When I tell people what I use as bait for fishing, I oftentimes get quite a few weird looks. There are many baits out there, both natural and artificial, that carp love. One above all others consistently puts carp on the bank for me, Tiger Nuts.
Mentioning this bait is almost always followed by the question, What the heck is a Tiger Nut? This article will answer all questions pertaining to the use of tiger nuts as carp bait.
What is a Tiger Nut for Carp Fishing?
Funny enough, tiger nuts have nothing to do with tigers or nuts. They aren’t a nut at all but actually a tuber. They are referred to as “Tigers” due to the striped pattern on their outer skin. The best way to describe them is a tiny potato. Tiger nuts form on the root system of a sedge named Yellow Nutsedge, and when prepared properly, are irresistible to carp.
This article will cover all aspects of the tiger nut as it pertains to carp fishing. It will detail what they are and how to prepare and use them for carp fishing—everything you need to know in one compact guide.
Why Use Tiger Nuts for Carp Fishing?
Tiger nuts for carp fishing are often overlooked as mainstream baits such as boilies and pellets are much more versatile. The main benefit of using tiger nuts over other conventional carp baits is that they are not as attractive to other species that you may not want to catch. Turtles, waterfowl, and catfish are much less likely to pick up a tiger nut than boilies, corn or pellets. This, in turn, will surely increase your catch rate in waters with a lot of nuisance wildlife.
Why Do Carp Like Tiger Nuts?
There are many reasons that carp like to eat tiger nuts. When prepared properly, tiger nuts ooze attraction. The natural sugars and amino acids produced during the boiling process are irresistible to carp and almost always trigger a feeding response.
Aside from the natural attraction, anglers can also easily add their own flavours to tiger nuts during the preparation stage to match the same flavour of boilies or other bait they use. Tiger nuts are among the most versatile baits out there and can be used quite easily in combination with almost any other bait.
Flavour is only one aspect that makes them attractive to carp. Another important factor that makes tiger nuts a great carp fishing bait is their texture. When a carp bites down on a tiger nut, it gives the perfect “crunch” or “pop” the fish expects when feeding on natural foods, comparable to snails, mussels and other plants carp naturally feed on.
A third factor that makes them great carp bait is their size. Tiger nuts can vary in size from a single kernel of corn all the way up to an 18mm boilie. They make the perfect morsel for a carp to pick up off the bottom. Not only are they a good size to eat, but they’re also small enough to provide a nice carpet of bait on the bottom for carp to forage on. Tiger nuts will ensure carp stay feeding in an area for a long period of time, increasing the chances that they will eventually pick up your hook bait.
How to Prepare Tiger Nuts for Carp Fishing?
Tiger nuts, much like whole corn, need to be prepared before use as carp fishing bait. It will make them softer and a lot easier for the fish to digest. It is a fairly simple process, although time-consuming if you plan to use them often.
Tiger nuts are best prepared when soaked in water overnight and then boiled vigorously for 30 minutes to an hour. You will know they are ready when they are somewhat soft to the touch. Think of them much like a potato; you want them soft but still crunchy yet not mushy.
Once they’re boiled, you can either drain the water or continue to let them soak. It is often advantageous to continue to soak them once they are boiled. The natural sugars will continue to seep out and make a very attractive sticky flavouring. Some anglers prefer to use tiger nuts this way, while others like to drain them and add their own flavouring. I myself like to soak them after they are boiled. I will also use the sticky liquid to flavour corn, birdseed and boilies that I add to my baiting mixes.
Why Do Tiger Nuts Need to Be Prepared for Carp Fishing?
Once tiger nuts are harvested, they go through a lengthy drying stage to ensure they keep for a long time, much like feed corn. Dry tiger nuts are bad for carp as they have a tough time digesting them. This can threaten fisheries if too many improperly prepared tiger nuts are introduced into a body of water.
Carp will eat and then excrete them in much the same form. This will cause the carp to fill up on baits that give them little nutritional value, and they will also remain in the water for long periods of time.
If tiger nuts are boiled and soaked properly, they will be easier for carp to chew and break down before ingesting them. A most important detail if you plan to employ them in your arsenal.
Prepared Tiger Nuts
Suppose you don’t have the time to purchase dried tiger nuts in bulk and prepare them yourself. There are many bait companies out there that provide excellent options for “ready to fish” tiger nuts straight out of the jar—some of my personal favourites being Munch Baits and Dynamite Baits. All are readily available at most carp tackle suppliers.
How to Use Tiger Nuts as Carp Fishing Bait?
I use tiger nuts mainly for pre-bating certain areas. I use them in a mix of birdseed, corn or boilies. I find many small particles keep carp comfortably feeding in an area for a longer period of time.
Although they make a great addition to particle baits, they excel when used as a hook bait. On bodies of water where there is a lot of fishing pressure, the big fish can be accustomed to being caught on more popular baits such as boilies; this is the perfect place to use tiger nuts. A simple change in bait can make a huge difference in these situations.
Some popular tactics for using tiger nuts as carp bait are:
Tiger Nuts in PVA Mesh
Adding a PVA Mesh bag filled with tiger nuts to your rig before you cast out can ensure a nice pile of free offerings for the fish to hone in on. A simple but often overlooked tactic. Fill the PVA Mesh with a handful of tiger nuts and attach it directly to your hook. This will aid with avoiding tangles while casting as well.
Add a Stringer of Tiger Nuts
I usually set these up beforehand. Take a spool of PVA String and cut a few 6 – 8 inch lengths. String on some prepared tiger nuts with a baiting needle, and you’re good to go. Another simple way to offer some freebies around your hook bait. This does not only add a bit more bait but is also more cost-effective than using PVA Mesh.
Tiger Nuts Popped Up
Don’t be afraid to add cork or a buoyant bait such as artificial corn to your rig. This not only places your hook bait above all the others, but it can also add a visual cue for the carp to hone in on.
I like to use tiger nuts in conjunction with a Simple Hair Rig. Although a single tiger nut presented properly can be effective, I prefer to bait my rig with two or three, ensuring I leave a small space between each particle. This ensures the carp have a greater chance of picking up my bait. I leave the small space between each tiger nut for improved rig mechanics and hook-up rates. I find the fish have a harder time spitting the spread-out nuts as there is more resistance in the water compared to one solid chunk.
If you’re searching for more information on bait, be sure to check out Improved Carp Angling’s Guide to Carp Fishing Bait.