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April 25, 2011

Scented Soft Baits

Tips on choosing and using soft fishing baits


Taste, Texture and Temperature
A Mister Twister Exude lure seems like any other soft-plastic bait - until it gets wet. "After the first cast, it feels slimy, just like a baitfish," says Beth Lee, purchaser for Mister Twister. "The Exude process molds certain additives into the lure, which it releases upon contact with water. These ingredients contain a ­proprietary blend of proteins, minerals and amino acids that are known to entice fish to feed."

Trigger X lures contain ­artificially created pheromones (chemical substances released by animals that serve to influence behavior of other members of the same species). David James, Rapala field promotion and media-relations manager, says the Trigger X blend features Ultrabite Pheromones, which mix "fear" and "aggression" pheromones. "The fear pheromones mimic those released from schools of frightened baitfish. Predator fish have evolved to respond to these pheromones and associate them with a food source," he says. "The aggression pheromones mimic those from other predator fish and are interpreted as competition, which makes predators want to feed."

Three different Trigger X formulas - Aggression, Saltwater and Walleye - are designed for a particular type of fish. "Although many of the ingredients are shared across the range, the percentages of those ingredients in each formula differ," James says. "Thanks to scientifically developed and patented technology from CEFAS (Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science), Trigger X is the first and only soft bait formulated with special Ultrabite Pheromones that target saltwater predators."

The Saltwater series baits come in crab, minnow, paddle-tail minnow and shrimp shapes, and feature ribbed bodies that offer a double advantage: The prominent ridges create a softer, lifelike feel while increasing surface area and allowing for increased pheromone distribution. "The lure's action and color draw a fish's interest. As the fish gets close enough, the attractant scents and Ultrabite Pheromones convince it to strike the bait," James explains. "When the fish bites, the gustatory stimulants make the fish hold on. The complete array of visual, olfactory and gustatory stimulation makes Trigger X very effective."

Excite-A-Bite lures come in a wide selection of colors and seven shapes, including curly-tail grub, shad and shrimp. The baits pack a dose of feeding pheromones in a formula developed after years of research by a worldwide team of scientists, according to George Large with Yo-Zuri.

The warmer the water, the faster a scented lure will give off its alluring smell. "But," says Caprio, "water temperature will likely affect fish behavior more than the lure."

James agrees that water temperature has a greater bearing on fish activity than on scent dispersion. "Anecdotally, we hear that Trigger X sometimes works better when the water is colder, because it brings results in conditions that typically make it harder to get fish to bite," he says.

Spray 'Em and Slay 'Em
Anglers whose favorite soft-plastic lures have no embedded attractants can perfume their baits with more than anise oil. Gulp!, Trigger X and many other brands offer bottles of spray-on scents for juicing up lures. The ability to absorb and then disperse scents and how long an application lasts, depend on a plastic's particular makeup and porosity.

Rather than simply spritzing lures, James recommends using Trigger X Rejuvenator spray as a soak. "After 15 to 20 minutes in the water, the majority of the active ingredients have dispersed from the bait," he says. "If you want to recharge it, you should soak it in the spray liquid in another container for at least an hour."

In case you're wondering (like I was), the fish-scent chefs don't seem keen to sample their own recipes. "I've never tasted the complete SCI-X formula," Caprio says. "I have tasted a few of the individual components, though. Some taste sweet, some bitter, some have a strange taste and others not so much of a taste - but I'm no fish!"