Smell, Colours, Sound.... What really attracts fish into our pegs?

RedRidingHood

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 10, 2019
Messages
518
So just recently I've been having an ongoing dispute with a friend I go fishing with, He's a keen angler who's big into his Tackle and has just recently been getting big into his bait selections, Everytime I see him he's purchased a new, innovative, pretty smelling bait and every time I reply 'But would x have achieved the same result @ over half the cost?' He insists it's making all the difference and thinks hes gaining a massive edge having an arsenal of several £3-5 bags of branded groundbait, pellets and attractants that can be upwards of £15.00 alone o_O......

But I just don't see it.

Now, I'm completely on the opposite side of the boat, I believe that so long as you have a decent range of coloured baits in different shapes and sizes + The right technique you'll do just fine even on the most finnicky of days without the need of spending hundreds of pounds having 15 different bags of different smelling groundbaits, pellets, boilies, wafters, attractants and so forth that companies are so desperate to sell to us. If you hadn't already noticed from the above statement, On the basis of baits I'm a big believer in cheaper, basic foundations (Feed/Groundbait/Pellets) paired with (in my opinion) the more important aspect which is technique and coloured hookbaits. Now, That's not to say I don't think smells play any part at all - It does & thats a fact. I just feel as though we're being lead to believe that we need to be super in depth with our baits to achieve catching fish when I don't think we really do.. After all, they're fish which would naturally eat whatever is laying on or moving around the bottom of a lake or river.

For instance, I buy 25KG Bags of Groundbait for £10.00. It's not great smelling, It mixes well though, I can mix it from slop all the way to hard balls of groundbait that'll reliably hit the bottom of a deep lake to then break down as I want it to. That to me is what matters, and it works. I've used it on Rivers, Commercials and Natural Stillwaters and have had just as much success as someone running £4-5 bags of branded groundbait that work out sometimes triple the cost of mine, They just end up smelling a bit more fruity at the end of the day. It's Same with Feed Pellets I purchase. £2 / 1KG In comparison to the branded £3.50-£4 per 900g bags other people use. As for my expanders I use Ringers only, Then I colour them to my liking on the bank instead of purchasing 3-4 bags of different coloured expanders, sometimes in little pots at £4.00 a pop o_O I think the last time I truly added anything to my 'usual' set up was the addition of the Wafter, Which is actually a great and innovative bait that I totally understand, trialled and now can't get enough of. But this is only on the basis of how they work internally and how they waft about on the bottom. But then again I find asking myself 'Does it really matter if the Wafter smells like 'Chocolate Orange' 'Pineapple' or 'Banoffee'?' Then I ask 'What if I just used the same bait without the added attractant? Would I have achieved the same result' In my mind, yes I probably would have achieved the same result. I don't know, I'm just too pessimistic and not 100% convinced.

I think this question is more aimed at the pleasure Angler. I do attend the odd matches but nothing big so I can't really comment how my views on this subject would pan out if I fished an open match against serious matchmen with my lack of variety bait and feedwise. I could however see how the fish could be more pick & choosey on a full open match when so much different bait is being used, But on the average day of pleasure I just can't see it. I do hope to start fishing some more serious opens next year so I guess I'll find out for myself soon enough.

I guess I'm just a very pessimistic, circumspect & wary person in general who doesn't have 100% faith in any company trying to sell things to me. Maybe that's my downfall. Maybe I need to attend those matches next year and get a proper good kicking to see the error in my ways.
 

corkycat

Regular member
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
264
Liquid molasses is my go to. £8 for a 5-litre bottle from my local animal feed store. It lasts me a season, especially when used diluted. I mix it with the cheapest bog-standard groundbait I can find. Best of it is, it doesn't just attract carp it also attracts wild bream, and barbel and chub from rivers.
 

spanky

Irregular Member
Site Supporter
Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Messages
9,447
I think it's good to step back for a moment from time to time to think about how you're fishing and ask if you can do better. The answer is probably yes, but how is not so obvious - changing for the sake of change will not guarantee more fish, it may even produce less.

As a good rule of thumb you need to consider trying to get your feed and bait to appeal to as many of the fish's senses as possible. So consider sight (colour and appearance), sound, smell, taste and movement (of hook-bait in particular) when thinking about experimenting. Anything you can do to improve these aspects could catch you more fish... but only if it improves the appeal to the fish.

I recall a few years back the practice of flavouring maggots and it did make a marked difference bringing a dead swim to life in just a few minutes. However most changes will be quite subtle. My advice would be to prepared to experiment from time-to-time, but remember not everything will be a success. But a magic bait additive could be just around the corner (coffee, Worcestershire sauce, chilli powder etc) could just make the difference. But also remember that expensive baits used by sponsored anglers are sometimes more an exercise in catching fisherman rather than catching fish!
 

Zerkalo

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
7,514
On the weir I fish, the Chub will come to the splash of the feeder when they're feeding. That surprises me a bit as they're wild fish on a natural water, but they will often bite not long after the feeder hits the water and then come out gorged on maggots. It's less surprising on venues that get fed everyday and you can attract them simply by splashing.

On bigger rivers, I think I've learned that fish must have very adept senses. I often use plain and small pellets with very little going for them but high oil content when Barbel fishing and I trust the same pellets (coppens/fishery pellets) in the majority of my other fishing.

I think the fact fish like maggots and casters so much tells me that they're just adept at finding food, especially if it's full of protein.

I have tried Decathlon groundbait on your recommendation and found it pretty good. When it comes to groundbait, I do like to buy branded groundbait, but only because I get mixes with different functional qualities as much as I like the different smells.
 

abbo27

Regular member
Joined
Apr 14, 2011
Messages
144
I fished my first match since the summer last week. I used expensive branded pellets rather than the much cheaper fishery pellets I usually use and caught much better than I was expecting for the time of year. This was quite possibly down to the mild weather and where I drew, but I will never know. I do know I will use them next time so my bait bill just got bigger!
 

davej1981

Regular member
Joined
Feb 25, 2020
Messages
580
I think most of it is down to confidence. We are all searching for that magic bait/additive but it doesn’t exist. We can all get too carried away with all the fancy and well marketed baits but alot of the time they catch the angler more than fish. Having said that i will always try and have something different with me just to try coz you never no....
 

Neil ofthe nene

Doing things differently.
Site Supporter
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
22,109
First off I believe there are fish already in my peg. My job is to get them feeding and taking the bait I am offering. Either I have to find the bait they want or I have to encourage them to eat what I offer.

Until last Friday I didn't give flavourings much thought, I dismissed them as a bit of a gimmick or confidence booster. Plain pellets out of the sack worked. Now I am not so sure.

A few weeks ago I picked up some flavoured pellet soak liquid as part of an offer on baits when at a Copdock Mill event. I tried one of the pellet soaks next session on my club lake and didn't notice much difference in catch. Though the fish may have been put off by the weather changing from Summer to Autumn. The leftover flavoured pellets were frozen and it is these I started the day on last Friday. While feeding the flavoured micro pellets I had 16 fish including three rare tench and a few crucians, skimmers and three carp. After the flavoured pellets ran out and I switched to unflavoured ones I caught just three more fish in roughly the same length of time.

There could be more than one reason why the fish stopped feeding/taking my hookbait and until I can do some more experimenting I will not know. But I have certainly had my eyes opened to the possibility that flavour matters.
 

Dave Spence

MD virtual champion 2020. Golden Pie winner 2018.
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
8,083
It's always problem Neil, as I am sure you will agree, when you try something new you wonder if it would have worked without it. I doubt we will ever know the definitive answer
 

davej1981

Regular member
Joined
Feb 25, 2020
Messages
580
First off I believe there are fish already in my peg. My job is to get them feeding and taking the bait I am offering. Either I have to find the bait they want or I have to encourage them to eat what I offer.

Until last Friday I didn't give flavourings much thought, I dismissed them as a bit of a gimmick or confidence booster. Plain pellets out of the sack worked. Now I am not so sure.

A few weeks ago I picked up some flavoured pellet soak liquid as part of an offer on baits when at a Copdock Mill event. I tried one of the pellet soaks next session on my club lake and didn't notice much difference in catch. Though the fish may have been put off by the weather changing from Summer to Autumn. The leftover flavoured pellets were frozen and it is these I started the day on last Friday. While feeding the flavoured micro pellets I had 16 fish including three rare tench and a few crucians, skimmers and three carp. After the flavoured pellets ran out and I switched to unflavoured ones I caught just three more fish in roughly the same length of time.

There could be more than one reason why the fish stopped feeding/taking my hookbait and until I can do some more experimenting I will not know. But I have certainly had my eyes opened to the possibility that flavour matters.
This is what i mean by confidence. Youve tried it and for whatever reason its worked. It may well have been the flavouring but we will never know. The key thing is while using it you have caught well and the chances are you will use it again

my first time fishing pellets all i got was sonu robin reds- i caught on them and as such they will always be my go to pellet. Whether I would have caught any less on a plain pellet i don’t know, all i do know is 1 have confidence in the sonu ones
 

endpeg

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2006
Messages
2,309
Certain flavours/additives certainly work, it's a case of trial and error.
I have one that definitely works but I wont be telling anyone!
Its won me plenty of money especially when it's hard in Winter.
 

Silver fan 82

Regular member
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
2,355
So just recently I've been having an ongoing dispute with a friend I go fishing with, He's a keen angler who's big into his Tackle and has just recently been getting big into his bait selections, Everytime I see him he's purchased a new, innovative, pretty smelling bait and every time I reply 'But would x have achieved the same result @ over half the cost?' He insists it's making all the difference and thinks hes gaining a massive edge having an arsenal of several £3-5 bags of branded groundbait, pellets and attractants that can be upwards of £15.00 alone o_O......

But I just don't see it.

Now, I'm completely on the opposite side of the boat, I believe that so long as you have a decent range of coloured baits in different shapes and sizes + The right technique you'll do just fine even on the most finnicky of days without the need of spending hundreds of pounds having 15 different bags of different smelling groundbaits, pellets, boilies, wafters, attractants and so forth that companies are so desperate to sell to us. If you hadn't already noticed from the above statement, On the basis of baits I'm a big believer in cheaper, basic foundations (Feed/Groundbait/Pellets) paired with (in my opinion) the more important aspect which is technique and coloured hookbaits. Now, That's not to say I don't think smells play any part at all - It does & thats a fact. I just feel as though we're being lead to believe that we need to be super in depth with our baits to achieve catching fish when I don't think we really do.. After all, they're fish which would naturally eat whatever is laying on or moving around the bottom of a lake or river.

For instance, I buy 25KG Bags of Groundbait for £10.00. It's not great smelling, It mixes well though, I can mix it from slop all the way to hard balls of groundbait that'll reliably hit the bottom of a deep lake to then break down as I want it to. That to me is what matters, and it works. I've used it on Rivers, Commercials and Natural Stillwaters and have had just as much success as someone running £4-5 bags of branded groundbait that work out sometimes triple the cost of mine, They just end up smelling a bit more fruity at the end of the day. It's Same with Feed Pellets I purchase. £2 / 1KG In comparison to the branded £3.50-£4 per 900g bags other people use. As for my expanders I use Ringers only, Then I colour them to my liking on the bank instead of purchasing 3-4 bags of different coloured expanders, sometimes in little pots at £4.00 a pop o_O I think the last time I truly added anything to my 'usual' set up was the addition of the Wafter, Which is actually a great and innovative bait that I totally understand, trialled and now can't get enough of. But this is only on the basis of how they work internally and how they waft about on the bottom. But then again I find asking myself 'Does it really matter if the Wafter smells like 'Chocolate Orange' 'Pineapple' or 'Banoffee'?' Then I ask 'What if I just used the same bait without the added attractant? Would I have achieved the same result' In my mind, yes I probably would have achieved the same result. I don't know, I'm just too pessimistic and not 100% convinced.

I think this question is more aimed at the pleasure Angler. I do attend the odd matches but nothing big so I can't really comment how my views on this subject would pan out if I fished an open match against serious matchmen with my lack of variety bait and feedwise. I could however see how the fish could be more pick & choosey on a full open match when so much different bait is being used, But on the average day of pleasure I just can't see it. I do hope to start fishing some more serious opens next year so I guess I'll find out for myself soon enough.

I guess I'm just a very pessimistic, circumspect & wary person in general who doesn't have 100% faith in any company trying to sell things to me. Maybe that's my downfall. Maybe I need to attend those matches next year and get a proper good kicking to see the error in my ways.
I honestly think that good watercraft plays a much bigger part than using expensive baits. I've bought all the latest boilies but caught my PB carp on a simple chick pea straight from the tin. Also had decent fish on maggots. IMO the two most important things are location and presentation. If your not fishing where there are fish you won't catch them. Then also you have to present your bait so that it looks as natural as possible to the fish.
 

Silver fan 82

Regular member
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
2,355
I think most of it is down to confidence. We are all searching for that magic bait/additive but it doesn’t exist. We can all get too carried away with all the fancy and well marketed baits but alot of the time they catch the angler more than fish. Having said that i will always try and have something different with me just to try coz you never no....
Confidence also plays a big part Dave. If you catch well on a certain bait you will use it again. But that next session when you use your new wonder bait it may not work? Had that myself. That's when you really start thinking about your approach.
 

Mike atkinson

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Nov 22, 2013
Messages
1,107
I watched rob wooten on YouTube doing an experiment on flavourings and colours, he chucked out two hybrid feeders,clipped up at the same distance,, one with standard micros,, one with flavourings on, and he caught more on the ones with flavouring on, even when swapping over, and changing swims with each rod, it was very obvious the flavourings worked well, on that particular day
 

Warden

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Oct 9, 2005
Messages
934
Not sure which side of the discussion is right but a few years ago on evening matches at Westwood (mainly silvers water) I broke the match record a couple of times using Krill flavoring on different baits,(same peg) this peg was in every week but had not produced to that extent everyone started using the flavoring and the fish got wise to it and no one got near the weight for a long time,was it the new flavoring or just coincidence ,I wasn't the best angler by any stretch of the imagination but have to lean towards they can work.
 
Top