Hemp or hemp seed is a small black seed of about 2 or 3mm in diameter and classed as a particle bait. It is a natural seed bait and one of the most successful and popular particle baits available. Hemp can be purchased loose, as a natural seed, or pre-cooked in a tin ready for fishing.
Hemp is not only an excellent hook bait, it is also a great bait for holding fish in a swim and brilliant attractant when added to groundbait. Prepare the hemp as below before adding it to your groundbait.
How to prepare hemp for fishing.
To prepare hemp seed yourself for fishing there are several methods.
Cooking or soaking. Cooking is the quickest and what most anglers prefer. Soaking just involves putting the hemp in a container, covering with water and leaving until the hemp seed splits.
Some anglers cook hemp from dry and others put the hemp seed into a container, cover with water and leave to soak for 24 hours which helps the seeds split when you cook them. Either way follow the instructions below.
1. Put the hemp into a pan of water and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally and making sure the hemp is covered with water all the time.
(adding bicarbonate of soda to the water, at the rate of one teaspoon per pint of hemp, will turn the seeds dark black)
2. Keep boiling for 5 to 10 minutes and while boiling look for the hemp splitting - when this happens you will see a small white protrusion from the seed - at this point turn down the heat and simmer until most of the hemp seeds have split.
3. When you see most of the hemp has split, turn off the heat and drain the hemp and tip into a container of cold water. This will stop the cooking process and stop the hemp splitting wide open. If the hemp splits too wide this can make it harder to stay on the hook. After half an hour or so drain and rinse the hemp again and it will be ready for using.
Using a Thermos flask to cook the hemp.
I have tried this method and it works but I don't use it because you are restricted to around a pint of hemp (depending on the size of flask that you use) and I use a lot more than a pint on a fishing session.
Half fill a thermos flask with uncooked hemp, add bicarbonate of soda if you want the seeds to be dark black and top up the flask with boiling water. Do not fill completely, leave some space for the seed expansion, put the lid on and leave to cook overnight. In the morning your hemp should be cooked ready for using.
On clear waters, rivers, canals and stillwaters, liquidised hemp can be very effective as a 'loose' feed when fishing. The cloud attracts the fish and the bits on the bottom hold the fish in your swim.
Half fill a liquidiser with cooked hemp (un-cooked hemp can be used but cooked hemp I find mixes better) and switch it on and give it a quick blast to smash up the hemp. You may find it sticking to the sides of the liquidiser as it is ground up. When smashed up empty into a container ready for taking fishing. The liquidised hemp will be stodgy and sticky and if thrown into the water like this it will just fall to the bottom as a lump. Mix some water with it before hand until it is 'mushy' and this will then cause the fish attracting cloud. Mashing up a small amount of liquidised hemp with a slice of bread makes a great hemp paste.
Hemp can be frozen
A time saver is to prepare more hemp than is needed and to make up batches in pint sized bags and freeze them for using another time. Then its just a matter of defrosting the night before it is needed.
How to hook hemp
Choose a slightly undercooked seed that is only just split. Push the bend of the hook into the opening and let go. The shell of the seed should grip the hook. That's it, ready to fish.
Hemp can also be used on a hair rig. Using a fine needle push it through the seed from the split, thread the line through and tie it back on itself. Four or five grains of hemp can be threaded onto the line and used in this way.