What is that smell? Fish slime may stink to landlubbers but it is the sweet smell of success for kayak anglers. Now, anglers have a new reason to embrace the stench. Modern fish attractants employ high-tech scents and flavors to bring fish to the lure and keep them hooked. Here are a few pro favorites for adding some stink to the bait.
Pro Tips on Fish Attractants and Scents
Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass
North Carolina guide Matt Frazier uses Hog Tonic by PowerTeam Lures for largemouth and smallmouth bass. “You may lose friends because it really stinks,” he jokes. In addition to giving off garlic scent—a proven fish favorite—Hog Tonic is made with amino acids that fish need to survive. When a bass bites Frazier’s lure, the fish senses the amino acids and won’t let go.
Frazier, a Native Watercraft pro, sprays the trailer and skirt of his jigs with Hog Tonic. The scent will last for hours before it needs to be reapplied. He even squirts scent on the bottom of his favorite topwater popper, which he claims results in a 100-percent hook-up ratio.
King Salmon and Brown Trout
Hobie Fishing team member Nick Doumel can be found searching Lake Michigan for king salmon and brown trout. To fire up the bite, Doumel jigs scented plastics. “The scented bait keeps a brown trout hanging on long enough for me to get the hook buried,” he explains. He rigs 3.5-inch Stankx Damsel and SwimZ baits with a 1/2- to 1/4-ounce darter head to jig on 14-pound test fluorocarbon line.
When salmon are tight lipped, Doumel turns to a four-inch Fishing Physics swimbait soaked in herring cure. “The scent is made from real amino acids and worm enzymes, herring, squid, salmon eggs and shrimp.” The solution is water based, so it mixes with water instead of floating to the surface like an oil-based scent.
Lingcod, Rockfish, Halibut and Sea Bass
Chad Britton, a Pro Staff Representative for Wilderness Systems, uses a variety of scents, cures, gels and brines to add scent to natural and artificial baits when bottom fishing off the California coast. “Lingcod and rockfish can’t resist Butt Juice Super Gel,” he says.
Britton even adds artificial scent to natural squid and anchovies to bring in halibut and sea bass. “The artificial scent adds to the bait’s natural smell and taste,” he explains, “and I can add scent as the bait washes out.” Britton fills a sealable bag with a day’s worth of nickel-sized squid chunks and Butt Juice, then freezes the marinade overnight. He tips his swim jigs with a chunk of juiced squid. “The frozen squid absorbs gel as it thaws and releases the scent longer.”
Hungry fish love the smell of fish attractants, so learn to use them the right way. | Feature photo: Ric Burnley