Author Topic: To scent or not to Scent, that is the Question!  (Read 5531 times)

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Offline senkosam

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To scent or not to Scent, that is the Question!
« on: January 11, 2003, 08:02:25 PM »
Just a few thoughts relating to common perceptions of 'IQ', bass behavior and scent  as related by a knowledgable  angler that replied to my post. His quote is in bold type.

"Ignorance- Yep, some fish are just plain stupid. Although this simply is not the same as a remote pond that gets little pressure. Here bass will bite a bare hook because they don't know any better."

I might get some flack on this thought, but I can never attribute 'IQ' to brain-stem feeders. Some fish are very aggressive, like the meanmouth hybrid that became a menace in southern waters, or laid-back like the potential world record, presently sunning herself in southern California. Genetic coding may account for far more then we know at present about aggressiveness, irritablity to stimuli, ease of being 'programmed' to react a certain way to positive and negative stimuli and an inherent metabolic rate/nervous system connection. (Do different fish of the same species have different metabolic rates at the same time, resulting in different levels of 'nervous-activity' or  hyperactivity, (like certain kids I know)? All fish don't spawn at the same time, why should they all feed at the same time?

Maybe biologists should investigate  AQ  or  aggressiveness quotient  based on comparisons of many bass of the same age, health, of different and the same parents; also,  LQ, or learning quotient that  exists in all animals,  from one-cell organisms to humans.

Is learning ability IQ-related in humans? Most definitely! Humans have the capacity for long term memory and memory-emotion connections. Fish can't even remember who they mated with last month, much less last year. In the same line of thought, we attribute the lack of strikes on particular colors or lures to burnout or desensitization.

The latter term makes sense because it doesn't require thought or emotion as does the former. Burnout usually is associated with a build-up of negative emotions and memories which results in emotional fatique and rejection. Whereas, if humans smell boiled cabbage long enough, they become desensitized or overloaded with the odor stimulus such that it's no longer noticed.

(Might a sense-apathty be the fish's reaction to certain lures or certain colors, over a certain period of time? Might that also apply to certain manufactured scents? Who says a fish will always prefer shad versus craw in the same month? (I doubt they enjoy eating the same thing everday! ::)

  Changing metabolic rates and irritability, coupled with water visibility and temperature changes, may have a profound affect on a bass's reaction to certain colors and other lure elements over the course of a season. Just maybe, the fish sees and reacts differently to say, red,  when the water is turbid and 85 degrees versus 60 degrees and semi-clear.

(A fishing buddy of mine saw the change in strikes of a certain color Senko in early to mid spring. He changed colors, did well at first and then saw the same decline in strikes from mid-summer to late summer, etc. He's not one to change colors very often.)

"Anger- How many times have you flipped to a bush 99 times only to get a strike on your 100th presentation? You annoyed that bass into striking. We read about it all the time in BASSMASTER." (Homer Circle implied the same theory in his video, "Feeding Habits of Bass.")

Anger implies emotion. Irritability implies my wife when I've done nothing to provoke her except breathe!  :-X. (Good thing she doesn't read anything I write!  ) If enough objects pass by your face, whether it be the same or different object, your reaction is to react  in some way.
 Play along with me on this one:

I'm a bass and a lizard swims past me. Then another lizard swims past. And then another. (One  lizard was cast three times, for those rocket scientists who couldn't figure that out!)  To continue:

Now to my thinking, this smorgasborg is not going to last forever, so now it's time to get me some! I'm not angry in the human sense, but temptation, irritation , curiousity (or an oral fixation for lizards), finally got the better of me and got me off my lazy, finny-behind to partake of at least one of these, one-dumb-family-of-lizards!   ;D

"I feel that scent can allow a bass to hold a bait longer than a bait without scent."

This implies (to paraphrase my bud Tony), that a bass bites down on a crawfish and thinks, "My, that's one mighty-tasty crawfish!"  Therefore, I guess you're thinking as it bites down on a tube with craw-scent, it also thinks..."My, that's one mighty-tasty crawfish!"

(Even dumb and dumber wouldn't fall for that one!)

"The bass's brain is just a little bigger then a pea. The physiology of the thing suggests that these fish are brain stem, spinal cord dominated animals. It's a safe bet they don't have a psychological reaction to food or even pain, like we humans do." (See the latest Bassmaster issue on the subject of pain and fish.)If they did experience psychological reactions to stimuli, then that would mean that PETA is right - that when we hook them, they are terrified and in excruciating pain. It's now believed that this is untrue and  that  fish are only displaying a flight response, (the same as an earthworm that is being pulled out of its hole).

 Similarly, I don't think the fish bites into a craw and thinks, "yumm, I'm gonna mush that around in my mouth for a while and savor the taste." Additionally, I don't believe that the fish swims up to a crawfish, smells it to verify that it might be the real McCoy , then decides whether  to eat it or not." (to quote Tony- Bassn dude).

(What if the craw is having a bowel movement; does the fish interpret this as an offensive smell or just fear? "Man, the thing just crapped it's shell at the sight of me, guess I'll eat it anyway!)  ;D

The belief that freshwater fish only discern water-soluble smells, leaves me confused as to the fact that oil-scents, dispersed in water, can not be in any way be smelled or tasted by a fish due to the large, molecular composition of protein and fat. (ala Dr. Jones, PhD.)

Unscented soft plastics have been known to be injested and come out the other end - I've seen this with my own eyes. (I have to admit, I pulled one out the out the back-end and smelled it, (just like on CSI), and behold, non- scented! - Just kidding. ;D )

With all the hype constantly being integrated into the media of fishing, many have begun to question the old and new theories and reasoning as to why fish strike an abstraction-of-life as much as they do. Berkely has some fine products, but their justifications for buying them leave a lot to be desired.

Some truths will always be hidden, which makes the sport continually fascinating and unpredictable at times. Only the open-minded win classics, but even professional anglers view trendy thought with a certain degree of suspicion that is understandable.


« Last Edit: January 19, 2003, 06:34:06 PM by senkosam »

Offline Curt - NC

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Re:To scent or not to Scent, that is the Question!
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2003, 05:55:54 PM »
Frank, there was day when I wouldn't leave home without a bottle of scent in my tackle box or my boat. I really had a lot of confidence in this stuff.

Then, suddenly, for whatever reason, I stopped using it. My catches didn't decrease that I could see and now I didn't have to worry about all of this messy, stinky stuff to contend with.

Now I don't have a single bottle or jar of scent in my boat and really don't give it a second thought any more.

As for the bass intelligence thing, I believe this:

Bass are an animal, with very little real intelligence. I know that some people will disagree vehemently with that statement, but it is what I believe!

Bass were created with an instinct for survival. That instinct tells them to eat! It also helps them to sense danger. But bass do not posess the capability to think and reason the way humans do... period.

Can they be agitated or aggravated into striking a bait?? Obviously, yes. But does that mean that they get aggravated in the human sense of the word? Hardly.

Too many people have a Walt Disney philosophy when it comes to wildlife. Bambi and other flicks have perverted our thinking and made tree huggers out of too many people, instead of just using the common sense that were were born with.

Seeing animals in love and acting out human emotions has caused too many people to lose sight of the fact that humans are humans and animals are animals and fish are fish, etc., etc.

Fish are not smart... end of story. They eat what they have an opportunity to eat, whether it is a crawdad, other fish, baby duck, snake, jig & pig, plastic worm or whatever.

I could go on about this one for a long time, but I know that each of us has our own opinion about it.

In the meantime, we will all continue to go fishing and do our best to fool another bass into biting our offering to them at that given time  ;)
« Last Edit: January 14, 2003, 08:20:04 PM by Curt - RI »
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Offline senkosam

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Re:To scent or not to Scent, that is the Question!
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2003, 08:47:52 PM »
My 'scent-iments exactly!  ;D
« Last Edit: January 15, 2003, 08:05:38 PM by senkosam »


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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2003, 08:56:08 AM »
Add-on Scents (ones that come in a bottle), while unlikely to hurt your efforts, do not make a huge difference.  There are thousands of people out there who believe in them.  There are thousands of people who don't beleive in them.  Unless it can be shown statistically, using scientific analysis, using a large population of people over an extended period of time that fisherman using scents do better, I don't buy it at all.  This is marketing pure and simple.  Basic logic dictates that when comparing two populations of people, if one believes something matters and the other doesn't AND the two populations have equivalent performance, then by default the non-believers are correct.  The believers simply get confidence from using the scent.

Offline Charles/Tx

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Re:To scent or not to Scent, that is the Question!
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2003, 09:14:58 AM »
I didn't jump on the scent band wagon when they first came out and fished several years with no "add-on" scent, believing they were purely hype.  The only "scent" I used was what was put into the plastic baits during the manufacturing process.

A couple of years ago. I decided to take the plunge and bought a couple of bottles of the KNB scent product.  Since then, I've used them on occasion, and so far haven't been able to tell that they have helped help my success any.  If it is a "tough" day, they haven't improved the number of bites I get.  On the "good" days, it doesn't seem to matter whether the bait has additional scent or not.

When these two bottles are gone, I seriously doubt I'll be throwing any more money that way!


Offline Mitz

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Re:To scent or not to Scent, that is the Question!
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2003, 12:11:26 PM »
It seems to be just something people do to gain any confidence they can with what ever bait they are using. I know there are a ton of things I do to my lures that give me that confidence. Haven't really got into scents but I bet you if I poured it on and hooked into a 5+lb bass I would have no problem using it again.

Getting that confidence with any lure or any bait is by far the most powerful fish catcher!! (in my mind)


Offline Joe P

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Re:To scent or not to Scent, that is the Question!
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2003, 02:48:17 PM »
I'm with Curt on this one!

I used to use scents but have not used any in years, and i probably wont start anytime soon.

Anybody remember DR Juice?  now that was some nasty stuff!!!!!