debate over the importance and effect of scents and flavorings in soft
baits has been going on for decades. Some anglers are convinced that flavoring
is the most important feature in a lure, other argue that flavor and scent
are useless. Regardless of what camp you're in, you'll agree that it's
impossible to sell a soft plastic commercially if it isn't scented, flavored,
salted, or oiled. For that reason alone, we'll explore the in's and out's
of adding these elements to your soft plastics.
Scents & Flavorings in Soft Plastics
According to tackle guru Ken Schultz, a scent is "an aromatic substance
applied to or made part of artificial lures". These aromatic materials
are intended to make the lure more appealing and easier for fish to locate.
With the exception of the catfish which undoubtedly prefers smelly baits,
most freshwater fish do not heavily rely on their sense of smell to locate
food. In saltwater, where chumming is common, the need for scented baits
is virtually nonexistent. Despite these facts, there are still many reasons
for adding scents and flavoring to soft plastics.
Scents can be very beneficial in covering up smells that repel fish such
as bug spray, tobacco, and human odors. Additionally, fish have a tendency
to hold onto flavored lures for a longer period of time than non-flavored
versions. This gives the angler more time to fell the strike and set the
Many manufacturers have started using scented worm oils to increase the
marketing value of the lures. Oddly,
worm oil was not traditionally used as a scent, but rather as a special
type of lubricant used to preserve soft plastics in their commercial packaging.
When soft plastic lures coexist in a package, they have a tendency to
dry out, stick to each other, or bleed colors. Good worm oils can minimize
these effects, giving the lures a longer shelf life.
As a side note, Gene Larew received a patent on salt-impregnated fishing
lures and has successfully sued and defended the patent in past court
cases. Please be sure to review applicable patent laws before your make
salted lures to sell commercially.