Seed baits are good baits in summer for roach, tench, carp and chub, but because a certain amount of effort is needed to prepare them they are not as widely used as they deserve. The main seed baits are wheat, hemp and tares. All these seed baits can be bought unprepared from good tackle shops.
To prepare wheat for use it should first be washed in cold water to remove any loose husks. It should then be placed in a bowl, boiling water poured over it and then left to soak overnight. The wheat is then ready to be placed in a saucepan, water added and then gently brought to the boil. The wheat swells enormously and it is ready as soon as the grains begin to split. It should finally be rinsed in cold water and stored in a clean bait tin. This may seem a complicated procedure but it is really only a case of wash the wheat; soak; boil; and then wash again.
The preparation of hemp is similar to that of wheat. The hemp is washed and then put in a pan of water. A teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda should be added to darken the grains. The water is then brought to the boil and allowed to simmer until the seeds begin to split. As soon as this happens the hemp must be removed from the pan and rinsed in cold water.
The preparation of tares, better known as pigeon peas, is slightly more complicated. The aim with tares is to cook them without the outer skins splitting. After washing in cold water the tares should be placed in a pan and boiling water poured over them. They should be left to soak in this pan overnight. Once again bicarbonate of soda can be added with a teaspoon to darken the seed. No more than one teaspoonful should be used as too much bicarbonate of soda will cause the tares to burst. Place the pan on the stove after soaking and bring the water to the boil. As soon as the water begins to boil reduce the heat so that the tares gently simmer. Cooking tares takes about 10 minutes and they need to be watched all the time. When properly eooked the outer skin should he unbroken but the seed is soft enough to be squeezed flat under finger pressure. Allow the cooked tares to cool slowly and do not wash under the cold tap as with hemp and wheat. Wheat, hemp and tares should be kept moist in the bait tins and not allowed to drv out.
One important point with the preparation of these seed baits is that the pans used should be old ones which are no longer used for cooking family meals because they are likely to become stained with the seed juices.
In winter all seed baits lose their effectiveness so are best used in the summer and autumn.