Do fish have the ability to smell? It turns out that the olfaction is important for many fish species. They have tiny nostril-like holes called nares which they use to smell the water that flows through these small cavities. They use their sense of smell not just to detect food and chemicals in the water but also to help them avoid predators, find a mate, and direct their migration.
Since fish are capable of smelling, many anglers use scents, also called attractants in fishing. They come in different forms such as sprays, powders, paste, and gel. There is a wide range of scents and flavors like shrimp, crab, sardine, squid, and others to mimic prey and set off feeding response in fish. Some companies even go to the extent of creating attractants made from real fish baits that are incorporated with pheromones and amino acids. They are designed to trick predatory species into thinking that the bait is actual fish bait and trigger them to strike.
Some species are keen on detecting unnatural smell which discourages them from going in for the strike. In fact, humans carry odors on their hands and baits that fish find repulsive that’s why attractants may also be used to mask the human scent and other odors like tobacco, food, sunblock, soap, insect repellent, detergents, petrol, and diesel.
Types of scents or attractants
Spray-on forms usually made of fish food sources are literally sprayed on the bait or lure to make them smell more natural and mask odors that may seem strange to the fish. Components of the spray may include a puree of insects mixed with vegetable oil which allow it to stick better to the bait or lure. When it lands on the water, the essence scatters in the localized area and gets the attention of the fish. It follows the trail of scent which likely induces a strike.
Powder attractants may be utilized by hooking the bait or lure then dipping it into the powder to coat it completely. When you cast it out, the powder dissolves and creates an enticing scented trail full of flavor which is a big come-on for fish. Some recommend applying vegetable oil on the surface of the bait so that the powder can stick better and longer.
Another kind of fishing scent comes in the form of a thick paste which easily sticks to your bait or lure. Paste has the ability to stay longer compared to spray and powder.
Other companies have revolutionized attractants and came up with longer-lasting products such as the gel-form which can stay on lures, soft baits, swimbaits, spoons, and spinners for up to 30 minutes without the need to re-apply the coating. Some gel scents have been re-designed for better performance with the addition of UV enhancement. It’s almost like having a light bulb attached to your lure or bait which provides ultimate visibility. It gets the attention of the predatory species and prompts it to investigate. As it comes closer and gets hold of the scent, the feeding behavior sparks off.
How many times have you gotten fish to inspect your best lures on your spread, only to have them lose interest and turn back without a strike? Although scent is not the only factor that entices a strike, it definitely increases the odds of turning onlookers into takers. The combination of quality attractants, lure color, action, as well as presentation, can boost your striking odds when angling.
Next time you go deep sea fishing in Cabo San Lucas, try coating your lures with attractants to increase the number of strikes from large game fish like tuna, marlin, mahi-mahi, wahoo, and sailfish.