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Scott Brands
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Should You Add Scent To Lures?

Blog by: Scott Brands , CO 4/30/2024

Today I am going to talk about a subject that I have historically kept close to the chest. However, in our internet age I figure that the secret is out, and itís time to let you all in on the role that scent plays in my fishing. I will also dispel some of the misconceptions out there surrounding this topic.

To start off, I will say that all of the research that I have done on this subject relates to bass fishing. Although I apply these concepts to all of my fishing regardless of target species, it is possible that some of the points I am going to bring up only apply to bass.

There are people who will deny that scent plays any roll in fishing success. Most of these anglers have likely tried it a time or two and did not notice any improvement in their catch rates, so they have written scents off as a myth. It is true that simply adding scent is not a guarantee to improve your catch rates, but there is a lot more nuance to this subject than meets the eye. So, it is possible that these anglers have misunderstood the role for which their scent is used for.

I want to start off by separating scents into two categories: water based and oil based. Now there are scents that include oils along with water soluble ingredients so these scents are not always one or the other. Do you remember in school doing a science experiment where a cup was filled with both oil and water? What happened? You could put them both together in the same glass, shake it up, but then theyíd separate. The oil would lay on top of the water. In other words the oil is not water soluble and will not mix with the surrounding water. So if you are using an oil-based scent and are imagining that the scent is going into the water, attracting fish from 30 feet away, you are mistaken. Those fish wonít smell a thing. Another thing you may notice with these scents is you will add them to your bait, cast your lure into the water, and there on top of the lake is all the scent you just added. Oil and water donít mix so youíll see the oil right there on top of the water. So make sure you read up on the ingredients of the scents you intend to purchase.

That brings up the question, ďWhy would anyone buy an oil-based scent?Ē The problem with oil scents is also its strength. If you apply an oil scent to a soft plastic and the scent adheres to the bait, then it is actually masking any other scents that would turn a fish off from biting. So if youíve recently applied sunscreen, mosquito spray, or any other scent that fish actively dislike, then an oil scent may help mask those smells on your lures. Also if it is a scent that contains oils masking bad smells, while also providing water soluble scents that actually go into the water then you have the best of both worlds.

Moving on to water based scents. Since these scents are water soluble, they donít last forever and need to be reapplied after some time. When these scents hit the water they begin to dissolve and do what anglers expect. The scent goes into the water and the fish do indeed smell your lure from further away. Thereís a couple things to consider here. Imagine your lure landing in the water after your first cast. Immediately upon entry that scent starts to dissolve with the strongest smell emanating at that point. That means as you reel in your bait, there is less and less scent coming off your lure. Now if you are fishing in dirty water, and a bass smells the scent, it may follow its nose so that the scent gets stronger and stronger. In that scenario the bass would actually be swimming AWAY from your bait instead of towards it! Now thatís just one possibility. The fact is that we donít just cater to one of the bassí senses. We also appeal to its vision, hearing, and feeling. The hope is that a bass will hear, feel, see, and track down your lure before the scent becomes a factor. Once it gets dialed in to your bait and gets close enough to make a final decision on whether to bite or not, you have a little scent at the end to try and entice that fish into biting.

That is the biggest reason to use scent in my opinion. It is to turn those follows into strikes. Scents are not going to dramatically change your fishing experience in my opinion, but I do believe they will get you an extra strike here and there. For tournament anglers an extra bite here and there can make all the difference in the world.

Lastly, there are many anglers who do think scents work but have still decided not to utilize them. The reason is because they stink so bad! Certain products have garlic smells so strong that your boat, vehicle, garage, hands, clothes, and so on are all liable to taking on these awful smells. If you are going to use these products then precautions may need to be made to avoid this as much as possible. Seal these products up, avoid spills, store them in water tight bags or Tupperware containers. The other option is to use scents that donít smell like anything to us at all. A newer scent on the market called Bait Fuel has been scientifically tested to be appealing to the bassí sense of smell. However, humans hardly smell a thing when they sniff this stuff. There are other similar products out there as well that do the same thing. So do a little research on these scents and make your purchasing decisions wisely!

Blog content © Scott Brands
Blog Comments
SirGreg88, 4/30/2024 12:50:24 PM
I have been known to smash a leftover mealworm from ice fishing and smear it all over my bugger behind a bubble. Dat work gooders!!!
Ajax5240, 4/30/2024 12:50:55 PM
You cannot deny the effectiveness of the Gulp! products! Nor can you deny how nasty that juice is when the lid or bag fails!! haha
Scott Brands (Skookshunter), 4/30/2024 3:53:19 PM
The Gulp and Maxscent products work great and I'm sure the scent has something to do with that!
Scott Brands (Skookshunter), 4/30/2024 3:57:49 PM
Another thing I could have mentioned was how scent keeps fish holding onto your baits longer before spitting them out. Gives you more time to detect the bite and set the hook! There's a few other things I left out as well just to keep the blog semi short!
MAC ATTACK, 5/1/2024 3:31:56 PM
DR. Juice Tournament Trout and Salmon.
Walleye Guy, 5/1/2024 4:45:05 PM
Does anyone combine scents along with the invaluable info provided by the Color-C-Lector? 🤔
kirbydog, 5/20/2024 9:51:46 AM
The color c lector-thought people decided it doesn't work. I'm on a Texas site and seems like just a handful of guys are still using it. Kind of like Roland Martin and his helicoptor lure
nparker, 5/21/2024 5:48:06 AM
I ran this question by an AI app. Using scents on bass lures can be a personal call. While they might provide some advantage in specific situations, they're not a guaranteed way to catch more fish. If you're new to bass fishing, focus on mastering lure presentation and using lures that resemble natural prey. You can always experiment with scents later on to see if they work for you.