October 24, 2011
By Ned Kehde
Across the years a number of anglers on the Finesse News Network have been pondering, chatting and writing about the effectiveness of applying man-made scents to their lures. And Matt Straw's Oct. 21 blog entitled "Making Scents of It" ( http://www.in-fisherman.com/2011/10/21/making-scents-of-it/) has many of us eager to read his words and wisdom that will appear in In-Fisherman's 2012 Gear Guide.
Until then, here are some observations from the Finesse New Network and elsewhere:
One FNN member steadfastly proclaims that fishing scents are hokum. In his eyes, they are comparable to the products that the old-time snake oil salesmen used to hype as possessing miraculous powers. This angler, who is one the nation's finest and most veteran finesse anglers, says he is from the Tom Mann school of thought about fish scents. Mann, who died on February 11, 2005, launched Mann's Bait Company in 1958. One of his renowned baits was the Jelly Worm. They were fruit scented, such as his grape Jelly Worms and strawberry Jelly Worms. Mann thought that scent was aimed at catching fishermen, and it wasn't a factor in alluring bass to engulf a plastic worm. To prove this point, Mann used to catch bass after dipping his Jelly Worm into gasoline or similar products that were often thought to repel bass and other species.
On the other side of this debate is a story that longtime In-Fisherman editor Steve Quinn tells about fishing a bass tournament at Lake Pokegama, Minnesota. Quinn was paired with Ron Mehr of St. Cloud,Minnesota, and Mehr was wielding a Roboworm that he regularly dipped into a container of Berkley's Glup scent, and he caught bass while Quinn struggled. In due course, Mehr invited to Quinn to dip his worm into the container of Gulp, and then Quinn began to catch bass.
Likewise there are several FNN anglers who regularly dip their soft-plastic bait into containers of Berkley's Gulp! Alive! And there are others who work with Pro-Cure, Inc.'s Super Gel. Both groups of anglers have concluded that these two scents appear to work, but they haven't been able to devise a scientific method for proving their perceptions about the effectiveness of those two scents.
From the September 22 blog, we know that Gary Parsons is enamored with the Gulp! Alive! 2 1/2-inch Minnow affixed to a 1/16-ounce jig with a No.2 hook, calling it a magic bait that inveigles a variety of species. For more information see: http://www.in-fisherman.com/2011/09/22/gary-parsons%E2%80%99-magic-bait/.
Keith A Jones, director of research at the Berkley Fish Research Center, has written many words about scents and the olfactory functions of bass in his book entitled "Knowing Bass," which was published by The Lyon Press in 2002. Jones was also part of the team that developed Berkley's Glup products. What's more, some FNN members have found Jones' observations about the effectiveness of scents that have appeared in other publications and various media formats to be insightful.
Here's another perspective: I have spent many hours since 1992 watching and chronicling the practice tactics of some of the finest professional anglers on the Bassmaster and FLW tours, and I have never seen any of them put scent on their baits.