Do those fishing sprays, pastes, and liquids that you apply to your lures really work? The answer to this question is: "yes they do." Some much better than others.
If you're a tournament angler, and you don't apply some kind of fish attractant on your lures you may be missing out on some action. I'm not saying that if you apply fish attractants on your lures you're going to catch a fish on every cast. But, fish attractants will, help you to get more bites. In addition, they mask other odors that may actually repel fish.
How many times have you fished a tough tournament, and wished you had caught just one or two more keepers to get: points, in the money, or even win the event, but didn't use any kind of fish attractant on your lures. Think about it, for a moment. If you were fishing a one-day event that's 2 extra bites, a two-day event 4 extra bites, etc . I don't know about you, but fish don't come easily for me. I have to work to get every one that goes into my livewell. Therefore, I always apply fishing attractants to my baits. Bottom line, I want those extra bites each day. So I try to stimulate two more senses in Mr. Bass whenever I'm presenting a bait; the sense of smell and ultimately the sense of taste.
Bass Biology 101
A bass has a very small brain in comparison to the human brain. A bass isn't dumb, but it's not smart either by the human definition. A bass basically has three purposes in its lifecycle eating, surviving, and reproducing. Bass simply interpret environmental stimuli, then react to it. Bass are very territorial by nature, but also very alert to changes in their environment.This same creature is also capable of conditioned behavioral responses.
Dr. Loren Hill studied and documented conditioned behavior in bass while he was doing studies for the development of the Color-C-Lector
Bass are undoubtedly very complex creatures.
Reactions to any environmental stimuli including artificial lures can be directly related to three senses. These senses are mechanoreception (the use of their lateral line, hearing, and touch senses), photoreception (their use of vision), and chemoreception (use of their senses of smell and taste).
Biologically speaking, chemoreception is further broken down into two categories: olfaction (sense of smell), and gustation (sense of taste).
Let's analyze the subject matter of fish olfaction (their sense of smell). Bass have two nostrils on each side of their snout. One is the anterior nostril and the other one is the posterior nostril. Water will flow into the anterior nostril, over the olfactory nerves, and back out through the posterior nostril. There is no link between these sets of nostrils and their throat. As the water flows across the olfactory nerves, a message is sent to the brain, where the scent is then interpreted as either a positive or negative scent.As fish mature, their senses of smell and taste become even more sensitive.
Fish use their sense of smell in many different ways: to locate spawning areas, feeding areas, predator awareness, and even their schoolmates in open water.
Have you ever been catching schooling fish, then have one hooked deep enough that it was bleeding when you released it? Most often in this case, the school probably stopped feeding shortly after you released the fish. Do you know why the frenzied fish stopped? The schoolmate released a chemical known as schreckstoffen. Schreckstoffen is sensed by the other fish in the school through chemoreception, and interpreted as a negative scent by the brain.
SMELLS THAT REPEL
Yet another negative smell is the smell of another predator. In lakes that contain northern pike and muskie the bass is definitely not at the top of the food chain. Big bass will hang with these "toothy critters of the North," but in most cases the smaller to average size bass will try to avoid all contact if possible.
We all carry a scent through our skin that repels fish. This scent is an amino acid called L-Serene. L-Serene is a very strong fish repellent, and will definitely induce negative responses from fish.
Sometimes a fisherman's occupation can also cause negative reactions from bass. How? If you work with a variety of oils in your job every day it's hard to keep your skin from absorbing these oils day in and day out. One problem oil that is a particularly strong repellent is creosote.
Fishing attractants definitely are employed in my tournament gameplan, on all my lures, but what about other tournament anglers? Am I the "Lone Ranger"?
Nineteen ninety-nine Red Man Regional qualifier Brian Roberts uses attractants in his arsenal. "I use attractants more as a cover scent, than as an attractive bite" explained Roberts. He doesn't readily apply attractants to fast moving lures such as crankbaits and spinnerbaits, but he was quick to point out that he applies attractants on a jigs and worms.
Fishing pressure can cause bass to respond negatively to baits as well. Scientific studies have proven that bass are capable of conditioned behavior. Compound conditioned behavior with a sore mouth, and some noise, and you have the formula for pressured fish or "Lockjaw." Pressured fish are a tough nut to crack, but scents can help, when "Lockjaw" takes over.
"When fish are pressured, scents help to increase the number of pick-ups you get" said 2000 B.A.S.S. Northern Divisional qualifier John Gustin. "I also believe they hold onto the bait longer if you apply scent," added Gustin. Gustin's home lakes, receive a lot of fishing pressure. However, through little "tricks of the trade" like using scents, Gustin has become very good at catching finicky, pressured bass.
There are many brands of attractants being manufactured in the industry: They all have some kind of data to back-up their product's effectiveness and they all work to some degree.
In my opinion, the best scent on the market today is KICK-N-BASS. This amazing formula is by far the most powerful attractant on the market today. The research for KICK-N-BASS was conducted over 10+ years by chemist Ken Cross. KICK-N-BASS was not a "rush to the market" product/project like you see so much in the industry today.
The difference between KICK-N-BASS and other attractants is in the fishing. KICK-N-BASS gets their attention, then when a bass picks up a lure with KICK-N-BASS applied the flavor literally explodes in their mouth, and they wont let go.
However, some tournament fishermen still do not use any attractant, simply because it takes time out from fishing to apply scent on baits and/or theyre not convinced that scents really work.
Using fishing attractants may not get you a fish on every cast, but they serve many purposes. They mask many negative smells, and draw fish to your baits. If you don't currently use a fishing attractant on your baits, you might want to reconsider. A couple extra bites a day can mean a lot in a tournament, and throughout the year on a circuit.
One thing for sure, applying attractant to your baits definitely will not hurt.
By Jerry Drazer
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