It’s a question basically older than time itself- are lure scents actually useful, or make a difference? I’m sure Jesus and the disciples used to use lure scent back in the day, or at least argued its worth! Today, there are literally dozens of scents available in Australia, and many more overseas. Let’s take a look at the main types of scents, and why you would, or wouldn’t, use them.
The most obvious advantage of a scent is that your lure smells more natural to the fish. Many fish, especially in dirty water, or at night, or species such as sharks, will struggle to be able to see or feel a lure travelling through the water. Scent boosts the amount of distance a fish can detect a lure from. Once close to the plastic, the scent will increase the natural appearance of the lure and further convince the fish to eat. Rather than a chemical smelling piece of plastic in front of them, the fish now has a natural smelling lure presented. And once the scent has done it’s job, the fish is more likely to hold onto the plastic longer. As Berkley says about their Powerbait range; “Makes fish hold on 18x longer!”. Certain scents (eg S-Factor, Gulp Gel, Bait Sauce) have the added advantage of UV, which is another debate in it’s own! Regardless, UV has been proven to be visible to fish, so adding UV to a lure simply boosts it’s visibility to the fish. If you do a lot of night fishing or dirty water fishing, try a scent with UV. The other bonus of scents is the ability to mask human odours on the lure- maybe sunscreen, sanitiser, petrol or sweat. This can only be a bonus, masking out these smells!
In the Tackle Shack, there are four types of gel scents we sell, which are easily the most popular scent type. The Pro Cure range is available in two varieties, the Bait Sauce and the Super Gel. The Super Gel is the original, which anglers may be used to seeing in the classic white and yellow bottles. Super Gel is a light brown colour no matter the variety, and has a strong flavour/scent which is available in several flavours. The most popular for general saltwater/estuary is the Mullet and Sardine/Pilchard, whilst Inshore Yabby is absolutely deadly for bream. Bait Sauce is new for 2020, being avaliable in a taller bottle. The main differences are the addition of colour, and UV, into the classic Super Gel flavours. The most popular types are Pilchard/Sardine (green) and Bloody Tuna (red). Bait Sauce is also deadly for adding to real baits, with good bags of whiting and bottom fish reported. Pro-Cure is known for being super sticky and holding onto your lure for hours, with a very strong natural scent. I would recommend Pro-Cure as the best saltwater or estuary scent. S-Factor by Squidgies is also very popular, especially in the freshwater. S-Factor, being opaque white/clear, adds a lot of UV, but the flavour isn’t quite the same as Pro-Cure, being a fairly dull smell, not fishy at all. In freshwater, I have had great success throwing S-Factor especially on trout, redfin and natives, as it offers a universal scent not designed for saltwater. Gulp Gel is a brand new one for 2020, and whilst still too new to offer a useful review on, it seems quite comparable to S-Factor. I will be keen to try this newcomer over the summer.
Sprays aren’t as popular down this way as gels, but there is one fishery they really stand out- squid. Squid have been proven time and time again to love scent, and very few squid jigs on the market offer scent. Standard gels will stick to the cloth of the jig and can eat away at it over time, ruining a good jig. Sprays will fix this issue, providing scent whilst at the same time not damaging the jig. The new Pro-Cure Egilicious spray looks to be a real winner as a spray scent.
Who hasn’t thrown, and caught fish on, a Gulp plastic over the years? Gulps are famous for being jam packed with scents, as in the packaging they lay soaking in it. Many anglers have noted Gulps producing more fish in a tough session than a standard plastic- this can be attributed to the scent. A few of the other known scented plastics stocked in the Tackle Shack include Juro Firebaits, Daiwa Bait Junkies, Berkley Powerbaits, and Scented Z-Mans. These lures come pre-scented out of the pack, no scent needs to be applied for the first hour or so of fishing with one.
So do scents really work? Many scientific tests have been done, and other articles written, and many anglers done comparisons on the water. It’s a topic that will always be debated, but in my mind, they work wonders. Many times while trout fishing I have had a fish continually follow, but not eat, an unscented lure, only to eat first cast once scent is applied. While bream fishing, I have seen one angler struggle, while the same lure with scent on another’s rod is continually being eaten. Next time you’re on the water with a mate, put scent on your lure and make sure he leaves his unscented- and the results will speak for themselves.