Groats are an incredibly successful mass particle bait for carp yet you rarely see carp anglers using them nowadays. What I like about groats is their ease of use. For a short session carp angler like myself this bait is perfect because it doesn’t require any boiling to prepare. All I need to do is tip my groats into a bait bucket and soak them in cold water for 24hrs before use. That is so convenient, not only do I not need to waste any time cooking bait, I also avoid stinking the house out and getting moaned at every week!, on top of this, they are ideally prepared on the bank so if you’re a long session carp angler, again, you simply add water and leave them to soak in a bucket outside the bivvy for 24hrs.
If I travel to a water like the carp society's horseshoe lake or linear fisheries then this is the particle bait I take with me, I usually take a 20k sack and I can prepare as much or as little as I think I will need whilst I’m on the bank and I find that extremely useful for a number of reasons. Firstly, I don’t need to prepare all my bait at home, secondly, I’m not tempted to go piling bait into a swim as soon as I get there because I’ll only soak a small amount prior to travelling and thirdly, I can prepare as much or as little as I want depending on how the fishing is at the time so all in all I’m happier taking groats to a water than I am taking hemp seed which requires boiling.
Groats are a nice visual seeds, being a creamy off white colour I’ve always found them ideal for fishing in clear waters. I find visual baits attract carp, they are curious creatures and they will usually come and investigate anything that stands out and a nice bright bed of small seeds definitely stands out!. On top of the visual aspect of groats, carp do find them attractive, they go nice and milky when soaked and the carp certainly go for them in a big way. Like hemp, I’ve witnessed carp literally ripping the bottom to bits to clear every last seed and you can certainly achieve the same level of pre-occupation with groats that you can with hemp.
Groats also take flavours very well, I have to say I’ve never been a big fan of flavouring particles myself, anything else you add to them just helps increase the expense of using them and as these baits are attractive in their own right I tend to fish with them as they are. I do however take advantage of groats’ ability to accept flavours, not by adding anything to them but by soaking them in the water I boil my tiger nuts in and by keeping my tiger nuts in the same bucket, as the tiger nuts ferment and the water they are in goes sticky, so the groats soak this up and I’ve found the combination of tiger nuts fished over a small patch of groats to be outstanding. This is the combination of baits I used to turn over stoke water capesthorne hall in Cheshire.
Like every particle bait, groats can’t be introduced at any kind of range, I’m pretty much against spodding so where possible I’ll introduce them to margin swims or I’ll use a pair of thigh or chest waders to put my bait in, if I need to spod then I’ll change baits to something more suitably sized rather than risk spooking carp with a spod. The bridge area of capesthorne hall lent itself perfectly to fishing my groats and tiger nuts combination, I was able to introduce small beds of bait very accurately and this paid big dividends for me during my time on the water, half of my carp from the water came to tiger nuts fished over a bed of groats whilst the other half came to single hookbaits.
I did well on the river weaver with groats too, when I found myself running low on hemp I found I could use a combination of one third hemp and two thirds groats, again due to groats ability to soak up liquid attractors, I’d boil my hemp then add groats so they would soak up the water my hemp had boilied in, this proved to be a very cost effective method of fishing big beds of particle baits as groats were and still are cheaper than hemp!.
If you’re a particle angler then groats are well worth a look, I’ve been using them on and off for close on 15 years now and they come in very handy when I find myself in a position to be able to fish the margins of a lake or river. I know I can rely on them to pull carp in when I’m fishing margin swims and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to other north west carp anglers.