All River Hill High School YFS meetings will be held every week on Hawktime at Room #145 (Mr. Childress' room). Thank you.
Scent is the biggest new craze around soft baits these days. Companies regularly create high tech formulas to try to emulate the underwater smells of baitfish. You often see packs of soft baits advertising some exotic new concoction, with ingredients that look like they came from some laboratory. Some people think scents are useless, but many, including me, swear by them. I have noticed more catches and a better hook up ratio when using them (fish on holding on to the bait more). Bass have developed senses of taste, which is why they don't eat twigs and leaves. If they accidentally eat something they weren't supposed to, they will split it out faster than you can blink. It just doesn't taste natural to them.
Above: Adding scent balls to bags of soft baits helps infuse more scent into the baits and add scent to used baits.
Even through the controversy, one thing that scent does for certain is to mask your smells. Human oils, sunscreen, food sauces, bug spray, and motor oil is easily detected by fishes and will repel them. Your soft plastic, no matter how lifelike it may look, will be turned down for a lack due to the unnatural scent. Take my word on this.
Scent, especially if it is oil based, masks these odors, and possibly attracts or entices fish to hold on to your bait longer, so you may get better hooksets. However, scents gets washed off as the bait is in the water, and loses it's effectiveness over it. In addition, many companies don't add enough scent to their baits, and you get a weaker effect. If you were to catch a live, healthy bluegill and smell it, you would find a noticeable fishy smell to it. You need a noticeable smell to your baits.
To add extra scent to my baits, I like to dip cotton balls in scent, and put the balls in the bags of bait. Make sure the cotton is thoroughly saturated, but not dripping wet with scent. The cotton balls with slowly but steady leach out scent, which infuses with the bait, and adds new scent to old and used plastics.
Above: Scent balls can be placed in bags of soft baits for additional scent.
I hope that helps. Also, the idea for this article came from a reader. If any of you out there have any ideas for articles, let me know in the comments section below.
Hooks are the least understood yet one of the most important parts of bass fisherman's arsenal. The type of hook you use determines whether the day is a feast or famine. I think it's safe to say that a third of failed hookups are due to using the wrong hook. The hook you use is sometimes that extra edge you need to win tournaments or catch that new personal best. However, most people spend their time looking at fancy new baits, instead of what's important.
The Extra Wide Gap (EWG) hook is what most people use for their soft plastic, no matter the type. It has an offset bend, to keep plastics from sliding. It has an aggressive bend to hold thick plastics, and the hook point is parallel to the eye, so it is easy to get weedless texas rigs on soft plastics. It works great for larger, thicker baits, such as senkos, topwater toads, beavers, and most creatures, especially in thick brush.
However, there is a drawback to the construction of the EWG. It is the hook point, which is parallel to the eye. It makes the bait more weedless, because it allows for easy, weedless texas rigging, but it makes makes setting the hook hard, unless you are using a larger bait with a large hook. he reason behind this is simple: When a fish strikes, the hook point is not pointing at the mouth, but rather at the eye, so your hooks will miss the fish where you want to hit it. However, with a larger EWG (for larger baits), the fish will instead hit the plastic, and the hook point will penetrate the mouth.
Above: The features of the EWG, explained.
I try not to use the smaller sized EWG often because of that reason, unless there is no other alternative. The hook in larger sizes, such as 3/0, 4/0, 5/0, though, has very good hooksets, and I often use them with larger craws, senkos, topwater frogs, and creatures.
Above: For thinner worms, such as straight tailed finesse worms, use round bend hooks (top) for the best hooksets. As you can see, the EWG hook (bottom) point is in line with the eyelet, rather than sticking upwards, so the hookups on them won't be as great.
Round Bend Hooks
Round bend hooks, while not as popular in recent years as EWG hooks, are a vital part of your arsenal. They, like the EWG, have an offset bend, to prevent the plastic from sliding. But they lack the aggressive bend on the EWG, and their hook point sticks upwards. The upwards slant of the hook point is good and bad. The good part is that it is easier to get good hooksets on the round bend, which increases your catches. It's especially good for smaller plastics, where the fish can't bite down the plastic enough to expose the hook point on an EWG. But the bad part is that round bend hooks often snag easier, especially in dense mats of grass.
Above: The good, and the bad of round bend hooks.
Another negative trait of the round bend is that it lacks the aggressive bend of the EWG. The aggressive bend allows for thicker plastics, such as flukes and senkos, to slide down the shank so you can get a good hook set. Thus, for that reason, I don't use round bend for thicker baits. However, the hook setting advantage of the round bend is undeniable, especially when the fish aren't as feisty. I like to use the round bend for lizards, worms, and other thinner baits.
We all love our spinnerbaits and chatter baits. They are great search baits that work year-round, and produce. Sometimes, there's no bait like a small spinnerbait for catching numbers, and fast. The chatter bait, otherwise know as the bladed swim jig, was a recent upstart that shook the industry, as pros all over BASS and FLW tour caught their limits, way ahead of everyone else. Both of these baits are easy to fish, and are relatively weedless. Everyone has a few of these baits in his/her tackle box, and for a good reason, too.
However, the trailer of the spinnerbait/chatterbait is sometimes just as or more important as the bait itself. The trailer can make or break your trip, as fish favor certain profiles or actions at certain times. Fish also often chew or pull of your trailers. It's often to a have wide and large selection of trailers with you at all times.
Above: Two of my best chatter bait trailers were made from ripped up soft jerkbaits and worms. Simply cut off the tail at an appropriate place, and you got a unique trailer unlike anything the wary lake bass have seen before.
I like to cut off the trails of old or ripped soft plastics to use as trailers. The soft jerk bait-tail is an especially well known and effective chatter bait trailer, as well the claw end of a soft plastic craw. The combinations are endless. The trailers created from old soft plastics are unlike anything the seasoned bass from pressured waters have seen before, and these may tempt them to strike. It's also a very cost effective way of acquiring trailers for your baits, as these trailers are entirely free, made from old or beat up plastics.
The sizes of the baits are customizable, as well. You can cut a bait as long or as short as you want, as the situation dictates. Smaller trailers are good for cold water or post frontal conditions, while larger trailers work great for warm water or otherwise feisty bass.
Hi. I am Ian, an extremely avid bass fisherman living in Howard County, MD. I like to bank fish and fish at local ponds and small creeks. I will explore budget friendly options for people to use in this blog. I hope I can teach you something.