Making sense of scents is difficult with all of the choices on the market. Hopefully this will hope make sense of selecting scents.
Using Scents and Attractants
Bass are very adaptive creatures and their ability to learn, though not fully understood, has been substantiated by several scientific studies. It is very important to make your presentation as realistic as possible. The use of scents can sometimes fill in that missing piece of the puzzle for the lure you have selected. Scent is also effective at masking offensive odors that may come in contact with your lure. Bacteria from oily hands, hair products, sunscreen, tobacco and other offensive odors and tastes may be masked long enough for you to set the hook. By masking foreign scents and making the lure more appealing you inhibit the ability of the bass to identify your offering as a fraud. I recommend using scents on all lures as long as it doesn’t modify the action or alter the appearance. Consult a local biologist for specific additives that will best complement your local forage base.
A common mistake when anglers begin to create their own concoctions is to add portions of the real thing. Intuitively, it seems like a realistic representation. However, as the natural material begins to decompose and bacteria start to develop (quickly) the scent actually becomes a repellent. Smelly Jelly and BioEdge fishing scents are both based on enzymes and amino acids to create the desired effect.
I use these scent products for a more realistic presentation and better lure retention after the bass takes the lure. The longer the bass retains the lure, the better your chances are for detecting subtle pickups and getting that few extra seconds to make the hook-set before she spits it back out.
The Berkley Gulp! and YUM LPT (Live Prey Technology) are also based on sound science and research, but I prefer not to use them because they are too effective. I know you are probably wondering how that is possible. If you are trying to catch numbers then these products are the best on the market. I have had a 2-pound bass swim from 30 or 40 feet away to gobble up a lure from the face of a bigger bass that I was working. Once that smaller bass is hooked, it will spook every fish in the area. The other main reason that I don’t like the “too realistic” products is because the bass will swallow the lure. Bass occasionally swallow the other products when applied to soft-plastics, but the frequency is much less. If you choose to use either of these products, I don’t recommend dead-sticking the bait on the bottom without watching your line; it will definitely result in a gut-hooked fish.
Another caution when using scents is to stay away from scents that cover too much water. Using attractants that cover too much water will draw in fish from great distances. The problem is that this draws in every fish and usually the most active fish are the smaller juveniles. This is especially true when sight-casting or fishing clear water. Scent should be applied less frequently the clearer the water. You should use just enough to complete the realism of the presentation and act a masking agent.
This article is an excerpt from Kayak Bass Fishing by Chad Hoover