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Making sense of scents
  |  First Published: August 2004



IN PREVIOUS articles I have written about how to fish soft plastic lures, particularly when bass do not react to hard lures such as spinnerbaits and crankbaits.

I wrote an article in NSW Fishing Monthly last year about the tunekichi (drop-shot) rig and someone won a Lake St Clair bass tournament using this rig not long afterwards. And I was very pleased to find out that my Tad rig (NSWFM August 2003) has proven a success for some anglers on Lake Windamere.

Now I want to write about scents.

First of all, a big question: Which scents are most successful for Australian bass fishing?

Many anglers like using a hard lure with its appealing vibration and flashes of light, which have strong appeal for bass. A hard lure often offends the bass because of the strong appeal from vibration and flash so a bass bites at a hard lure with remarkable speed and it doesn’t need scent to react.

However, a soft plastic lure with scent is very effective in the low water temperatures of Winter. There have recently been soft plastic lures marketed with scent and taste cooked in.

I have been observing two bass in an aquarium tank for some time. When I gave worms and insects to the bass, I saw that the fish jabbed the bait with its nose several times before opening its mouth and biting the food. The bass also bites the food several times to confirm that it is OK to eat before swallowing it. A bass spits out the bait if it feels suspicious.

These two actions of bass that I confirmed in the aquarium tank clarify the importance of scents and taste for soft plastics.

So what kind of scent is effective to induce a bite from bass? If I grind up worms, small fish or crayfish into the soft plastic lure, it is very effective. However, it is easier and quicker to forget the lure and just use the bait and hook.

A lot of scents have recently been marketed in fishing tackle shops in Australia. The fish can smell the scent in the water and feel its attraction. When they bite they can taste the lure and think it is good to eat.

I always have several kinds of scents when I go bass fishing. This is because the scents that bass like might differ from day to day.

As well as the scent, it is good to change the lure action, lure colour and speed of retrieve throughout the day.

COLOURING

Many people say garlic scents are very effective. I use Spike-It Garlic Dip-N-Glo in yellow andclear versions. I use yellow when the light is poor or water visibility is low, although when the light is bright and the water clear, I use the colourless scent. If the bass is ignoring the clear, I may change to yellow to attract their attention.

When you go fishing in Lake St Clair or Lake Glenbawn, you can buy both Spike It Dip-N-Glow colours at Mackaway Tackle in Singleton.

I have used Pro-Cure Garlic Crawfish Bait Sauce in a bass fishing tournament. To use this, insert a little in a click-zip plastic bag and soak a soft plastic lure overnight. By soaking a lure in Pro-Cure Garlic Crawfish Bait Sauce overnight, the lure becomes soft and the smell attached firmly.

I came 12th in the Lake St Clair NSW Pro Bass tournament in October 2003 by using lures with this scent. I participated in the NSW Pro Bass tournament and was able to get acquainted with a lot of the top tournament anglers.

Almost all top prize-winning professionals use scent.

MASKING HUMAN ODOUR

I heard a precious conversation from Jayson deForrest-Haddeton, who is always close to the top in major tournaments. He also thinks scents are important for bass fishing. He often uses garlic scents, too. He thinks human hands, and especially the smell of cigarettes, affect fish and he recommends washing your hands before beginning fishing.

Jayson uses Queen Natural Aniseed Essence on his hands to mask traces of human scents. Jayson and I took out champion boat prize at the NSW Pro Bass Morpeth tournament earlier this year, with thanks to using our scented lures.

Tom Weiers, who won the 2003 NSW Pro Bass tournament, begins fishing after he puts Marz Secret Weapon on his hands.

Trevor Stead, who came second in the NSW Pro Bass final on Lake Glenbawn, usesBerkley PowerBait Trout Dip on a lure before every cast. Even ‘Mr Tournament Tim’ (Morgan), whom I fished with some time ago, used Spike-It and I learnt to use this scent from Tim.

Although Trump Scent is available only in Japan, it is very effective for bass fishing. It has no garlic but is a mix of worms, crayfish, and other things. I believe this mix of scents can be very effective.

I suggest you try Pro-Cure Garlic Crawfish Bait Sauceifthe bass are not showing any interest in other scents. You may be surprised at how many bass you catch.

But, please, do not leave your click-zip bags at your fishing spot when you stop fishing. If someone finds it, they may think I or some reader of Fishing Monthly left the rubbish there. Next time I will introduce my collection of spinnerbaits and the delicate techniques for their use that all the successful bass anglers use. Although you may be able to use a soft plastic effectively when bass activity is low, a spinnerbait is more suitable when bass activity is high and if you want to catch monster bass. Please email me at --e-mail address hidden-- you have any questions.

Thank you for reading my article.

Facts

How to attach scent to your lure

I have already told you how to use Pro-Cure Garlic Crawfish Bait Sauce by placing it in the zip-lock bag.

I sometimes use a syringe and needle to insert scent into the plastic lure. When buried into a soft lure, the scent is infused by the needle and will last for many casts.

To use Spike-It Dip-N-Glow, dip the lure in the mix for only a few seconds. This mix is very powerful and if you leave your lure in it too long, it will damage the plastic and the lure will break. Spike-It also has pen applicators for detailed colouring work and they also have a garlic scent.

Squirt spray scent over the lure just before it is cast. Do not allow the lure to touch the water again before you cast because the scent will begin to wash away. A lot of spray scents will wash off with ease so you will need to reapply often. But if you are catching fish this is only a small task.

Goo-type scents can be worked into your lure. Again, try the zip-lock bag and squeeze the goo together with your plastics or smear it on them with your finger. You can also use these scents on spinnerbaits and crankbaits to cover them for a lasting scent. Maybe the human scents on your fingers will be disguised by them, too.

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