A fish’s sense of smell is 1000 times better than that of a dog, and fish can smell scents from hundreds of yards away. That’s why a fish attractant is an important part of an angler’s arsenal for a range of species, including bass.
Even though bass tend to feed by sight, sound and vibration via their lateral line predominantly, scent is still an important factor for bass and feeding.
Bass have a tendency to hold onto scented baits longer than unscented and that can be a huge deciding factor of the number of fish caught, as they wont have a tendency to drop the bait quickly.
Best bass attractant: Overview
In this article we take a look at some of the best attractants for bass fishing, and our pick as to which is the best (our top vote goes to Berkley Gulp ALIVE! – read on to find out why, and which other scents are worth considering).
Our Top Pick
Gulp ALIVE! Attractant is one of the most well known and trusted attractants on the fishing market, and the stuff flat out works. This stuff will enhance your soft baits, hard baits, or even live bait! It’s loved by not only bass anglers, but walleye and panfish anglers alike.
The BANG is a great attractant for bass. One of the things that makes this fish attractant so great is it is a natural scent made completely from real fishing instead of synthetic materials.
Bang features its scented formula in an aerosol can as well as spray bottles for ease of use and as little waste of the product as possible. Bass Assassins Bang scent is field-tested by professional bass fishing tournament anglers, who consistently reported more bites and a significant increase in fish activity when using this compared this fish scent compared to using no scent.
This list would not be complete without Gulp on the list. Gulp ALIVE! Attractant is one of the best bass attractants on the fishing market, and the stuff flat out works. This stuff is a great lure enhancement to put on your soft baits, stick worms, hard baits, or even real bait! Using scents and and flavors of popular prey, and loved by not only bass anglers, but walleye and panfish anglers alike.
Gulp Alive is a fish attractant that has stood the test of time and being up on top is a testament to its effectiveness. Berkley, the makers of the legendary Berkley Powerbait, also offers this product in a spray bottle, or with their lures already in the container, completely infused with the attractant read to slot into your tackle box.
Baitmate classic is another all natural attractant, and uses fish oils to create a scent that a bass will find irresistible. Pheromones stimulate the fish you want to catch, while the anise in the recipe will cover up any unwanted scents present on the lure. The combination of the two will trigger the fish’s instincts and make them bite. Baitmate also offers several different flavored and scented fish attractants that work on anything from pan fish to catfish.
Smelly Jelly is currently one of the most popular fish attractants on the market today. Smelly Jelly comes in multiple different flavors such as salmon, garlic, anise, and even a bass scent. The folks at Smelly Jelly also claim that it will stay active longer than other fish attractants on the market. It is easy to use and requires comparatively little of the product so you can save money. It works great on worms, jigs and hard baits as well.
Fishsticks is fairly unique on this list because it is actually liquid free. No liquid means this fish attractant is easy to use and you’re less likely to make a mess, you don’t have to worry about leaking containers in your boat, or on you. Using scent from the real deal the Fishsticks come in two different scents and flavors: Crayfish and Shad, both being excellent and the preferred forage for largemouth bass. And they have been shown to be great lure enhancements for anglers serious about bass fishing.
With the Spike-It dip-n-glow you can dip your soft plastic baits in and it will permanently dye the colors to whatever color you want. Got white soft plastic grub tails? Dip the tail in the chartreuse scented lure dye and you got an awesome two tone color instantly. The Spike-It Dip-n-Glow comes with a garlic scent, a crayfish scent, or the best of both worlds, the crawlic scent, which combines both crayfish and garlic scent to really get the olfactory sensors of those bass working overtime. Dip-N-Glow has been around for about 25 years now, and its ability to change or modify lure colors on the fly, and still having a power scent has given anglers the edge on the water.
For success with bass, many successful anglers swear by Pro-Cure Shrimp Super Gel. It is made from 100 percent natural materials, is UV enhanced and packed with amino acids to trigger fish pheromones. It is a good choice if a crawfish scent isn’t getting the job done, as the Super-Gel is made purely from prawns and shrimp, offering a good point of difference.
See also: Different types of bass lure explained
Bass Attractants: FAQs
What kind of scents attract bass?
Scents based on fish or bass’ natural food such as crawfish are a great choice of attractant for bass and a perfect lure enhancement. It makes sense right? But leading attractant manufacturers have also discovered that strong scents such as anise (liquorice type smell), salmon and garlic also work very well to lure bass in any body of water.
Bass Lures: How often should I apply attractant?
There’s really no wrong way to apply scent to a lure. With the spray bottle offerings that many companies offer, you just aim and shoot. After you fish with a lure that you have applied attractants to it’s a good idea to refresh it if you continue fishing with it, there isn’t a set amount of time with this, just re apply at your own discretion, this helps keep your lure potent and continues to pull fish into your area.
What other species respond to scent attractants?
Most species will react to scent, some more than others. Species like trout, walleye, catfish, carp, crappies and bluegills are all known to respond pretty positively to scents. Other species like pike and musky rarely rely on their sense of smell to hunt for prey, and most anglers for these two species rarely if ever use scent.
Are there any downsides to using attractant?
There really aren’t any downsides to speak of using scent, it’s just an additional tool you can use to entice more fish to bite. For beginner bass anglers, who are just learning about where the find bass and how to work their lures, it is particularly important.
The only downside we can think of is the fact that it can be messy, containers can spill, or leak in the boat or your tackle boxes. You could get it on your shirt or hands, but these issues are fairly minor and is more of an irritation.
Why use an attractant?
While you don’t need attractants to catch fish, there are certainly times where there is a difference in catch rates when you start using them on a given day. These can be days when the fishing is particularly tough and you really have to entice fish to eat by giving them something different that they normally might not sense. Sometimes all it takes to turn things around is something like an attractant to give you an extra edge, and if it doesn’t affect your fishing in a negative way, why not give it a shot?
How to apply bass attractants?
In simple terms, do what it says on the tin. The trick is in choosing the attractant that suits you – gel attractants require you to smear the fish attractant on the lure, whereas a spray attractant you can hang the lure from the line and give it a squirt.
How do I get the attractant scent off my hands?
This is a popular complaint among bass fishermen and women. No one likes the lingering smell of fish attractant being on your fingers while you are on the water. It’s especially unpleasant if you put your finger to your face or mouth for whatever reason. You can some scent off by washing your hands in the water, but we like to carry a tube of alcohol based hand sanitiser to clean the attractant off properly.
Different types of attractant for bass?
The different types of bass attractant include:
Base: water-based or oil-based formulas
Ingredients: synthetic and natural ingredients
Application method: spray on scents, gels and pastes
Can you apply scent to all types of lure?
The answer to this one is yes! Scent is more easily absorbed and lasts longer on soft baits, but you can apply scent to all types of lures including spinnerbaits, spinners, blades, spoons, jerkbaits, chatterbaits, topwater lures and jigs. Scent is really important when you are ice fishing to draw the fish to your chosen location.
See also: Best ways to rig plastics for bass
Final thoughts on scents for bass
As we mentioned, our pick for the best bass attractant goes to the Berkley Gulp ALIVE! Attractants. When you couple Alive with Berkleys soft plastics which are dedicated to this attractant, it can be a serious weapon in your bass fishing arsenal. When it comes to other species it has outperformed live bait in outings, and adding any of the scents above to craw imitations or Soft plastic swimbaits like paddle tails, you’re sure to see a difference in the amount of fish you put in the boat or kayak. One other option to use is the Baitcloud range of biodegradable pellets that release a cloud of scent when thrown in the water to bring fish closer to the area you are fishing.