Nowadays we’re all familiar with soft lures impregnated with fish, shrimp or clam scents. These are deadly effective, especially in cold water, when redfish, seatrout and other fish tend to be somewhat lethargic. You can even buy extra bottles and tubes of popular fish juices to recharge your soft bodies.
Lately I’ve been experimenting with ways to add this kind of scent appeal to other types of lures. Here are a few suggestions:
Shallow water suspending plugs are great for thoroughly working high-percentage zones in coastal waters. Think of mangroves canopy, wide grass beds, and those sweet spot potholes and prop ditches. Twitch the lure and retrieve slowly, allowing it to flash and vibrate over a likely holding spot.
Now imagine if you could add a scent trail. Olfactory attraction might be just the thing to stimulate a “feed neutral” gamefish into striking, especially if the water is dirty and visibility limited. Trouble is, any spray, liquid or gel product is apt to quickly wash away from the plastic lure.
The solution is to first clean hard body plugs with an acetone-based product like finger nail polish remover; mineral spirits will do fine, too. This cleaning process will dissolve and remove the release compound used in the production of hard plastic lures. A mildly gritty bathroom cleanser and old tooth brush works maybe even better, since it will rough up the smooth plastic surface, allowing the scent product to adhere better.
These processes provide a much better surface for the spray or gel scent. You’ll find yourself making many fewer applications of the scents, confident the scent product isn’t just dissolving on the first few casts.
Soak it Up:
Another approach is to add absorbent materials to the lure or hook, mindful to choose products that don’t impede the action. Small strips of foam, the type used to tie Gurgler flies, work pretty well. Segments of rabbit fur strips, also used in fly tying, are also great. Or try scrap strips of suede or felt. These items will all absorb and hold an extra dose of scent.
An equally simple and effect scent saver can be formed by wrapping a small ball of yarn in a fish attractive color around your tailing hook of any treble hook lure. The yarn will soak up nicely with scent, hold it and disperse it. You can attach a yarn ball in front of your lure on the leader, much like a scented yarn fly used in steelhead and salmon fishing.
String ’em Along:
One of the simplest and most effective add-ons is a small section of yarn knotted on a jerkbait hook. Simply tie the length of yarn on the hook where you’d like it to trail along the lure body. I like to take a hair comb and flare the filaments of yarn so it pulsates and ripples as it’s retrieved. This works very well and adds that special flavor to all those “plain Jane” softies.
Try preparing your batch of scent savers the night before you head out. Let ’em soak up the sauces and they’ll be even more effective. Apply a nice layer of sauce on your favorite plugs, too, and store them in a container where they can marinate along with the appetizer strips and yarn. FS