Tiger nuts have been banned in many fisheries due to the potential long-term health issues, and when cooked incorrectly, these types of nuts can be fatal to fish.
Fish need to have a balanced diet, and they can become too reliant on nuts, which affects the fish’s digestive system.
In some fisheries, they were being used too often and in large quantities. Since the fishery owners could not control this, many owners and angling clubs decided to ban them outright.
Due to the high fibre and oil content, fish only partially digest them. Large areas of the lake bed can be covered with excrement, which can cause overfeeding as other fish will continue to eat the waste.
What Is A Tiger Nut?
Tiger nuts are not actually nuts; they are small tubers similar to a potato or a yam. The host plant has grass-shaped leaves, and the tubers grow from the root of the plant stem. Their texture after they are dried becomes like a nut. The name tiger comes from the stripes that can be seen on the outside of the nut.
They contain high fibre, fat, sugar and protein. They are also high in potassium, phosphorus and vitamins E and C. The nuts contain about 30% oil; the oil is 82% unsaturated fat and 18% saturated fat.
Due to their rich and valuable contents, Tigernuts are as beneficial to fish as they are to humans!
How Do Fishermen Use Tiger Nuts As Bait?
Anglers soak the raw tiger nuts in water and boil them, and this creates an amount of syrup surrounding the nut outside. They can then be placed on the hook in various ways to catch fish.
They can easily be ground into a flour form, which can then be added to general bread-based groundbait and used as an attractant.
Extract from the syrup is also used in fishing since fish love a sweet smell and taste. The syrup is added to other particle baits; this makes them taste better and attracts more fish.
The tiger has a firm form, and the round shape helps make them a great bait on the hook. Smaller fish tend not to eat them, which gives the angler a better chance of catching the larger fish.
Why Do Carp Love To Eat Tiger Nuts?
Carp love all baits that contain very oily, sugary content, and we know this from the success of using other baits covered with “glug” or other sweet syrups. A tiger nut is a harder version of the other baits, such as pellets that attract carp so much.
These nuts also look like a more natural bait than using boilies. Its shape and colour definitely make it look more attractive than a round ball!
Carp anglers love to use them when fishing since other smaller fish species are not interested in their harder composition. This means the carp angler can be more confident in leaving the bait out longer between casts.
You can read more on the best carp fishing hookbaits, which cover in detail all the six key bait options you should use for carp fishing.
How To Use Tiger Nuts Safely?
First of all, use them sparingly due to the concerns about overfeeding. A single nut on the hook only requires a couple of handfuls as feed. Any more than this may cause lakes to have a short-term effect on catching carp of all types for weeks/months after heavy pre-baiting.
A 500g bag of normal-size for a 48-hour session is sufficient. Slightly more can be used if you are using the micro versions of around 5 to 8mm.
If you plan to add “tigers” to your spod mix with sweetcorn, hemp or another mix, only add 10% of nuts to the mix. Using PVA bags of crushed tigers with a whole nut as the hook bait is a popular and productive option.
When using a bread-based or fish meal groundbait, add 20% ground-up nut flour to your normal groundbait for a great carp attractant; there is less concern since they are no longer in nut form.
Remember, the hook bait should stand out for the fish to see and eat and not be surrounded by too many other particles, especially those of the same size.
How To Prepare Tiger Nuts Safely?
Without Fermentation Process
Ensure that you always buy good quality human food-grade nuts.
The tubers MUST be pre-soaked for a minimum of 24 hours and then boiled and simmered for a minimum of 30 minutes. This is critical to ensure perfect preparation, creating no harm to the fish.
Maximizing the soak time and minimizing the boiling time help preserve the nutrients better.
Take note that the tubers will swell to double their uncooked size!
With Fermentation Process
To create a caramelized layer in which the sugars ooze out even more and that carp cannot resist, add 200 g of sugar to the water. For extra attractant, add 10 ml of spicy or fishy flavouring.
Then leave them soaking in the cooking water for several days. Keeping them in a bucket in a warm area will enhance the fermentation process.
In either option, the nuts will feel hard enough to put on a hook or hair rig but still soft between your fingers to be able to squish them.
After preparing and cooking, use the nuts as soon as possible. While they will last for one or two months while kept in cool conditions, they will eventually go sour due to their sugary nature. Many anglers leave the nuts to soak up the juices and ferment, enhancing the sweetness.
Don’t Want To Prepare Your Own? Buy Them Ready Prepared
Another great alternative to preparing your own nuts is the Ourons tiger nuts. These will save you time and effort in the preparation stage but are more expensive.
If you want to buy some in a boilie form, try these great Dynamite baits monster tiger nut boilies in a 1kg bag with an option of 10mm or 18mm diameter. I find these perfect when I don’t have time to make my own.
What Are The Alternative Baits To Tiger Nuts?
If you love fishing with nuts, you can use some alternatives that are not banned. However, some fisheries have banned all types of nuts! Do your research on the location you intend to fish in beforehand.
I would recommend artificial tiger nuts if they are banned from your fishery. Try the pop-up option from Enterprise Tackle. These are excellent alternative choices, and I always keep some in my tackle box.
Other nuts, such as dry roasted peanuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts and almonds, are not as popular but have been known to work by several hardcore carp anglers.
Many fisheries have banned tiger nuts due to the impact on the health of the fish or the deterioration of the syndicate or fishery’s performance. Both factors are due to incorrectly prepared tiger nuts and overfeeding, both related to anglers!
Quite rightly, the owners have a right to protect their fishery and their expensive fish stocks. Unfortunately, even if fisheries allow anglers to use small amounts, it’s extremely difficult to be regulated by angling bailiffs.
Tiger nuts are an awesome fishing bait but must be prepared correctly and used with great care.
Steve is a seasoned angler whose lifelong passion for fishing has not only shaped his personal life but also laid the foundation for Positive Fishing—a community where he and his team of dedicated fishing enthusiasts share their love for the sport. With an impressive repertoire of skills honed over five decades, Steve has mastered both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Steve holds a special place in his heart for the mighty Carp and the elusive Tench