Hemp Seed

Hemp seed is a very popular particle seed bait used for freshwater fishing in either a groundbait or as a hooked bait which often proves irresistible to a wide range of freshwater fish.

Hemp can be purchased loose, as a natural seed, or pre-cooked in a tin ready for fishing. Preparing hemp is the most popular way to get usable bait for a fishing session, but is the more time consuming than purchasing ready-made in a tin. Hemp seed is used when fishing for a wide range of different species of fish but is especially effective when fishing for roach.
Hemp Seed Fishing Bait
Photo courtesy of By Jonathunder - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62752255

How to prepare Hemp Seed for Fishing

If you buy the seed in it’s original form before it has been prepared for fishing, then you will need to go through a process in order to ensure that it is suitable to use as a bait. The steps for preparing hemp seed to use as a fishing bait are very straightforward as follows:

  1. Tip the hemp seed you want to use into a container and cover with cold water. Make sure you leave a bit of room in the container for the seed to expand.
  2. Seal the lid of the container and cover for a full 24 hours.
  3. Place the hemp seed and the water it has been soaking in, into a saucepan and bring the water to the boil.
  4. Simmer for approximately 40 – 45 minutes until the seed starts to swell, soften and split.
  5. Bring the water to the boil and simmer until the seed starts to split (approximately 40-45 minutes of simmering).
  6. Now is the time to add any additional attractants to the hemp seed (e.g. liquid molasses).
Check out the video below for handy information on preparing Hemp Seed ready for fishing!

Chilli Hemp Preparation

Prior to soaking the hemp seed, try adding the following spices to your hemp:

  • Chilli flakes
  • Ground chilli pepper
  • Paprika

Once you have added water to your ‘chilli hemp’ mixture, the water will take on the flavours you have added to the hemp seed for additional attractant. After you have brought your chilli hemp to the boil and simmered (as per instructions above), make sure you keep your chilli infused water for your next batch of hemp seed. Freezing the water is the best option if you do plan to use the water again in the future.

How much chilli should I add to my hemp seed?

Add roughly one heaped tablespoon of each ingredient to one kg of hemp seed.

Smelly Hemp Preparation

Carry out the preparation instructions as per above until the hemp seed has started to split. Once this has happened, add the following flavourings to your hemp:

  • Black Pepper Essential Oil
  • 14 drops of N-Butyric acid

Seal the container straight away and shake it well so that each hemp seed receives a coating of the attractant.

What flavourings work well with Hemp Seed?


  • Chilli-infused hemp (using ingredients listed above)
  • Sweet flavours: Liquid mollases, honey, syrup etc.


  • Worm extract
  • Tinned salmon / tuna juice
  • Brewers yeast


  • Honey
  • Liquid molasses
  • Scopex
  • Liquidised sweetcorn


  • Aniseed oil
  • Turmeric

How to tell if my Hemp Seed has gone off?

If Hemp Seed has gone off, you will get an acidic vinegar type smell emanating from the seed itself. It is best to dispose of this bait before using it.

How to prevent it from going off?

Make sure to store your hemp after it has been prepared in a air-tight container / bag for later use, to minimise the chances of the bait spoiling.

How much salt do i add to cooked hemp seeds?

We recommend that you add approximately 30g of rock salt to each 1kg of dried hemp once the hemp has completely cooled off after cooking.

Should I add salt when preparing Hemp Seed?

No. Salt stops the hemp seed from opening and splitting (which is needed for the bait to be fully prepared for fishing.

Instead, wait until the seed has completely cooled down at the end of the process and add a fairly good amount of salt to the mixture. Salt is a requirement of the diet of all fish, and this is something that they find difficult to come by in the wild.

Can you freeze hemp seed?

The simple answer is yes!

You can freeze hemp seed with no problems at all and no adverse effects to the bait. It is commonly sold is ready-made batches frozen from tackle shops for use at a later date.

It oftens works out better to prepare a large batch of hemp seed at once and then freeze into smaller batches to use as and when required. This saves times, effort and you’ll always have some of this wonderful bait ready for your next session.

You can pick up food bags relatively cheaply from any supermarket which can then be used to store the bait in the freezer. These small bags seem to allow more bait to be frozen that would be possibly if using bait tubs or recycled takeaway containers.

You should completely thaw frozen hemp seed out before using as it tends to float on the surface of the water if it is still frozen.

How much Hemp Seed should I feed into my swim?

This really depends on the waters that you are fishing and what type of fish species it is that you are targeting.

It is common for around 1 – 2 kg of hemp seed to be thrown into your swim at the beginning of your session if targeting bream and carp. This technique would typically only be suitable on waters where there is a good head of fish present and they are well accustomed to fishing activites on the water.

When fishing lakes that are fished less often, it is often beneficial to limit the amount of groundbait you throw into the water as to not disturb and spook the fish with an activity they may not be used to.

If fishing for roach or chub on rivers, then hemp seed should be thrown into the water sparingly (little and often always remember!). You should adjust the frequency and quantity of bait being deposited into your swim to reflect the amount of bites that you are getting.

What is the best way to hook Hemp Seed?

If you want to fish with hemp on a hook, find a slightly undercooked seed that has only just split. Try to push the bend of the hook into the opening of the hook and let go – the shell of the seed will grip the hook and provide enough of a hold to cast your line in to the water.

It is also possible to use hemp on a hair rig if that type of rig is more suitable for your type of fishing. A very fine needle should pushed through the opening of the seed and out of the back of the seed. This technique allows multiple seeds to be fished with at the same time! This option is useful if trying to target a larger specimen fish that will not be put off by a string of hemp seeds on a hair.

Try liquidising hemp seed!

Liquidised hhemp seed is very effective to use as loose bait which when used on a clear water will create a cloud of food, smell and attractant perfect for luring in a hungry fish.

Any larger bits of hemp seed that remains will fall to the bottom of the water whilst the cloud will remain in the middle-upper levels of water. The cloud of food and attractant will lure fish into your swim and the remaining larger bits on the bed of the water will keep those fish in your swim.

How to liquidise hemp seed

Fill up a liquidiser half full of already cooked hemp seed and turn on the liquidiser and smash up the seed until it forms a lumpy paste. Put this in a container and take it with you fishing. When you reach your swim, get some water from the lake / river and add it to the liquidised hemp seed, this will turn it into a mush and give it a good mix so it forms a very smooth paste. Simple!