Woods and Waters USA
Column: TBB/Oct 2012
Author: Bill Decoteau

“Scents make Sense”
By Billy “Hawkeye” Decoteau

In a fishing world where just about everyone has a “Better Bait or Catches More Bass because...” the subject of Fish Scents seems to always surface? I can’t help but think of an old commercial cliché’ “My Dog is Bigger than your Dog, because my Dog eats................” You get the idea you must utilize their product...........or else!
So it seems with fishing attractants, every attractant manufacture claims to have discovered the secret ingredient mixed within their secret formula that will get fish to eat your scented coated artificial every time. Obviously, not every lure works every time enticing fish on every cast, nor does every scented bait!
Professional anglers refer to fishing attractants as a ‘Tool’. Fishery Biologist and B.A.S.S. Bassmaster Elite Angler Mark Menendez, (www.MarkMenendez.com) is by far one of the most educated anglers when it comes to understanding the underwater world of the Black Bass. “Bass are predators, utilizing a variety of ways to identify, locate and inhale their prey. Therefore, it’s imperative for savvy anglers to address all of their senses when enticing bass to eat your baits!”
Continuing Menendez, pointed out the obvious senses; Sight...the visual natural forage mimicking appearance and movement, Lateral Line.....the ability for bass to feel the actual movement of it’s prey and location at any time in any condition, Inner Ear.......hearing your bait or natural forage moving within the water column, Taste...does it taste right and belong in the bass environment? And, then there is the Olfactory Gland, the sense of smell. This is one area many anglers either just avoid or simply do not believe in?
Reflecting on Mark Menendez’s fishery biology classroom information, I flipped the Skeeter/Yamaha Pro Staffer this question, it appears that in many situations the Black Bass actually utilizes several of these natural predatory senses? “Absolutely! For example, within dirty water situations, the sense of sight is diminished; therefore the lateral line, inner ear and olfactory glands become more prevalent to feeding.”
When bass are on a feeding frenzy, just about anything will catch them! Thus, how I was told the metal spoon type lures were discovered? A dropped tablespoon over the side of the boat, flashed the attention of a near by bass, which in turn stop one feeding frenzy on board and started another underwater!
Menendez enlighten me to the fact bass do not always chase your bait because they are hungry. “There are predatory bites, where in a bass inhales your bait due to their inhered instincts. Territorial bites when your bait comes through their protective area, and of course protective bites for survival of the hatch during the spawning season.”
Pondering the why’s and why not’s for utilizing a fish attracting scent, I decided to do a little searching into the fishing guide arena, and give a call to a local saltwater captain. After all these folks are all honest enough to admit they utilize live bait when the bite gets tough it’s their business!
Contacting Charter Boat Captain John Planeta of Marlborough, CT.
(www.FranksLiveBait.com), this light line in-shore salt-water specialist opened my eyes to something I never gave thought to! When I questioned Captain Planeta on the use of fish attractants. “That is exactly what chumming is..............100% natural fish attractant!” Continuing, “It’s imperative to know the forage within your area, especially when targeting a specific fish species,” added Captain Planeta. “My livelihood depends on my clients catching fish, and there are times when the bite is extremely slow or so subtle, such as vertical jigging spoons, the average angler will never know they have a fish. This is when I will coat their lure with a 100% natural fish attractant. Pausing, “I have even coated live bait, that has died or been chopped up just to increase their appeal to finicky fish.”
In the days of the old ‘Lowrance Green Box’, Canadian smallmouth guides would troll artificial lures behind their boats to locate schools of smallmouth, once located these top guides then utilized live bait in the form of crayfish and shiners. When their clients arrived the guides rotated from spot to spot. In most situations clients wanted to utilize some form of artificial. However, when the artificial bite diminished these knowledgeable Canadian guides turned to 100% natural fish attractants............Crayfish and Shiners to keep their customers coming back!
Tournament practice is based upon locating the baitfish, along with bass holding cover and structure. Recently, two highly proficient Canadian tournament anglers, Pete Garnier and Rob Lafleur mirrored similar techniques utilized by old-school Canadian guides.
Practicing for the coveted 2012 Bass Mania Classic on Canada’s Rice Lake, eventual Bass Mania Classic Champions Garnier and Lefluer turned to their modern day highly efficient electronic sonars. Locating basketball size boulders in eighteen feet, surrounded by large schools of baitfish, they marked the GPS Waypoints.
Their forage base was natural lake shiners, so when the smallmouths became less aggressive Garnier and Lefluer turned to BioEdge’s 100% Natural Shiner Potion. “A key reason for our victory was making the correct presentation with our Drop-Shot rigs within the structure. As the shiners filtered on and off the boulders the smallmouths followed. I am totally convinced our application of BioEdge Shiner attractant played a major role in our success,” claims Pete Garnier. Adamantly adding, “Especially when comparing our catch ratio to the outstanding competitors within the same areas!”
As a Fishing-Tool, forage attractant scents may be applied to artificial baits for a variety of reasons to enhance your presentation and increase your hook-up ratio. Leaving a scented trail as your bait moves through the water column, baits coated with scent such as BioEdge will slide through thick vegetation easily, when working top-water frogs over matted grass a slicked up frog presents a more natural presentation while a frog scented attractant is forecasting it’s location. Coating a jig head and hook with a Crayfish BioEdge Wand will appeal to a bass’s Sense of Taste!
According to Peter Cowin of BioEdge, there is a slow deterioration rate of the most important extracts of oils, pheromones, enzymes, amino acids and steroids, when BioEdge products are left in extreme heat, or constant marginal temperature changes. For this reason all BioEdge products have a shelve life rating on the packaging.
Like changing your line regularly, proficient anglers need to keep their fish attractants within the attractants effective dated range for maximum results. The very best fish attractant products, such as BioEdge (www.BioEdgefishing.com), will last for one season under normal tournament conditions.
Believing fish attractant is indeed another important must have fishing tool, it seems only logical savvy bass anglers will want some on their bass boats!
Bless and Best Bassin