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.
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.