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Good article on fish repelling scents.

Maybe this why I sucked so bad last season. I had gobbles of insect repellent with deet, sunscreen and I smoke like a chimney out there sometimes...especially during tournament time. :mrgreen: I'm definately going to invest in a scent masking product this year.

Does this mean I have to buy all new tackle??? DOH!!! Anybody have any ideas on how to properly clean lures? You think running some hotwater over them would remove these negative scents?

Fish attractants good; fish repellants bad, very bad
By Steve Wright

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - In finding out which scents attract fish, John Prochnow has learned what repels them as well. And knowing those repellants could be as important as any information an angler can use.

Gasoline would have to be the worst, right?

"No," said Prochnow, the director of bait development at Berkley. "If there's a positive scent on a small cottonball, you can put gasoline on it and a fish will still eat it."

Small cottonballs, the size of fish food pellets, are what Prochnow and the other chemical engineers at Berkley use in their initial tests of fish-attracting solutions. Because the test fish are accustomed to being fed with pellets dropped from above, they'll at least sample any type of similar-looking object.

But once a fish puts that object in its mouth, the fish equivalent of taste buds take over. Like a toddler tasting English peas for the first time, if a fish detects a "bad taste" it will spit out the cottonball. The worse the taste, the quicker it spits it out.

Prochnow has accumulated an extensive list of fish attractants and repellants over his 21 years with Berkley. And nothing he's found has anywhere near the fish-repelling trait of insect repellent. Especially insect repellent containing DEET.

Even in the worst heat of summer, Prochnow said he'll don long sleeve shirts and long pants to avoid insect bites while he's fishing. But he won't ever resort to insect repellant after seeing its effects in the Berkley fish lab.

Various sunscreens, depending upon their chemical makeup, also work as fish repellents.

And, as if there needs to be one, here's another reason to avoid tobacco products. Nicotine works as a mild fish repellant.

Surfactants, like those found in various liquid detergents, are also fish repellants. Prochnow said the Navy has done research on surfactants for use in shark repellent. He noted that many saltwater anglers use Dawn liquid detergent to clean their boats. But he said it's probably a good idea to avoid any use of liquid soap in bait livewells or any surface where lures are kept.

Gasoline, because it is formed from long-chain carbon-based compounds, may simply be undetectable in a fish's water-based scent-detecting system.

"Fish cannot detect long-chain, hydrocarbon molecules, like there are in any oil-based product," Prochnow said. "If a fish can't detect it, it's not a positive or a negative."

Prochnow's research leads him to believe that some products sold as fish attractants are more likely working as masking agents. But that is a significant function. At least with a masking agent, like some of the anise oil and garlic scents, you're not trying to catch fish with lures covered in fish repellent.

In other words, if you've handled insect repellents, sunscreens, tobacco products or liquid detergents, your lures may "smell" so bad they're driving away the fish. At least with a masking agent, fish can't smell a reason to stay away.

Fish attractants? That's a whole nother story.

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I smoke heavily, but everytime im out, I'm using new plastics and new baits. I usually rig up some of my rods before I head out. I still catch fish, But I soak a lot of my plastics in scents in zip-lock bags. It's messy if you dont carry a rag in your cargo pants or on the boat, but it works ;) As long as they are not Salt Empreginated. :D


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3,882 Posts
I actually purchased some of those coffee tubes ,If they dont catch fish I can always chew on them .
I always dip my lures in my coffee :p

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70 Posts
I heard Marlboro has a new stinkbait out. :lol: :lol:
I smoke heavy also, don't beleive all that crap about the scents,people have been catching fish for years smellin' like who knows what. Gasoline on the other hand I try to avoid on my fishin' morrning. I figure if I can smell it so can the fish.
But if you go 5 days 'caveman' they'll never see you coming. :lol: :lol:
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