Why Are Tiger Nuts Banned?

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Tiger Nuts have been banned in many fisheries due to the potential long-term health issues and when cooked incorrectly, the Tiger Nuts can be fatal to fish. 

Fish need to have a balanced diet and they can become too reliant on the nuts and this affects the fish’s digestive system.

In some fisheries, Tiger Nuts were being used too often and in large quantities. Since the fishery owners could not control this, then many made a decision to ban them outright.

Because Tigernuts are high fibre and oil content, they are only partially digested by fish. 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?

A tiger nut field and farm in Valencia, Spain

Tiger Nuts are not actually a nut, they are a small tuber similar to a potato or a Yam. The Tiger Nut 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.

A close up view of the tiger nut tuber

Tiger Nuts 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 being 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! Take note that anglers will generally buy non-food grade tiger nuts due to the price.

How Do Fisherman Use Tiger Nuts As Bait?

Tiger nuts can be bought in small or large quantities

Anglers soak the Raw Tiger Nuts in water and boil them, this creates an amount of syrup surrounding the nut outside. The Tiger Nut can then be placed on the hook in various ways to catch fish. 

Tiger Nuts can easily be also ground up into flour, the flour and then they can be added to general bread-based groundbait and used as an attractant. 

Tiger Nut extract from the syrup is also used in fishing, 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 Nut has a firm form and the shape helps make them a great bait on the hook. Smaller fish tend not to eat them and this enables the angler a better chance of catching the larger fish.

Why Do Carp Specifically Love To Eat Tigernuts?

Carp love all baits that contain very oily, sugary content, 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 that attract Carp so much.

Compared to a boilie the Tiger Nut also looks like a more natural bait. Its shape and colour definitely make it look more attractive than a round ball!

Tiger nuts fished as a hair rigged pop-up bait for carp

Carp anglers love to use them when fishing since other smaller fish species are not that 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 carp fishing in my article on Carp fishing in the United States here!

What Are The Best Methods Of Using Tiger Nuts Safely?

First of all use them sparingly, due to the concerns about overfeeding. A single Tiger 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 for weeks/months after being heavy baiting.

Just use a 500g bag of normal size Tiger Nuts for a 48-hour session. Slightly more can be used if you are using the micro versions that are available. 

If adding Tiger Nuts to your Spod mix with Sweetcorn, Hemp or another mix only add 10% of Tiger Nuts.

Add 20% of the ground-up Tiger Nut flour to your normal groundbait, there is less of a concern since they are no longer in nut form. 

Using PVA bags of crushed tigers, with a whole Tiger Nut Hook Bait is a popular option.

The Hook Bait should be a stand-out for the fish to SEE and EAT and not surrounded by too many other Tiger Nuts.

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 the preparation is perfect, 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! 

Cooked and Prepared Tiger Nuts are a favourite carp bait

With Fermentation Process

To create a caramelized layer in which the sugars ooze out even more and that Carp cannot resist, then add 200g of sugar to the water. For extra attractant, add 10ml of spicy or fishy flavouring. 

Then leave the Tiger Nuts soaking in the cooking water for several days. Keeping the Tiger Nuts 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. Whilst they will last for one or two months while kept in cool conditions, due to their sugary nature they will go sour eventually. Many anglers tend to leave the nuts to soak up the juices and ferment, which can enhance the sweetness.

Don’t Want To Prepare Your Own? Buy Them Ready Prepared 

There are several options from reputable bait manufacturers. Dynamite Baits Frenzied Tiger Nuts come in different packaging and flavours.

Another great alternative to preparing your own nuts is the Ourons 700ml Jar of Tiger Nuts Premium Fishing Bait Particles.

If you are looking for Tiger Nuts in a boilie form, try out these great Dynamite Baits Monster Tiger Nut Boilies 1kg. I find these perfect when I don’t have time to make my own.

What Are The Alternative Baits To Tiger Nuts?

If you really love fishing with nuts then there are alternatives that are not generally banned. Some fisheries have banned ALL nuts!

I would recommend artificial Tiger Nuts if they are banned from your fishery. Try Pop Up Tiger Nuts from Enterprise Tackle these are an excellent alternative choice and I always keep some in my tackle box.

Dry Roasted Peanuts, Hazelnuts, Brazil Nuts and Almonds are not as popular but have been known to work.

Summary

Many fisheries have banned Tiger Nuts due to the impact on the health of the fish or the deterioration of the fishery performance. Both of the factors are due to firstly incorrectly prepared Tiger Nuts and secondly overfeeding, both related to anglers!

Quite rightly, the owners have a right to protect their fishery and their expensive stocks. Unfortunately, even if fisheries allow anglers to use small amounts it cannot be regulated. 

Tiger Nuts are an excellent bait but MUST be prepared and used with great care.