Jun 26, 2012, 11:48 AM EDT
The effectiveness of scents on baits for bass has long been debated among bass angling circles. Well, here is my 2 cents on the scent debate.
Although most soft plastics come pre-scented with every flavor under the sun, let’s start out by saying I do like to use added scent, at least some of the time.
When tying on baits the night before a tournament, I will often fill my tubes with gels or apply some scent to my jig trailers – why not, I’ve got the time. I really don’t see much downside to using scent on baits other than the time it takes to apply and re-apply. That being said, in a tournament situation, time is often your biggest enemy. Still, I usually like to use scent in tournaments. However, if they really seem to be biting or taking my baits on the initial drop, I don’t bother.
I often turn to fish attractants when fish are nipping, following or short-striking my baits. If a scent can coax a bass to hold bait a little longer, take it a little deeper, or turn a looker into a biter, it can be worth its weight in gold. Scents can also act as a lubricant so your bait comes through heavy cover and grass with less resistance and less hang ups.
I generally use scents on slow-moving presentations, although I will use them also on reaction baits when I’m getting follows or non-committal bumps – much like Byron Velvick lathered his swimbaits in secret sauce in his Clear Lake win.
Scents can mask unnatural scents baits might have naturally or pick up from you, the truck or boat. Garlic, shad, crawfish and many others – so many to choose from – just use one you like and have confidence in. My on-the-water research indicates smallies have an unhealthy affinity for garlic scents.
I generally like aerosol sprays and thicker gels – something that will quickly cover a bait or a gel that sticks well and needs less re-application.
The next time the bite is a little tough, try some secret sauce of your own and see if you get a few more bites than your buddies.
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