The main purpose of scented baits is to attract more strikes, and to varying degrees they do their job. I’ve found that sometimes a scented bait will close the deal with bass when they’re not really in the mood to feed. But where scented soft plastics really shine is for smallmouth bass. I’m not exactly sure why smallmouth bass go for scented baits so well, but I think it has to do with the fact that they’re curious fish and will come and look at something that’s moving or catches their eye. When they get close enough to get a whiff of a scented bait, a lot of times they’ll go ahead and take it. At least that’s been my experience.
Largemouths don’t operate quite the same way. They’re more reflexive and will either run at something and take it or leave it alone without coming to investigate. My favorite baits of this type are Berkley Gulp in goby, shad or leech patterns. Typically I fish them with a drop-shot with a 1/0 hook for the bigger sizes or a size 2 hook for the smaller sizes. I’ll fish current breaks, eddies, rocky points, weed flats – the usual places where smallmouth bass like to hang out. Fall is a great time to go after big smallmouths, and even inexperienced anglers have a better chance to catch them with scented soft-plastics.
---- Chevy pro Jay Yelas, Corvallis, Ore.