked in oils in PVA bags for instance. Few anglers use hemp pellets in combination with corn steep liquor pellets (sheep nuts) for instance either, but the possibilities are endless!
* How to cook hemp and related baits:
It helps to run cold water through hemp seed initially before soaking to remove impurities such as dust and stalks etc. Simply soak seeds in a clean container with water for 24 hours before cooking. When soaked, you may need to add more water so you have twice the amount of water as seeds, (preferably in a large covered pan, ) as the hemp you are going to cook.
Hemp absorbs a surprising amount of water, so do follow this formula: For example, allow an inch of hemp in the pan; this requires at least an inch of water again above it in the pan. This water level may need increasing if you intend to flavour your hemp with anything which also absorbs liquid; such as spices and you can add sugar, salt etc too. And remember that water is lost by evaporation not just absorption, so do avoid burning your hemp and the bottom of your pan by keeping an eye on water levels and stirring helps prevent this. (Hemp is very quickly and easily burnt and pans easily ruined, by not adding enough water initially and stirring in my opinion is very helpful for even cooking too. )
Depending upon how much hemp compared to water you have, and the heating temperature setting you use, it can take anything from around 10 to 20 plus minutes for the majority of your hemp to cook through and split; revealing the white proteinous kernel.
Once your hemp is split, you can take the pan off the heat at once to cool off. Oils and much highly nutritional juices are released during cooking which form a very stimulating additive to use in your ground baits! You can use hemp immediately or store it in bags in the fridge, or freeze it for longer-term future use.
It is a useful tip to prepare different versions of prepared hemp, perhaps some with a solvent based flavour like Tutti Fruitti, some with a natural acidic flavour such as apple juice, some in a fish stimulatory condiment such as ketchup or vinegar, anchovy source, or even yeast extract or Bovril perhaps; the list is endless. This way you can adjust the acidy or alkalinity of your bait too. (However, there are many much more potent substances to exploit for this purpose. . . )
Here is how to prepare 2 other great carp baits you might very likely wish to fish in conjunction with hemp seed or hemp seed products:
These are extremely underrated baits. Treat as for hemp but add a couple of teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda to aid the cooking process. Stop cooking between 10 and 20 minutes time before they get too soft and split as this will turn your tares into mushy peas! To make ready, put your tares into cold water immediately and use, or freeze them in order to keep them at exactly the right consistency of softness until use.
* Tiger nuts:
Fill a container two thirds with water after soaking the tiger nuts (or chufas) for 24 hours. Boil them for at least 20 minutes and then allow them to cool and drain them off. Save your drained-off cooking water for ground bait as with hemp cooking juices. You can add cocoa powder and brown sugar and an intense sweetener to make an alternative bait, but there are many more potent methods to use which will exploit the various food detecting carp receptors to induce very much more intensive feeding indeed! Again, carp are known to seek out every nut and even repeatedly consume and crush tiger nuts particles again and again and these can certainly be addictive in effect too. . .
This fishing bait secrets book author has many more fishing and bait edges; just one could impact very significantly on your catches!
By Tim Richardson.
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Tim Richardson is a homemade carp and catfish bait maker and proven big fish angler. His unique bait making and enhancing fishing secrets guides are catching big fish for readers in 45 countries so get yours NOW!