Scent Applications (bait oils, water soluble, gels, bait additives)
By Jason Brooks
If you have ever stood in the isle of a sporting goods store where the bait scents are kept you might have thought to yourself how can you decide on which one to use. Just about every scent you can think of, along with different colors, and styles such as: gels, sauces, bait oils, water soluble oils, jelly’s and then there’s the additives like Monster Bite, Slam-O-Powder, krill powder, tuna powder, UV enhancers and the list goes on. Each of these products have their own purpose to help you catch more fish. Here are a few things that might help you in deciding what to use, how to use it, and when to use it.
Sauces are becoming a popular scent product much like gels and used the same way. Both gels and sauces are thick and stick to lures. Anglers who like to throw hardware such as spoons and spinners should use sauces and gels as the don’t wash off easily. A few drops will last a long time. Plug anglers also often use sauces and gels as it will stick in the eyes of the hooks and eyelets as well as the bill which causes a scent trail to disperse as the plug wiggles. The main drawback of the gel or sauce is that you must wash your gear at the end of the day otherwise the products tend to gum up the lures and collect dirt and debris. A good soaking in some warm, soapy water at the end of the day helps keep your gear clean.
Bait oils are what most of us use when we drift fish bait or yarnies. Any kokanee or trout angler realizes how much those fish like corn, so corn oil is often used as the base. From there other scents are added such as herring oil, anchovy oil, shrimp oils or salmon egg oil. These oils mix well with the vegetable base. Because the oils float once released anglers often use them in techniques that can hold the oils such as in yarn, squirted on salmon eggs and soaking their slinky weights.
Water soluble oils are a lot like bait oils but instead of floating in water they mix with it. This creates a very effective scent trail that stays low with the gear in the current. Soluble oils can also be put onto materials such as marabou and it won’t matt it down or affect how they work in water, which is why it is very popular to use when floating jigs. One thing to remember is that since it mixes with water it also washes out quickly so you must reapply after just a few casts.
Additives are things you add to your bait to trigger a bite. Amino acids, nitrates, and sulfites are the most common but also krill powder, tuna powder and even freeze dried and powdered sand shrimp are often added to baits to entice the bite. Most of these are added to your choice of bait at the beginning of the day or even the night before. This means you need to have a few containers with the additive of choice and a few without just in case the steelhead don’t like the extra scents. Ultra-violet light penetrates deeper into the water especially on cloudy, dark winter days. By adding a UV dye to your lure or bait it gives it a brighter profile.
Now that you know what each of these products are designed for you can make a better choice when purchasing them. It will take a bit of the confusion out of what is needed for the days fishing. Or if you are like me, it means I will need a variety of products to use with all the ways I like to chase after my favorite fish.