Way back in 2006, I put up a post on the impact of odor on trout. In that article, I quoted the writing of Nick Anikijenko who pointed out that it is very easy to transfer human smells to your fly or lure. The simple act of tying the lure on is all it takes to transfer enough smell to destroy your fishing for hours. He specifically commented on the sensitivity of trout to odor and pointed out that gas, insect repellent and even suntan lotion can impart a distinct fish-repelling scent that you need to be aware of and counteract.
In the January issue of In-Fisherman, there was a short article in the "From the Lab" section that discussed the impact of odor on bass. Dr Keith Jones, whose findings drove the development of the productive scents embedded in Powerbait and Gulp!, conducted research on what repels bass.
He confirmed what we documented back in 2006. Insect repellent works on more than bugs. In fact, it's probably even more effective on fish and insects. Suntan lotion? Ditto. Bass don't like it. Even some food preservatives make the list of things to avoid. That's something to consider if you make a sandwich out of processed meat in the middle of your fishing trip.
He goes on to state that detergents and soaps also have an unattractive odor and you should avoid using them. This creates a problem embodied in the question of, "How do I get rid of one smell only to add another?" Unfortunately, the "From the Lab" article does not talk about the solution, only the problem.
I have used a small spray tube containing something that smells like alcohol you can buy from Bass Pro or Dick's Sporting Goods to neutralize odor - it is advertised in the store as an odor neutralizer. The problem I've had with that solution is that the liquid quickly evaporates or leaks out of the tube. Bass Pro also has something they call the "Wonder Bar" to remove odor. Unfortunately, the description that goes with it claims it removes fish and bait scent; two things you actually want your hands smell like when you're handling lures.
The best approach is to scrub your hands in the dirt after you arrive at the water. Rinse them in the lake or river and then scrub them in sand again. After you do that, be careful of what you touch.
Oh! What about gasoline and oil? Trout did not like those smells at all. It turns out that bass do. Dr. Jones says that bass have no aversion to "food dipped in motor oil and gasoline". Amazing.
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