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Carp fishing in France
Tiger nuts have many names from chufas in Spain, to tigernuss or Erdmandel in Germany, to noixe tigre or souchet in France. What ever the name, the tiger nut has had known beneficial properties going back at least 4000 years and more and have proven known stimulant effects on carp and humans. As real fishing bait bonus, the highly attractive oil content of tiger nuts still acts effectively in attracting fish despite relatively low temperatures. Pure tiger nut oil remains liquid at typical refrigeration temperatures and a lauric acid grade oil is implicated (unsaturated) in this effect.
They have a heating and drying effect on digestion too and so this is incredibly important in their effectiveness! (Carp cellular and digestive enzymes work more actively as a result, and fish have more energy available to be active.)
It really makes excellent sense to use tiger nuts with ingredients and additives as baits or in baits in combination with substances that speed up the rate of metabolism and digestion in carp. Spices, herbs and extracts are obviously very useful. Liquorice, ginger, chilli, peppermint and many others come to mind...
In West Africa, tiger nuts (really tubers,) are eaten by humans raw, or soaked in water and are often mixed with roasted peanuts. Tiger nuts are instant carp baits, but it is relatively recently that tiger nut meals, extracts and flours have become popularly utilized within baits like boilies and pellets. Their use in whole and ground form in carp fishing has long been successful of course.) Tiger nut milks are popular as health or low protein rich tonic drinks, but such milks are not necessarily the best product to soak into tiger nuts.
Part of tiger nuts (or chufas,) attraction is that they are rich in lysine which is a major fish feeding stimulant. But tiger nuts also contain many other extremely important and stimulatory dietarily essential amino acids for fish, including methionine, cystine, arginine and histidine.
Tiger nuts have over 20 percent unsaturated oil content too, and are a good source of carbohydrate starches (plus water-soluble attractive glucose,) so they are a very good sweet tasting energy source for carp!
To add to their attraction, although only about 8 percent protein, tiger nuts are very rich in minerals that are essential to fish, such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, zinc, magnesium, and trace elements too! Compared to very many other carp fishing baits, tiger nuts seem comparatively bland to our human senses, especially if they have not been soaked in boosting substances, or as hook baits reeled in after a few hours immersion in water. But this simply means our dulled inefficient human senses in air are totally out-classed by the formidably sensitive carp senses in water!
Incidentally, cutting part or all of the skins off your tiger nut hook baits makes them more effective, and certainly I've experienced bites immediately after casting out using such baits. Using certain other plant extracts, such as tiger nut oil, chilli oil or garlic oil, for example can give these baits renewed life. (Ready-skinned tiger nuts are available from Spanish companies for example.)
Tiger nuts are rich in glucose and vitamin E. You might be new to making baits and ground baits for yourself, and yes the choice of ingredients and substances to use are at first mind-blowing, but all you need is a few reference points to get you started. For example, sweet oily foods with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are often very potent as carp baits or in carp baits, even disregarding their nutritional protein or stimulatory amino acid profiles. Tiger nut extract is just one example.
Tiger nut effectiveness is often given a great boost by offering them in conjunction with other effective baits as in ground baits of many kinds. For example, combining betaine-rich pellets, mixed beans and pulses, like chick peas, sweet lupins, lentils, or crushed marine halibut pellets. Many other forms and sizes of pellets combine for excellent results too with tiger nuts, including many various specialist carp pellets, and catfish pellets.
Ground true nuts like brazil nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds with tiger nuts really work in boilies, pellets and ground bait mixes too. Even live baits like worms, castors, and maggots and marine foods, like cockles, prawns, shrimps, tuna flakes and other marine, animal and plant ingredients sources etc, are all very effective with tiger nuts and (derivatives!).
You can base your ground bait on all manor of tiger nuts and derivative products. For instance you might use 3 different sizes in your ground bait, alongside crushed or skinned ones. You might use these loose in a spod or slop mixture, or bind them with almost any ingredient that binds. This way you can create many tiny areas of tiger nut hot-spots in swims. To improve effectiveness more, you can more edges using water-soluble PVA bag and netting ground bait delivery systems, and methods which boost attraction very closely surrounding your hook baits.
Many seeds combine well with whole, crushed, meal or flour tiger nut products. Many plant products are recommended. Amaranth seeds (as in nutmeg,) are rich in lysine. Nutmeg is a known bioactive additive in human foods and fishing baits.
Using flavoured tiger nuts is more fashionable these days than perhaps 30 years ago but it was done then too with many substances, but things tended to be very much more secret back then. You can choose any flavour you like for tiger nuts as their sweetness and great palatability can enhance so many flavours which carp will most likely never have encountered with tiger nuts previously.
For example Bun Spice or Mega Spice flavours in winter. Parmesan and blue cheese are naturally rich in lysine and the now very familiar n-butyric acid. Combining natural and synthetic cheese flavoured sweetcorn, maize, cracked corn, wheat and tiger nuts, has produced some very big fish for me. Wheat may not seem a particularly nutritional bait, but buckwheat can have as much as 18 percent protein which is 90 percent biologically digestible, and groats are also betaine-rich.
In fact, buckwheat stands out among cereals (as a pseudo-cereal like quinoa,) and these contain high levels of all the essential amino acids, especially lysine, tryptophan and threonine.
These 2 pseudo-cereals also contain those vital sulphur-containing amino acids that have been proven to be so stimulatory to carp and catfish etc, so adding these to cheap wheat semolina and soya flour based baits, or even to hemp meal or tiger nut flour based baits is a great idea!
I once caught a personal best tench fishing over cooked groats (de-hulled cereal grains,) and these have long been over-looked by the majority of anglers in preference for far more expensive pellets. Using tiger nuts in chopped and crushed forms and incorporating them in ground baits is obviously a good move. This is especially where tiger nuts have been over-exploited over the years and where fish may feed very much less confidently on them.
The simplest way to prepare tiger nuts is as follows: Simply soak them in filtered water (to remove chlorine etc,) for 24 hours, (whatever the size; large, or mini etc.) Cook them in boiling water for 30 minutes, keeping watch on water levels dropping, which might lead to burning and tainting of flavours. Many anglers use betaine and the protein sweeteners Thaumatin and Talin.
But wherever these have likely been used before, I'd opt for other potent alternatives, such as natural black currant flavour and liquorice extract, or ginger powder and fructose, or sweetened garlic oil or hemp oil, combined with liquid lecithin.
Tiger nuts create an attractive noise that is very easily heard in water by other carp long distances away; so effectively helping other fish locate your free baits. This noise is perhaps far more important than the fabled enjoyment of crushing food in the throat teeth, although pieces of nuts exiting from the gills and dispersing obviously tempt more fish to join in feeding too!
The relative hardness of tiger nuts leads to baits often being taken back towards the throat teeth which are around 6 plus inches away from the lips even in small carp. This gives your rig if designed well, more chances of hooking the fish. This is another reason why very buoyant, neutral or over-weighted tiger nut rigs all work so well, even when simply using a tiger nut slime-soaked cork ball, or fake plastic tiger nut baits!
The crushing of tiger nuts in the throat teeth excites specialised receptor cells within the mouth and throat due to the palatability and nutritional factors in tiger nuts which encourage chewing and swallowing. (The external tiger nut cover of dietary fibre can help better digestion in certain ways too.)
The same nuts are known to be picked up by more than one fish as it can often be the case that different carp will over time break a whole nut down and vent particles before they become extremely small insignificant particles in size able to be most efficiently digested. This adds to their effect as pieces may be distributed all around a swim or lake and so many more the carp will become in contact with them...
Using tiger nuts which are on the point of fermenting are very effective too. If you want to go the conventional route (and use substances your competitors will probably already be using) you can add tackle shop extras. My way is to do things different to anybody, because if your bait has never been experienced and dealt-with previously, you can bet this difference will raise your hooking chances big-time!
It may be remembered that all tiger nuts vary in shape and buoyancy to some small degree that means that each bait is unique. This makes using them more effective as most anglers use free baits that are uniform in shape. Most commercial baits are regular round, cylindrical or barrel shaped even if in different sizes.
Carp physical reference points are vitally important to fool and this can involves anything from bait colour, texture, density, buoyancy, movement in water when moved deliberately by fins (or on fins) and in the mouth and so on. This means that having munched through loads of identical shape and buoyancy baits, when fish come to your hook bait, often they are well ahead of your rig in determining which baits are attached to a hook!
There is far more to these baits than meets a quick look there's more in my ebooks, however this article will give you a start and much food for thought, I'm very sure but look a little further to discover much more vital secrets!
By Tim Richardson