Most "fish attractants" are actually just mechanisms to cover up human scent (as this article here as well as this one point out). They don't actually attract fish, but they mask any fish-negative smells that the bait have come into contact with (your hands, cigars, sun tan lotion, bug repellent, etc.). This doesn't entice the fish to bite the bait; it simply entices them to keep the bait in their mouth for longer if they decide to bite at all.

Well, ideally, I'd like to find some way of attracting the fish to the location where I'm fishing. I could then optionally decide to use a fish "attracant" to mask any smells I've inadvertently introduced. So I'm looking for an actual fish attractant.

I could take a jug of some sort and perforate its lid with lots of tiny holes. I would then put the actual fish attractant in the jug (obviously, the attracant would be different depending on the sort of fish I'm looking to catch). I could tether the jug to my boat or to land with a rope. I'd throw the jug as far as I could, and because the lid has holes in it, it would fill with water, sink, and begin leeching out the attractant.

Two questions:

  1. Is this feasible/possible? If not, why? If so, what are some tried & proven methods/best practices here?; and
  2. If it is possible, where could I find different "recipes" for different attractants based on the fish I'm looking to catch. I live in upstate NY (Adirondacks), so the major species are: bass, pike, trout and musky.
  • Not so sure this is an attractant how you want, but when snorkelling off the island of Mauritius they crumbled bread in the water to bring the fish to us, and they stayed surprisingly long once we were in the water.
    – Aravona
    Jul 23, 2014 at 15:58
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    As a note, these are illegal in many areas. Please check your local regs. Jul 23, 2014 at 19:26

2 Answers 2

  1. Yes, it is possible. In my experience, the best attractant is food. You want to put the attractant out well in advance, and preferably over a number of days. Anything blood based will work for most bottom feeders (catfish and the like). Rice also works fairly well for catfish, over a period of time. For active predators such as bass, you have a harder job ahead of you. Mostly they hunt based on motion, but there are many reasons (legal and environmental) to not release live bait.

  2. That's effectively what this forum is for. Seed the questions and we'll all go find the answers :)

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    There are a fair amount of regulations around this kind of chumming, too, so check you local regs.In the Puget Sound we regularly pull a bunch of mussels off the dock pilings to attract crab at the bottom then dive down to grab our crab dinner. Apr 20, 2016 at 1:08

I don't know if this is local to New Zealand, but this is fairly common practice for both shore-based and boat anglers. You can either buy or make a Berley Bomb, which is exactly this. It is ground up fish / blood / bits frozen into a block, then hung in the water to defrost and disperse.

If you are surfcasting, you can put one out a few hours before you start fishing to get fish to gather nearby.

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