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Particle Fishing
by Gilbert Foxcroft
10 December 2010
MORE ARTICLES

It is unfortunate, but I know that a lot of you will give this article one look and go on reading something else, but in effect it is one of the most underrated and under used ways of fishing for carp in our modern boilie era. Even competition anglers do not use particles nearly as much as they should. The mere sight of the words “particle fishing” will drive a lot of anglers to other more interesting subjects, but from experience I can confirm that the majority of all the Carp I have caught during the last 5 years have come from particles. My biggest fish ever at 26,90 kg came from the use of particles. As a matter of fact Donaldson Bottom Lake (predominantly a boilie water) produced 49 fish to 14kg in a 24 hour session for me and my fishing partner Jaco on plain simple whole kernel sweet corn.

Carp fishing is not just about boilies and hype, it is about picking up the most effective bait for your water and putting it on an effective rig in the right spot at the right time. A recent session at the Vaal Dam produced 20 fish for me and my partner, averaging 4.28kg per fish and that on mainly maize. So do not skip this article, read on...

ADVANTAGES OF PARTICLES

COST

With the high cost of living these days, the last thing you should do is to be stingy in the bait section. You should buy quality bait to catch those carp and in sufficient quantity to make catching not just a once-off event. On cost alone particles have to rate extremely well in comparison with boilies as it is usually a lot cheaper. To my own knowledge, most particles are consistent carp catchers, and with a little care and thoughtful application you will not do the fish any harm whatsoever. Rand for rand particles are generally cheaper than the cheapest boilies available on the market today. Just to give you an idea of cost herewith a comparison: 4kg of ready made Nash boilies will cost you in and around R 280.00 whilst 4kg of whole kernel corn will cost you around R 36.00. This alone should get you making plans to apply maize more frequently.

EASE OF PREPARATION

Having seen some of the odd shapes people produce when making boilies it is clear that for some its not an easy task. No matter what some manufacturers of baitmaking equipment may say it ends up a pain in the neck making boilies. I am in a lucky position in that I like making bait, and have a good friend in John Dearden from Boilies for Africa that will always lend a helping hand should I not get time to make big quantities, but I do fear that lots of you are not in my position and abhor making them. I certainly do not blame you as you have to break the eggs, add the dry mix, knead the dough, roll the baits, boil them, dry them, oh yes, then there is the mess you leave behind. Particles are so easy, just put them in a bucket, add water, soak for a couple of hours, boil and use. The mess you leave behind should not be more than a dirty pot or so I hope.

LESS CHANCE FOR MAKING A BOO-BOO

While I prefer to keep my boilie recipes as simple as possible they still contain a lot of different ingredients such as eggs, base mix, sweetener, amino acids, flavour, colouring etc. Just look at the recipes I have detailed in the past- and I am not a bait boffin in any way. For that you have to turn to John Dearden from Boilies for Africa. Certainly for inexperienced anglers the more ingredients a boilie has, the more likely it will turn into a disaster (a drop too much of this, a little too much of that). It is much too easy to do, especially if your previous mix did not work out either. It is little things that make the difference between success and failure, the difference from attracting the fish to your swim or chasing them away. Also with boilies, until you have a practised hand, making perfect boilies can very well be a case of hit and miss.

In comparison, particles are so much easier to prepare and you have a lot less chance of messing things up even if you are a novice at the game. Most require just a soak and a boil, unlike boilies, if you over boil them you can throw it away. Over-cooking particles do not have any detrimental effect on them as long as you do not burn them.

EASE OF STORAGE

Unless you are using shelf-life boilies you will have to store them in a deep freeze, and if you do any decent amount of fishing you will need to stock up on those boilies and that means purchasing your own chest freezer at some stage. This in effect means space problems. Wives, mothers and partners soon grow tired of those boilie smells in the freezer anyway. I had an accident with my freezer once when our domestic worker accidentally switched off the wrong appliance and 58kg of prime boilies went so rotten that my garage smelled like a Congolese mortuary without power for 6 weeks. It is not a pretty sight; that I can promise you. But what was worse was the loss of 58kg boilies. In today’s terms you are easily talking of R 4 600.00 worth of boilies. That hurts. With particles it is a lot easier as you get yourself a few sealable dustbins, put your choice of particles inside and only prepare what you require. The rest can not be harmed, as they have a lot longer shelf-life than boilies.

PREOCCUPATION

Even a sceptic has to agree that carp can wise up to baits and presentations and that the only way around this will be by way of lowering the carp’s defences via preoccupation. The more free baits the carp gets to eat before encountering the hook bait the less likely it will be for it to test or sample that particular hook bait, and the more likely it will be for it to make that mistake. Preoccupation involves a large number of free offerings which, when those free offerings involve boilies, can involve a lot of time at great expense. Also, with boilies you have to make sure that you do not overfill the carp before it reaches your hook bait.

With particles due to their size it will be difficult to overfill the carp, so you can afford to put more into the swim before standing any chance of turning the preoccupation into a mishap. Now you can afford to put loads of freebees into the swim before, after and during your fishing session. This will prevent the fish from detecting any danger and they will keep recognising the bait as a natural food source.

You still need to be sensible and not go over board by automatically piling in loads of particles at a time. All I am suggesting is that particles do not fill carp in the same way as boilies do. It passes through their digestive system much quicker and less nutrition is absorbed into their systems as with boilies. Boilies contain more nutrients thus filling a carp much easier.

LACK OF INTEREST

I know that there are a few waters around where particles are the number one bait there are a selected few that only see boilie after boilie after boilie, so it is fair to say that most waters have not yet seen any real pressure when it comes to particles. There are two main ways in my opinion to catch carp more consistently than your fellow angler. One is by fine tuning a proven method and the other is by doing something completely different. So, if particles have not been used in your water in a big way, then now is the time to give it a go. You could get the lion’s share in catches before everyone else gets a sniff of what is going on. Novelty is a big thing in carp fishing. It gives you a great advantage, but only through hard work and a sensible application. Just a small piece of advice: When you discover the edge, do not reveal it to everyone until you have perfected it and you yourself have reaped the benefits rightly deserved.

CHANGE

Even if your water have seen some use of particles over the years, because there are so many kinds you can almost guarantee that with a little thought you can offer the carp a new kind of food source. There are so many different kinds of particles on the market, so you could very well be the first on your water with bait that can really take the place apart. You can go to town with some particles by adding oils, flavours and even colouring to boost its effectiveness. The next step up is to start mixing some of those particles together, but then only the sky can be the limit. Change from the normal way of doing things to something new and this can give you such an advantage that the others will have to follow. Also be very careful: PARTICLES CAN ALSO BE LETHAL TO THE CARP’S HEALTH, SO PLEASE PREPARE THEM IN THE CORRECT WAY. I WILL COVER THIS ASPECT LATER ON IN THIS SECTION, BUT TAKE NOTE.

PARTICLE, SEED, PULSE AND NUT

Herewith will follow a list of some of the items you could find useful in your fishing:


Seeds
SEEDS

Hemp, tares, red dari seeds, white dari seeds, buck wheat, groats, pinhead oatmeal, red rape, black rape, panicum millet, Japanese millet, red millet, white millet, linseed, whole oats, wheat, barley, sago, plus many more. As you can see, this compromises the tiny end of the mass-baiting particle method (even though technically not particles as they are seeds). Particles generally tend to be larger and the term also includes nuts, beans and pulses.


Tiger nuts
PARTICLES

Tiger nuts, peanuts, pine nuts, brazil nuts, almonds, hazel nuts, cashew nuts, pistachio nuts, moth beans, chick peas, maize, black eyed beans, adzuki beans, red kidney beans, sweet lupines, maple peas, mini maple peas, dun peas, tic beans, mung beans, soya beans, lima beans, haricot beans, pinto beans, blue peas and sweet corn.

KEEP THEM FRESH

The quality of your particles is always measured in its freshness. Unlike boilie base mixes that show their age when standing around for some time, it is not so easy to tell with particles. As with all types of baits I use, I prefer to use the freshest particles possible as they do contain the maximum amount of attraction necessary for me to succeed, so I purchase only from a supplier that has a good turnover. Then I know that it will be at its freshest possible. I would also advise you not to buy large batches at a time, as sometimes you can overestimate just how much you will need. I normally buy my particles in 10 – 15kg batches and only re-stock when I am completely out of stock. The biggest danger to particles is direct sunlight, rodents and moisture so try to avoid them. Particles must not be left in bags or sacks on the garage floor, but must at least be put into buckets out of harm’s way. An open sack of particles is an invitation to any self-respecting mouse or rat, so be careful and keep it safe. My partner and I have invested in plastic dustbins and this works wonderfully well as it keeps those nasty things away from my bait.

PREPARATION, PREBAITING, APPLICATION AND FLAVOURING

Having looked at by use of particles I will only cover the preparation etc of my favourites, as nearly all particles are prepared in the same fashion. Only my “party-mix” is soaked in hot water until the water has cooled down. My “party-mix” consists of all the small seeds you know as wild bird seed. This is a wonderful piece of ammunition to have when you have fish in your swim and you want to keep them there.

MAPLE PEAS


Maple peas
This is a much underrated bait as it is a killer if used in conjunction with boilies. Some of my best sessions ever were made with the use of these little brown buggers.
First of all, your maples should be light brown in colour when they are purchased; this suggests that they are fresh. If they are wrinkled and dark
brown in colour they are old stock. Soak the maples in cold water for 24 hours, but be careful, they are very thirsty and usually absorb lots of water. I usually cover them with double the amount of water. You will notice it when you first prepare them. Always seal the bucket you soak your particles in as this stops evaporation and aids fermentation. Always add one table spoon of salt to every kilo of particles. Just imagine your wife/mother cooks your veggies and she forgets to add salt, it tastes bland not true? Now this has the same effect in particles.

After the soaking process you transfer the maples (in the same water it soaked in) to a pot and bring it to the boil. Once boiling point has been reached you continue to boil them for another 25 minutes. After boiling you must preferably bait them up as hot as you can. I normally boil my maples at the lake as prebaiting them hot disperses the small amount of oil in them and this act as a very good attractant for carp.

CHICK PEAS


Chick peas
Chick peas can be just as devastating as maples, but they have a couple very good advantages in that they are bigger than maples, look a lot like boilies (they can bulk out your boilies quite nicely), take up flavour wonderfully and have a nice colour.

The preparation is exactly like maples, but during the soaking process you can add any colouring you require (one teaspoon for every 2 kilo’s) and add about 5ml of flavour to it. First you must dissolve the flavour in a cup of hot water to make it disperse easier into the particles. You boil it in the same fashion as with maples (this can however be done at home), however you need to add another 5ml of flavour after the boiling process has been completed otherwise the flavour evaporates too quickly. The only problem with chick peas is that they do not last long after they have been prepared, so baiting them up as quickly as possible will be my best advice.

MAIZE


Chick peas
This is the bait of all time….. More monster carp have been caught on this bait than all the baits put together.

To prepare maize is very simple, as all you need is to do is soak it in water (do not forget the salt) for 24 – 36hours and boil until the skin of the maize starts splitting. Let it soak for another 12 hours before use. You are now ready to fish.



PEANUTS


Peanuts
This is a much underused bait, but surely the most dangerous of all of them. Here you have to be very careful with the preparation as going wrong here can lead to your prize catch dying. You soak it as usual (do not forget the salt) for 24 hours and then boil. You should bring the particles to the boil and then simmer at medium heat for about 20 minutes. You can feed it hot or cold, but I have found that it is more effective when introduced hot.
Peanuts contain an enzyme that can be fatal to the fish if it is not killed during the boiling process, so please take care with it. Peanuts also do not need to be fed in large quantities as they are at their most devastating in small, but frequent batches.

SWEETCORN


KOO Kernel Corn
No article on particles is complete without mentioning sweet corn. With sweet corn we are talking about the canned sweet corn from all different manufacturers like KOO. Buying the small cans can work out fairly expensive, but if you go to your nearest Makro or Trade Centre you can buy them in 3kg cans at around R 27.00 per can. The good thing with this bait is that you can buy as many as you like without taking a risk that it may go off. Sweet Corn have a very long shelve life and the fish love it’s sweet taste.

So, here you have it, a comprehensive guide on particle fishing. I hope that I have inspired you to give it a bash on your preferred water. I know you will have results soon. Remember that success do not always come instantly, so be patient, your hard work will sooner or later start paying off.

BASIC GUIDELINES FOR PREPARING PARTICLES

It is very important to prepare particles correct otherwise it can be dangerous to fish especially when pre-baiting with large quantities. Here are a few guidelines on how to and for how long to prepare different particles:

Partiblend, Flaked Maize, Groats, Moth Beans
No Pre-Soak is necessary. Boil for 1 minute.

Red Dari, White Dari, Wheat, Buckwheat
Pre-Soak for 6 hrs and Boil for 10-15 minutes

Hemp
Pre-Soak for 12-14 hours and boil until split

Chopped Tigers, Chick Peas, Sweet Lupins, Maple Peas, Tares, Adzuki Beans, Blackeye Beans, Haricot Beans, Red Kidney Beans, Lima Beans, Pinto Beans, Soya Beans
Pre-Soak for 12-14 hours and Boil for 20-30 minutes

Broken Brazils, Peanut Kernels
Pre-Soak for 12-18 hours and Boil for 20-30 minutes

Tiger Nuts, Whole Maize, Whole Brazils
Pre-Soak for 24 hours and boil for 30 minutes

Although there are many more ways of presenting particle baits such as sprouting, fermenting, colouring and flavouring, provided the guidelines are adhered to, the baits listed will be totally harmless to all fish and can be used with the knowledge that they are completely safe.

Note: When soaking, particles absorb water quickly. Check and top up after two hours and again after four hours. Always allow plenty of water to cover the particles, and where boiling is specified this must be done to ensure safe preparation. If in any doubt, play safe. It is impossible to oversoak.



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