A fish’s ability to smell is 1000 times better than that of a dog, and fish can smell scents from hundreds of yards away. Even though bass tend to feed by sight, sound and vibration via their lateral line predominantly, smell still is 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.
In this article we take a look at some of the best bass attractants on the market, 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).
The BANG attractant is one of the best bass attractants out there. One of the things that makes this attractant so great is its made completely from non synthetic materials, it is a natural oil that is completely rendered from real fish. Bang features its scented formula in an aerosol can as well as a spray bottle for ease of use and as little waste of the product as possible. Field tested my Professional and tournament anglers, who consistently reported my bites and a significant increase in fish activity when using this compared to using no scent.
This list would not be complete without Gulp on the list. 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! Using scents and and flavors of popular prey, and loved by not only bass anglers, but walleye and panfish anglers alike. Gulp Alive is an attractant that has stood the test of time and being up on top is a testament to its effectiveness. Berkley also offers this product in a spray bottle, or with their soft plastic lures already in the container, completely infused with the attractant.
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 covers 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 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 Which oddly enough, is extremely effective at bass fishing. The folks at Smelly Jelly also claim that it will stay active longer than other attractants on the market. Requiring you to use less of it and save. 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 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 have shown to have great success with anglers.
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.
How should I apply attractant to a lure?
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.
Does attractant affect your catch rate?
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?
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 this stuff to Craw imitations of Soft plastic swimbaits like paddle tails, you’re sure to see a difference in the amount of fish you put in the boat.