Our Outdoors - sturgeon

Catfish and lake sturgeon, like the one pictured here, utilize their barbels (the small whiskers around their mouths) to pick up the underwater odor of food.  Scent additives for angling may be more effective on them, when compared with other species in our region.  Simonson Photo.

I’m not a huge believer in scents when it comes to angling.  Sure, I’ve owned my share of scented plastics, and purchased more than a few packages of specially formulated baits to use both on the ice and in open water.  However, my fishing exploits don’t often tap into those niches where a special scent is that something needed to seal the deal with a fish on the other end of the line. Rarely do I find myself angling for catfish, and but once a year, if I’m lucky, am I sitting through the chill of a cloudy spring day on the Rainy River for lake sturgeon.  Rather, more often than not, I’m fishing for those mainstream fish – walleyes, crappies, pike and bass, that don’t often require a scent line to set off a strike.

Now, I’m a strong believer in salt-impregnated plastics for the latter of those species.  The first lure I launch for both largemouth and smallmouth bass in the spring is a four-inch plastic tube loaded with salt.  I do so, not so much because of that additive, but rather, it’s the brand I’ve been most loyal to for the past twenty years of angling and the ingredient has always been part of their secret recipe.  Additionally, those same baits are scented with garlic, which I don’t know if it makes a difference to a big spring bronzeback or bucketmouth, but I know it does to me.  Like Pavlov’s dog, my mouth begins salivating with the first inhale of a newly opened bag of the baits and my thumbpad preemptively goes raw with the thought of all of the fish I’ll be lip landing in the coming float downstream.  

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