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In-Scent-ing Fish Strikes

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In my most recent Mystery Tackle Box, I received a package of 5″ Sick Sticks from PowerTeam Lures. In it, was a packet of “Hog Tonic,” basically a scent packet. The instructions told me to empty the scent packet of “garlic and amino acids” into the package, wait a few minutes, “then hang on!”

While I was out on a recent outing, I followed the instructions and… damn. I don’t know about any amino acids, but the garlic stunk like someone was trying to keep vampires away–from the next state over. When a drop of the garlic liquid hit the water, it elicited colors like gasoline. I tried casting it once or twice, but couldn’t deal with the smell. I put the package of worms on the bottom of the boat and kept it away from myself and the rest of my tackle for the rest of the night. The bad part is that the smell was on my hands.

The experience prompted a question I’ve been meaning to ask for a while: do these scents really work? Or are they just a gimmick by lure manufacturers to reel in shopping anglers?

Personally, I think scents can add value. But like anything, they need to be used in moderation. It’s like perfume or cologne. Subtlety can really be enticing, but if you pour it on and can smell it from across the room, it repels more than it attracts.

I bought a small bottle of bass attractant on clearance probably 7 years ago, and I still have it. I don’t use it on every outing, but when I do, the way I use it is by rubbing a few drops on my fingers and hands. From that point on, the scent should get on everything I touch. I might rub my scented fingers on a lure, but not always. It’s more of technique to mask any soap or human scent that may be on my hands rather than something I add to a lure.

I noticed that a lot of plastic worms come smelling like anise (black licorice) and others smell of coffee. I don’t know if it’s the scent that makes the difference, but I do catch a lot of fish with those baits. Those baits have decently strong scents, but they aren’t overwhelming.

The PowerTeam garlic packet was just too much. I have kept the entire lure package away from my other baits and it is currently sitting sequestered on my three season porch until I can get around to washing the scent off because I really like the profile of the worms.

Do you use scents? Do you think they really make a difference? Which ones do you use and why?

On a similar note, I wonder about the salt that every lure manufacturer seems to add to their plastics these days. Does salt really make a difference on how long a fish holds on to a lure?

Image courtesy MN Angler

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