Tackle Tip: Scents Make Sense - The Fisherman

Tackle Tip: Scents Make Sense

Keep similar plastics together
Keep similar plastics together in a heavy-duty Ziploc bag to keep dosed with fish scents or Gulp! juice, and keep an eye out for other dosed baits on the market including Plug baits which are pre-soaked in FIN-essence.

Fat, juicy bloodworms are shipped regularly from Maine to shops throughout New York, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania during the spring striper run.  In speaking with Toby Lapinski from the New England edition of The Fisherman, most of those bloods shipped from the north almost completely bypass New England states on their southerly voyage to the south; in fact, Toby said lesser pricy sandworms are a bit more popular with the winter flounder folks there.  In recent years, casters dunking bloodworms at the Jersey Shore for early season stripers have been dosing their baits with FIN-essence natural scents, often the bunker, clam or shedder crab extracts; and for those soaking sands for flatties, it might be worth a little soak time as well.

I’ve been regularly using FIN-essence shedder crab oil (fishermanschoice.com) in the 3-ounce plastic bottles to stink up my plastics and bucktails for over 20 years; while shrimp, bunker and clam scents specifically make a lot of sense (pardon the pun), shedder oil has always been my go to scent based on basic biology.  A sexually mature female blue crab gives off a pheromone just before she molts to attract the male or jimmy crab.  An attracted suitor will wrap his feelers around her back and carry the soon-to-be-soft female through the mating process, protecting her from predators, like stripers, bluefish, weakfish, fluke, and other predator species that may detect the pheromones.

While some spring surfcasters at the Jersey Shore opt for single bloodworms for early season stripers, sharpie Matt Calabria wraps several bloods into a ball and doses with FIN-essence clam oil.

Growing up targeting weakfish at the Jersey Shore, the shedder or peeler – the state right before the crab becomes a softshell – has always been a very effective fresh bait.  That’s why I also soak my favorite plastics with FIN-essence shedder oil in a heavy-duty Ziploc bag for use throughout the season.  The oils work equally away when squirted into the fine hairs of a bucktail, but another scent that I often keep tucked along in my plug bag specifically for use on bucktails is the Bunker Wand from BioEdge (bioedgefishing.com) which comes as a semi-solid stick in a tube that works very much like a glue-stick and cakes on the hairs.  Whether one believes that gamefish will strike due to the scent itself, or that those predators really just strike harder and hold longer may be debatable.  But there have been countless instances where I’ve edged out my fishing buddies when secretly dosing my bucktails and soft plastics out of their view.

The whole premise of the scented bait has been adopted with open arms along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coast; think GULP (gulpbaits.com).  If you receive our biweekly email alerts through TheFisherman.com, you undoubtedly saw the February 25, 2020 video segment from the folks at Fishbites (fishbites.com) and the work of Dr. Bill Carr while working at the Whitney Marine Laboratory in Florida. “Back in the ‘60s I began studying the chemical composition of natural baits,” Dr. Carr noted in this historical snapshot, adding “My goal was to identify chemicals that stimulate feeding in marine animals.” Decades later, Carr’s Fishbites have grown to become an effective natural bait – even if artificially created – that works well on fluke, striped bass and various inshore gamefish along the Atlantic Coast.

Better fishing through science just makes sense.  Dose those baits for a little extra oomph.




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