Does scent really work? Fishing lures today come impregnated with scent, covered in salt or anglers add scent through sprayed and other substances to the lure itself. The answer is not a simple yes or no answer. It seems to work sometimes, then other times it does not.
Can Fish Smell in the Water?
Fish species have sensory organs that allow them to process chemical signatures in the water. The key here is the chemicals have to be dissolved in the water so fishing scents and attractants that are oil based are not likely to be picked up by a fish's nose.
Just like catfish can recognize stink bait, other fish species can identify scents in the water. This chemoreception ability gives a fish a sense of what is around them and acts as a warning system for danger more than a system for finding food. This is why it is important to keep your hands free of scent or heavy odors like gas.
When Fishing Scents and Attractants Work
For fish that are non-aggressive, scent helps and works. When you are working a tube, jig or worm slowly to fish that are not biting in a fury, every little bit helps. For instance, adding some crawdad scent to a Smallie Spin hair jig can give it that extra pop it needs to be productive in slow fishing conditions like late fall. In addition, bass will often hold a soft plastic fishing lure that has fishing scent or attractant on it spilt second longer giving you a little extra time to set the hook.
When Fishing Scents and Attractants Don't Work
Aggressive fish could care less and for that matter have no time to pick up on the scent of your fishing lure. When you are using a spinnerbait, crankbait or twitching a fluke scent doesn’t matter. Bass fishing with these Fish that are attacking these fast moving baits out of reaction and sight and not on smell.
To conclude, it doesn’t hurt to add fishing scent and attractants to lures. It likely won’t hurt your fishing experience and often will help when the bite is slow like during cold weather fishing.