The science behind the scent.

A lot has been written recently in regard to “fish attractants” or otherwise known as “fish scents” and their effectiveness in UK lure fishing.

With the emergence of the dropshot rig, vertical jigging and the neko rig to the UK lure fishing scene, we are using a slower retrieve and even a static approach to presenting lures to our quarry. This leaves us the perfect opportunity to apply a scent and effectively “chum the water” to entice the predator to strike our lures.

Being an inquisitive/scientific style of fisherman, I am not happy with just knowing that scents work and following the crowds in regards to the best product and manufacturers. Therefore, the search commenced for a tried and tested product that could deliver the claims of the marketing jargon.

Having searched through endless bass forums, European predator blogs and Youtube videos, the only product that could deliver the critical requirement of “tried and tested” was Megastrike inc. After a couple of quick emails, I had the name, number and telephone appointment booked with Bobby Uhrig the president of Megastrike Inc.

Here is an email I received from Bobby himself:

After almost 25 years of Research and Development Megastrike Inc. has performed many tests of what fish like to eat and what they don’t like to eat. What stimulates their sensory organs and what does not... Separating fact from fallacy, truth from fiction and working with a great team, we believe that we have a formula that not only stimulates fishes feeding stimuli but also their visual sense as well.

There are many so called “Fish Attractants “ on the market today that claim to be the magic concoction that will put more fish on the end of your line than ever before. Most of them are oil based, which if that is the case basically go undetected by the fishes olfactory senses as well as their chemoreception. Oil molecules tend to bind unless you can break them down on a molecular basis. We know how to do that as well. Oil and water do not mix. The oil  molecules are lighter than water ,therefore separate and float to the surface not being anywhere near the lure or bait once it hits the water. Oils will rapidly disperse off of baits especially if you are applying it to an already wet lure. 

This is what we believe happened in the early non technological era of “fish attractants”. Little did anyone really know about the negative scents that can contaminate baits being handled by humans as well as any other contamination elements that the lures touch in any given environment-while travelling –storage etc.  These negative flavours ,odours or acids such as L-Serine- are detected by the fish and even if the fish strikes a lure by a visual or reactional stimulation ,it will often be expelled by the fishes natural defensive system queuing it that the item it attacked is not real food or has any food value to it. It swims away looking for its next meal.  If a bait is attacked so many times with a similar profile and is rejected so many times, the fish will become what is known as “conditioned” to not strike that profile any longer. Again because it doesn't get rewarded with a food/meal response. So fishermen came up with flavour or scent enhancers that they believe would “trick “ the fish into believing that whatever they are eating is real. Probably every known flavour was tried and used to “trick” the fish into striking or “attracting “ fish to the anglers baits. Anise oil/fruit flavours, dead worms ,dead minnows-everything imaginable .Little did they know that rancid /decaying matter repulsed the fish more than attracting them. As for predatory fish-vegetation based attractants had no value to the fished receptors at all. Most don’t even get received because they are not in the  fishes receptor profiles.

We believe that the oil based “attractants” actually clog the receptors not allowing any taste to be acknowledged by the fish so it will retain the bait for a while until its expelled. Anglers applied the magic formulas to their baits-The visual stimulation caused the fish to attack the bait. The angler  was lucky enough to have the fish hold on or retain the bait long enough to get a hookset and caught the fish. The angler gave all of the credit to the magic potion that helped him catch the fish and the rest was history-Word spread throughout the fishing community that this magic potion will help you catch more fish. Little did they know it had nothing to do with catching the fish except blocking the negative scents or odours. THUS the term “cover up scent “ was born.

Predatory fish attack baits by profile and action. Fish are first and foremost  visual feeders rather than odour or taste feeders.   If it looks like a baitfish swims or acts like a bait fish –IT MUST BE A BAIT FISH CORRECT- yes until the gustation or taste factors come in to play- If it tastes good they eat it if not-expelled. . Scavenger fish such as catfish are odour and taste feeders. Their highly acute  receptors are all over their faces and bodies. Totally different creature than predatory gamefish anglers mostly seek.

What we do here at Megastrike is break down what the fish eat in their daily diets, utilize what they need for producing skin cells ,blood cells, building body mass and muscle, basically the foods, proteins and amino's the fish need as their life yielding provisions. Predatory fish basically eat smaller's just mother nature’s rule of the food chain. They also eat insects and crustaceans along with other creatures both from land and water. So what we can do is chemically stimulate their searching and feeding responses or modes and heighten their senses to hunt for food. One of the misconceptions of so called “fish attractants” is that they can call fish in from great distances to search or attack  just because the angler applied one to his bait. There are so many variables involved that this really cannot happen. First variable is dispersion rates – the faster the attractants disperse from the lure the faster they are exhausted and have to be reapplied. The lures are usually moving much too fast as well as covering large distances to even be found by the fish. By the time the fish acknowledge the attractant – the lure is nowhere to be found. Slower dispersion rates do not or cannot cover a large area so a visual cue is more in order. Megastrike uses a base, then adds the chemicals to that base (basically micro encapsulating them) that once they contact water-the dispersion rate starts, very much like a time released program. Not too fast and not too slow of a dispersion rate. So Megastrike is not a fast acting “chumming attractant’ but more productive in close proximity. Once we stimulate them visually with a lure, (also enhanced in Megastrike is a UV ADDITIVE  to assist in low light situations) we chemically stimulate with water soluble additives to entice strikes. We also researched natural flavours and incorporated them so that once the fish strike the bait, the receptors recognize them as real food. Retaining the bait is also key. You want the fish to hold on to the bait as long as possible, many times they swallow the baits with Megastrike applied.

Another misconception is that fish attractants need to have a very pungent odour in order to work. This couldn't be further from the truth. While testing different flavours and fragrances/essences over the years we have found that pungent foul smelling odours didn't attract fish at all. Most fisheries biologist agree that these foul smelling ‘attractants' have no bearing on the effectiveness of the attracting qualities of the formula. It is a confidence booster for the fishermen thinking that the stronger it smells, the better and more potent the attractant is. In fact most say that these airborne molecules go undetected by the fish. Certain molecules are not of the fishes world and cannot be comprehended by the fishes chemo and olfactory senses. The fish, through millions of years of evolution, are highly specialized in recognizing familiar flavours and smells. Rancid or decaying matter (earthworms and baitfish) have been tested by us and is quickly shunned, being repulsive to the predatory fish. The predatory fish liked the fresh live food and occasionally ate fresh cut bait. I believe that happened because of chemical stimulation being released from the fish and other foods tested. ANYTHING that started to decay went untouched.

We have a product that works. Many anglers swear by the products and I have done demonstrations all over using baits with Megastrike applied and Megastrike not applied. We have all seen the improvements in retention time. Fish taking baits with Megastrike applied while not interested in them without an application. What I will say is most of the testing has been done in the wild. I believe tank fish become accustomed and conditioned to different ‘controls'. I have also had the honour of working with one of the worlds most renowned underwater photographers for over 22 years.. You can learn more under water in a natural environment in a day than a year above the water. What I have learned as well; THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTES  working with live animals/fish, we need to appreciate, they are products of their environment and through millions of years of evolution, are conditioned to to what they do for a reason. If we can use science to enhance and entice more strikes, producing more caught fish, we can do it. Remember the worst thing we can do as human beings and fishermen is CLOSE OUR MINDS.

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