The Tigernut "My Top Bait" - By Dirk Wise
Tigernuts are a superb bait for carp, but do you know how to get the best of them ?
I was asked to write this article for the Carp UK website by Robin, at first he said " just write about anything Carpy " . So as I'm known on the site as a lover of Tigers, thats what I decided to write about. I hope this helps some of you to put a few more biggies on the mat.
Tigernut (cyperus sculentus lativum) or 'Chufa' as it is known in Spanish, is not actually a nut,but a small tuber. It was first discovered 4000 years ago and comes in several varieties,the most common being 'llargueta' (long) and 'gordeta' (round).
Tigernuts are mainly grown for Human consumption,the nuts are prepared and eaten cold as a kind of sweet, the mik is treated and bottled, the flour is used to make cakes and biscuits and the oil is used for cooking. For further info please check the following link http://www.tigernuts.com
Tigernut cultivation requires sandy soil and a mild climate. As such, the geography of Valencia, situated on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, makes it the ideal location for producing the highest quality tigernuts.Tigernuts are planted during April and May and must be irrigated every week until they are harvested in November and December.Immediately after harvest, the tigernuts are washed with water in order to remove any sand and small stones. Once the tigernuts have been cleaned, they are dried out in order to preserve them. This is a natural process that requires 3 months. Temperature and humidity levels are carefully monitored during this period. The tigernuts are turned over every day to ensure uniform drying.Best times to buy are March - April.
Tigernuts can be stored without losing any of there unique properties for up to 2 years after purchase. It is important, however, that they are ventilated regularly and that the nuts that you buy have been fumigated to protect them from any kind of damage that may be caused by bugs or insects. I have noticed in the past that some of the nuts that I've purchased have had small clusters of white eggs on some of the nuts, these are the eggs of a small moth, that turn into maggots that will not only eat your tigernuts but any other bait you have, be it boilies or base mix. You can still use these nuts over a time but I would strongly advise you to use them as quickly as possible and store them in a air tight container outside of your house, in your garage or garden shed.
Soak for 24 hours, boil for 30 minutes then place nuts and cooking water in a air tight bucket in a warm place for 48 hours. After they have SLIMED they can be kept slimey for quite some time although a full air tight container is required. Freezing is also a good alternative although I don't have any room in my bait freezer most of the time and prefer fresh to frozen.
Some Anglers add sugar,maple syrup or even cola to them after cooking to sweeten and flavour the juices, although I prefer them natural.
Due to the fish not being able to totally digest the nuts, they tend to be excreated in a crushed form. This is a big plus for us as they then spread the bait round for us as other fish will come along and eat these crushed remains again and again. I have noticed many a time when I have kept fish in a carp sack for a few hours that the bottom of the sack has had two or three handfulls of excreated crushed nuts in the bottom. Also they are quite hard and near impossible for other species to chew so are selective. I've heard of other anglers catching Bream and Tench on them but have never experianced this myself.
I tend to start pre baiting quite heavily on new waters that have not seen these nuts before, spreading the nuts over large areas of the marginal shelves, this I do with nuts that have been prepared but are not quite slimey as they are easier to throw and spread around, if however I'm pre baiting at range I will either use a groundbait carrier of tigernut slime soaked pellet or brown crumb groundbait with added tigernut oil,chopped and crushed tigernuts formed in small balls and catapulted out or spodded whole nuts, again spread over a large area.
After the initial period of prebaiting nomally a couple of weeks I will start to fish with them, although only fishing over a few handfulls of whole nuts with groundbait of tigernut flour and crushed nuts mixed with some oil. After fishing I will again prebait with up to five kilo spread over a large area sometimes in up to three or four differant swims.
I tend to fish two types of venue over a Season a close to home overnight venue where I fish a maximum of sixteen hours, two or three times a week and a weekend venue where I will do weekend sessions Friday night till Sunday night or Monday morning.Due to the distances the prebaiting is differant for both. The near home venue will get two kilos twice or three times a week, where as the weekend venue will get up to six kilos once a week. If however the weekend venue is really producing then a midweek overnighter may be missed out on the local venue so I can prebait the weekend venue on a wednesday night.
RIGS, BAITS AND SETUPS.
Before I go on I'd like to make clear that I am not sponsored by any company or individual and that all the products I mention I pay for the same as everyone else and these are just products I have tried and found to be up to the task at hand.
I tend to use a lot of critically ballanced or floating tigernut baits.
Most rigs can be used for fishing tigernuts whether tied with braid, mono or one one the thousand " Snakebite " types of coated braids. I tend to use a dental floss hair, my reason for this is that I find that the seperation of bait and hook to be paramont in the hooking of the carp and if this cannot happen due to the hair not being flexible enough the battle has been lost before it began. Mostly a half thickness dental floss hair whipped onto the hook first, then the " no knot " knot whipped over the top and a small piece of stiff plastic tubing or shrink thubing over the top as a line aliner.If I use the excess braid from the " no knot " then I rub this between my fingernails until its a bit worn and more flexible. I also tend to use a stringer made of five or six " PVA nuggets " to keep the hookbait above the lead for a few extra seconds after the lead has hit the lake bed, the pva then disolves and the hookbait slowly sinks the last ten or fifteen centimetres landing softly on the lake bed, with a combi rig the stiff section will also push the hookbait out away from the lead allowing near perfect presentation. As the nuggets are not fully disolved they float to the suface to mark the spot for baiting up over the top.
1. Standard single bait longways on the hair.
I find that a long tigernut mounted on the hair with a gap of up to two centimentres between hook and bait works best here. I also don't use a normal stopper I make a stopper out of thin garden wire that is bent in the shape of a " W " with the loop of the hair in the middle of both bends and the points pushed into the tigernut to keep it in place.
2. Single pop up tigernut boilie.
I used to make my own pop ups until the recent marketing of "Dynamite Baits " " Monster Tigernut pop ups" in 15mm and 20mm, these I have found to be very good the 15mm's will hold up a heavy size 4 or 2 hook such as a " Fox XS " and the 20mm will hold up a size 1, also needing extra wieght added to critically ballance them. I also fish pop ups straight off the lead with hooklenths anything from 50 - 100 cms in lenth.
3. Stacked Tigers and cork or pop up boilie critically balanced.
When using long tigernuts use a piece of cork thats been soaked in tigernut oil to ballance everything out, just snipp bits off the cork or tigernuts till it all just sinks and sits on the bottom of the lake. With round tigernuts use a pop up on top and add a piece of lead solder to the inside of the boilie to ballance everything as you don't want to dammage the boilie to much, as this will cause it to take on a lot of water and sink causing the presentation to suffer. If you use two round nuts try a 20mm pop up, if you use one nut then a 15mm will normally be enough.To keep everything together push a small piece of cocktailstick in the " hair hole " from the tigernut hearest the hook.
My main setups these days are these two.
1. Mainline Braid with spiced leadcore leader as long as I can get away with when casting,a leadclip of some kind, with again as small a lead as I can get away with while casting,and a Armaled speed swivel and cut down tail rubber.
2. Krysonite mainline nomally 15lb, Sufix memory free clear leader in 20 or 30lb, again to a leadclip and quick change " speed swivel ".
Sometimes I'll use an Inline lead with the insert replaced by an Armaled shokka plug, instead of the leadclip setup but the rest stays the same.
The hooks I use are nomally Fox XS in sizes 4, 2 and 1 as well as the Kamasan B775's in size 4.
Anyway I hope I've given you an insight into one of the most under rated baits around that when prepared and applied correctly acounts for some very big fish.
All the best and let your next fish be your biggest.