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Some sense on fishing scents

Is it non-scents?

Fishing Scents, Do They Work?I’ve been getting asked a lot lately about scents. How I use them for different lures and water types. When to use them, when not to use them. What scent do I use the most. But the most common question is – Do they actually work?

First thing is, I’ve been using scents for a long time and chances are you have too. You may not even realize it. But most of you do use them. Tons of store bought plastic baits are mixed with some sort of scent or oil. Some are even sold in juice or oil like substance. By now you know that I’m a big believer in scents. Let me explain why I use them and some science behind them. 

There has been lots of research done lately by biologists, doctors, bait companies and even fishermen. Let me share one of there documented factual findings on scents. Dr. Keith Jones of Berkley’s Fish Research Center – performed multiple tests in the Berkley laboratory. He watched 5 Bass strike a quickly moving, unscented Shad Rap 24 times per trial (each trial lasting 5 minutes). When scent was applied to the same lure and presented to the same fish, the same day, the same tank, moments later, the average response almost doubled to 47 strikes per trial.

Bass are heavily dependent on sight hunting, but they can detect scent in the water.

Tests done by bass researcher Dr. Loren Hill show that bass can detect a prey-fish odor source 25 feet away. Only their hearing is capable of greater range under normal water clarity conditions. But their sight is diminished in dirty or stained water. This is when scent starts to become a major factor in a bass feeding frenzy.

Ever seen the movie “Jaws”?

The part when they go hunting for the shark and throw chum/blood in the water to lure it in. Yes, I know…bass aren’t sharks. But think of that when thinking of scents. If you’re working a weed bed and the Bass are deep in or on the back side, then scent can help. Every time you pitch in or around, you’re leaving scent in the water. The scent triggers a feeding response from receptors in their nasal passage and then the hunt is on. I’m not going to get into a break down the biology of their nasal passages or mouth, just know that’s where receptors are located. And remember too, this is for multiple species of fish, not just Bass.

What is in the scents your buying? The active ingredients in most fish attractants are oils extracted from shad, crayfish, baitfish, worms and/or other water-oriented creatures. These oils help to trigger a response and when they bite on your bait, they hold on longer. Some guys I know are always worried about having sunscreen on their hands then touching their lures leaving unwanted scent…but don’t believe scents work.

Really…Come on. Read that last sentence again!

The scents you’re buying also have flavor/masking characteristics that are proven to not repel fish. Garlic, coffee, anise flavors are a few examples. What about species other than bass, will scent help? ABSOLUTELY! Actually there are some fish that rely more heavily on scent to track down there prey. Take catfish for example. Throwing some cut up bait or something stinky up stream on a river is known to draw them to the source. Scent manufacturers offer paste and scent to mix in bait balls or add to cut bait.

Bottom line is every time you go fishing your trying to get the fish to feed.

You’re always looking for something to help you catch more fish. A tool, an edge, an upper hand, a step ahead of the game. Some of you love using scents and others just don’t care, and that’s perfectly fine. But for those of you who want to try scented lures or add scent to your lures, I hope this blog post helped bring some facts about scents. We’re all great fishermen and fisherwomen no matter what the case is because we all share the same passion and have fun doing it. At the end of the day that’s what matters most!

I’m going to end on a quote from a great Angler about why he uses scents.

“Scent is critical and I use coffee-impregnated plastics and real fish scents and natural attractants in Chapstick-like applicators. I use them a lot, but it depends on the technique.” — KVD

MNKFA Board Member Grant CarstonAbout the author:

Grant Carston is a member and director of the Minnesota Kayak Fishing Association. He is on the National Fishing Team for JB’s Fish Sauce and qualifier for the 2016 KBF Championship.

Learn more about Grant at his social media sites:

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Article Note: JB’s Fish Sauce is a sponsor of MNKFA. Get special member deals on their fish scents, learn more here.

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