Best Bass Attractant (Buying Guide)
The use of plastic lures with scented and flavored attractants is heavily popularised amongst American anglers. If a scent can give you that extra bite, it’s worth exploring what the best options are. Adding scent to lures has huge benefits, as bass can smell from long distances, and will avoid objects or lures which don’t smell attractive. On the other hand, using a bass attractant on your lure can increase your number of catches massively.
Modern bass fishing is a multibillion-dollar industry, with fishing gear now evolved far beyond a simple hook and line. Just as rods, reels, and lures have improved over the years, fish attractants have become an important part of your tackle box. They are used to make soft and hard bait much more attractive to target fish, and can even be used to enhance live bait.
Fish attractants are available in sprays and gels, sticks and oils, and in every flavor, you can think of. You could buy an all-around fish attractant, or if you’re a serious bass angler, consider investing in a bass attractant. Using a bass attractant to enhance your lures can increase your chances of success hugely, we recommend you try one and see just how quickly you get a bite.
Whether you fish for food, sport, or as a peaceful pastime, it’s highly common to use fish attractants, special lures, and lure enhancements. Some anglers might argue that it’s better to let natural selection take its course, rather than using enhancements to shorten your wait. However, in competitive fishing competitions such as the Bassmaster, you won’t find an angler who’s not making use of these enhancements.
In this article, we will cover the best bass attractants available on the market currently. We’ll also go into the best bass fishing lures, the things you’ll want to consider when making a choice on fish attractants, as well as some of our top tips for bass fishing. With this wealth of knowledge, there’s no change your next bass fishing trip won’t be a huge success.
Bass fishing lures
Before we go into more detail about bass attractants, we’ll cover some information on the lures you’ll use. The lure is what you’ll be applying the attractant to, so it’s important to have the first step correct so that your whole setup is optimized to catch as many bass as possible. There are thousands of different bass fishing lures in every shape, color, and size. Rather than listing every single one, these are the main bait types you’ll use while bass fishing, and apply your attractant to for the extra chance of a bite.
A soft plastic stick bait is a versatile fishing lure and can be used with all types of fish. They make a great option for wacky rigging, Texas rigging, or just putting on a hook under a bobber. Finesse worms are a more effective soft plastic bait, as their shape makes them glide through the water more naturally. Finesse worms are great on a shakey head, drop shot or Carolina Rig.
Jigs are another popular bass fishing lure. A white jig will imitate shad, a brown jig crawfish, a green one bream. This makes them a great all-around lure, and of course, they work very effectively on bass. Another valuable bait to have in your tackle box is a lipless crankbait, which in movement gives off the appearance of a baitfish, very attractive to bass.
When fishing brush, laydowns, or other submerged cover and structure, spinnerbait is the obvious choice. The loud thump and flashy colors are practically irresistible to bass, so make sure you always keep a spinnerbait in your tackle box when bass fishing. Finally, jerk baits are an excellent bass lure as they imitate minnows. If you can time your fishing trip when the bass are feeding on minnows, you’re bound to get a catch using a jerk bait.
Why use an attractant?
Attracting fish via their sense of smell is a well-established practice. It’s a widely known fact that sharks can pick up and follow a trail of blood for miles. Similarly, salmon can smell the chemicals given off of a human hand in the water upstream from them and will cease using the fish ladder until the scent dissipates. This shows just how important smell is when it comes to fishing.
For bass, smell plays a special role. Bass primarily finds its prey using sight and sound, yet the smell is still important. Let us explain; in order to reach the olfactory organs of a fish, the smell must be carried by water (Olfactory refers to the bodily systems which serve the sense of smell).
Oil and water, as you know, don’t mix, so oil-based attractants form large hydrophobic water-resistant molecules, which disperse through the water growing smaller and smaller. Water-based attractants instead disperse throughout the water, so it’s best to try both and see what works best for you.
When a bass hears or feels the presence of your plastic worm, or jig and pig, or whatever your chosen bait is, the fish will come to investigate the movement. Your bait, having given up some of its attractants to the surrounding water, attracts the bass towards it using sight and sound. The bass expects a certain smell to be emanating from its prey, and the attractant achieves this, so it confirms its attack and bites down hard. The natural prey of the bass may be crawfish, shiner, or bluegill, but in this case, you’ve got a bite.
Any fish attractant will increase your chances of success on a fishing trip, but bass anglers need to be more specific and gear their attempts towards bass directly. One natural attractant for bass is salt. When a bass eats any of its natural prey, it tastes the saltiness in its blood, so salt is one reliable additive in any attractant or lure. Salt is often added to soft baits, impacting the weight and texture of the lure. For wacky wriggling, fishing stick worms, or soft jerk baits, you gain castability.
Different types of attractant
Fish attractants come in many forms and many are honed to be especially effective for one breed of fish. Be it shad, shrimp, catfish or bass, there’ll be a specially formulized attractant that has the biggest chance of bringing you success for that fish. There are other blanket formulas that offer all-around attractants, which raise your chances of a bite in general, but for bass fishing, it’s worth getting a specialized product.
Normally coming in liquid form, fish attractants are formulated to replicate the scents which draw fish near. They can also replicate the aroma which causes fish to become aggressive and predatory, and each increases the chances of a bite. Many manufacturers use synthetic materials and chemicals in order to achieve this, which is easier than trying to use natural materials.
That said, plenty of fish attractant manufacturers make it clear that they only use natural materials and ingredients, so it’s easy to find an attractant that won’t negatively affect the environment. We recommend always making the environmentally friendly choice, as all outdoors enthusiasts including anglers need to take care of the planet as a priority. Adopting non-destructive habits now is the first step towards preserving the natural world for years to come.
Using a plastic bait without an attractant means less success with bass. They can swim down a fast-moving crankbait, mouth it, spit it out, and swim away without the angler ever noticing. However, if the bass tastes the attractant in its bite, it will try to swim away and then you’ll know you have a bite.
Best Bass Attractants – Overview
1. Bass Assassin Bang Fish Attractant Trigger Spray
This fish attractant is one of our favorites because it uses non-synthetic materials. Bass Assassins have created a product rendered and made from real fish, creating naturally concentrated oils that make an excellent attractant. Not only is this product a great largemouth bass attractant, but it also works on rainbow trout.
This crawfish formula is tournament tested, used in competitive bass fishing events. So, approved by professional anglers, this bass attractant is one of the best. Another reason we love Bass Assassin’s product is that it comes in a spray bottle, which is by far the best for ease of application.
2. Berkley Gulp! Alive! Attractant
Berkely is a well-known and trusted name in the field of fish attractants. This attractant makes any bait taste and smell alive, using the scents and flavors of popular prey. It’s easy to apply from the trigger spray bottle, meaning you’ll avoid getting your hands covered with the stuff, and will enhance the effectiveness of soft bait, hard bait, or even live bait. This product is a great choice for bass fishing, you can apply it to your spinnerbait no problem!
3. Berkley Powerbait
The Powerbait line of fish attractants by Berkley come in five different flavors, including catfish, panfish, trout, walleye, and most importantly bass. This is a powerful attractant and can enhance any lure or live bait. Berkley’s Powerbait promises to make bass hold their bite up to 18 times longer, so your chance of success will skyrocket. The only issue with this fish attractant is that it comes in a flip-top bottle, meaning application can be tricky, and sometimes messy.
4. Smelly Jelly
- These powerful attractants stay on longer than other scents; Each takes the scent below the surface to fish
Smelly Jelly is one of the most popular fish attractants on the market, and it’s not hard to see why. Great branding, accompanied by a huge range of flavors, makes this attractant one of the best. Options include salmon, anise, bass and even garlic scent, which is actually very effective for bass fishing. Smelly Jelly also claims to stay active for longer than other attractants, which is a big benefit because one possible problem is having to reapply often.
Try Smelly Jelly on a jig, worm, or hard bait, and just watch the results.
5. Baitmate Classic
- Natural fish oils create a scent fish cannot resist
Another natural attractant, Baitmate uses natural fish oils to create a scent which is very hard to resist. Anise oil covers any undesirable scents which may otherwise turn fish away, while fish pheromones in the attractant stimulate the fish you’re trying to catch, triggering its predatory instincts. Baitmate classic comes in several flavors; bass, catfish, crappie, and panfish, so it’s a great all-rounder to keep in your tackle box.
6. Fishsticks Lure Enhancer
- Contains both the Craw and Shad Fishsticks scents!
The biggest selling point of this bass attractant is that it’s liquid-free. Instead, coming in a stick, like lip balm, Fishsticks lure enhancer is much less messy and easier to apply. It comes in two flavors, crawfish, and shad, and both of these make great bass attractants. These scents are made from real fish and have been used to great success by bass anglers.
7. Kodiak Fish Attractants Bass Formula Oil
- Kodiak Fish Attractants utilize freeze drying as the best way to preserve any natural baits
This is one of the strongest fish attractants available, and it works very effectively on bass. It also comes in multiple other flavors including crab, which is a less common attractant on the marketplace.
Bass fishing tips
Now we’ve gone through some of the best bass attractants, we’d like to share some of our top bass fishing tips. The struggle to catch a bite when bass fishing can sometimes be infuriating, but with these 7 top tips, your next fishing trip should go much easier.
1. Skip your bait: When you cast your line, stop halfway instead of following all the way through. This makes the lure hit the surface of the water a few feet before your target, so it skitters over the water. This is a great way to get under docks and other structures.
2. Save shredded worms: When your plastic worm baits get torn up, don’t throw them away. Bass are known to ambush wounded prey, so a torn-up worm is perfect to emulate this, especially in shallow water.
3. Keep your hooks sharp: Bass have boney jaws, so a sharp hook is much more likely to penetrate. You wouldn’t want to miss a catch just because of a blunt hook, so take 30 seconds to sharpen it before every trip at the least.
4. Examine your Livewell water: If you’re using a Livewell, keep an eye on the water once the bass is in there. Bass are known for spitting up their dinner when caught, so by seeing what bass in the area are feeding on. This way, you can use the best possible lure by matching color or type and get more catches for the rest of the day.
5. Use red baits: If you’re fishing in shallow cover, use a spinnerbait with a red or pink head. This makes the bait look like an injured fish, making the bass more likely to bite.
6. Face the wind: Fishing with the wind on your face might mean you have to compromise some distance with your casts, but it’s worth it. Bass always swim with the current, so this way they’ll find your bait before they find your boat. Also, any noise you make will be carried in the opposite direction, which is another plus.
7. Use seasonal bait: Rather than using the same old bait year-round, make adjustments according to season. Bass eat differently according to the time of year; generally, earlier they eat crawfish, whereas later in the year they’re more likely to eat shad. In spring, use peach-colored patterns, switching to chrome or silver baits in the summer and fall.
We could go on and on about all the different adjustments you could make when fishing for bass, but we’ll leave it at those few. With this knowledge in mind, you should be a bass fishing pro, ready to impress your fishing mates next time you’re on a trip.
We would wholeheartedly recommend investing in a good bass attractant. Using fish attractants on soft, hard, or even live bait can make such a huge difference to the number of bites you get. Remember to consider the type of attractant you need, as well as the environmental impact it could have. Whether you’re after smallmouth or largemouth bass, spotted or Kentucky, a good bass attractant will improve your catch rate tremendously.
You can make the choice between a water-based or oil-based formula, and also between synthetic and natural ingredients. We would recommend choosing a formula using real fish, as this is the most effective in our opinion. For example, Baitmate classic uses real fish pheromones, giving it a special edge over the other options.
Having the right gear is an important step towards becoming a better angler. Just as bass anglers should have the right bass attractant, ice fishers need the best ice fishing boots, and so on. Fishing is not only a sport, but it is also a craft, one that many will spend a lifetime perfecting. There’s no right way to fish, but you can always make improvements, you can always be better, so why not try to improve your angling today, using one of our best bass attractants.
Bonus tip: Watch this video for even more bass fishing tips!