Pros Weigh In: How Important is Scent?

Pros Weigh In:  How Important is Scent?
Pros Weigh In: How Important is Scent?
It's a hotly debated subject, now hear the opinions of a few pro anglers on whether using scent is an important factor or not in their fishing.

Mike Hulbert is a musky guide in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  I asked him whether scent played a factor in catching muskies and he told me this:

"No it's not...muskies are more sight and lateral line feeders, scent means very little...when they are ready to attack, they come unglued and smash the lure with ridiculous power."

So does scent play a factor at all?

"No, not really. I have used is on soft plastics and bucktails and saw no advantage or increase in hook up."

Interesting.  Let's see what an expert bass angler thinks...

Rick Byrnes
lives in Tamaroa, Illinois and is a 2 time Everstart Championship Qualifier and a BFL All-American top 10 finisher, who is currently the Vice President of US Anglers Choice. 

"Scents can make the difference in catching fish or not getting bit at all in tough fishing conditions. In lakes with high fishing pressure or when bass are lethargic it can be the difference in having a successful day or going to the scales empty handed."

Hmm... Sounds like scents are more important to bass fishing.  For our final expert, we turn to a bit of a jack-of-all-fish, In-Fisherman contributer Brett Richardson.  

Scent Or No Scent
By Brett Richardson      

In the late 1970's, as the original various fish scents hit the market, I spent hours during every variable conditions experimenting with the appropriate scents for each particular bait, in a wide array of presentations. Pre-Fronts, Post-Frontal conditions, water temperatures from 39 to 80 degrees during every season within season throughout the Calendar year. I kept logs, as I've done with every aspect of my fishing excursions for Multi-Species Trophy fish. Many days and Nights were spent throughout the calendar year where one trip would be scentless baits only and the next every bait the was more of a non-reaction bait, and some grey Zone baits, loaded with scents from Crawdad, Anise flavor, Garlic, Shad, etc.    

After constant years of study on this subject in the early days of various fish scents, my data bases proved the more than 80 % of fish in every condition we faced preferred the scented baits or non-scented baits. I am a firm Believer in scents on Jig Combos, Plastic Presentations vertical baits involving Trailers and any presentation the will hold scent for even a limited amount of time in the water. I rarely use scent on hard baits and spoons unless spoon fishing with a Siwash hook and plastic trailer. During a bite window, with fish hitting fast moving reaction baits or topwater baits, I seldom noticed a difference in amount of Trophy Fish Boated for these particular scenarios.

In Presentations of the new millenium, Shaky worm, Drop-Shot, Modified Hawaii Rigs, etc, I still heavily scent these presentations with extreme results and consistent productivity for out-size fish.


Want to catch musky in Indiana?  Contact Mike Hulbert's Musky Guide service through his website at

Rick Byrnes is sponsored by

In-Fisherman Contributor Brett Richardson has been chasing multi-species trophy fish for more than Five decades.  Order any of his 12 Giant Bass Series dvd collection by e-mailing:

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