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A Little Smell Good

By Mark Romanack

Pro Cure produces a host of fishing attracting scent products. The Super 
Gels are rapidly becoming a favorite of the Fishing 411 crew.
You know how the smell of fresh baked bread coming out of the oven makes your mouth water? Fishing scents don’t smell like that, but they have the same impact on hungry fish.

A growing number of anglers realize that enjoying success in a fishing boat often boils down to the little details associated with fishing. Using scent products to entice fish into striking is one of those often overlooked details in fishing that can and often does make a difference.

The concept of adding scents to fishing lures in an effort to entice more bites isn’t something new in fishing. What is new is that fishing scents these days are a lot more sophisticated than many anglers realize. 

Back in the day fishing scents were mostly about “cover scents” including popular smells like garlic and oil of anise. Today those distinctive odors are still common in fishing scents, but more natural scents created from real forage fish is where the “fishing scent” business is heading.

Recently Mari and I had the pleasure of touring the Pro-Cure Bait Scents factory in Salem, Oregon. Talk about a sensory experience, the Pro-Cure plant purchases natural forage species like herring, alewives, smelt, crayfish, shrimp, krill, nightcrawlers, anchovy and dozens of others literally by the truck load. These “real baits” formulate the base ingredients to Pro-Cure’s popular line of Super Gels, fish oils and sauces designed to get the attention of fish. 

On the west coast the majority of anglers use fishing
 scents to entice fish into biting. Here in the Great
 Lakes most anglers have not discovered how to 
get the most from using fishing scents.
Using real forage species in fishing scents makes sense for a lot of reasons. The problem is that until Pro-Cure no one had figured out how to use natural products without the stuff spoiling and smelling more like road kill than something a fish would find good to eat. The credit goes to mad scientist Phil Pirone who also happens to be an avid fisherman. 

What Mr. Pirone figured out and brought to market was a way of stabilizing natural forage fish so it smells like it’s supposed to and doesn’t spoil. Pro-Cure’s popular Super Gel has a shelf life of five years, but don’t expect a bottle to last that long. Super Gel works so well that anglers start applying it to all their favorite hard baits.

Super Gel is in fact designed to adhere to spoons, plugs, jigs and other hard baits. A dab puts out a natural fish attracting scent trail in the water for about 30 minutes. 

Adding fishing scents isn’t however limited to using artificial lures. Pro-Cure also produces a host of fish oils, sauces and water soluble fish oils designed for squirting on or injecting into live bait and cut bait. 

Steve Lynch of Pro-Cure explained to me that fish oils and sauces are most effective when actually injected into minnows, leeches, nightcrawlers or cut bait. After injecting these scents, use the injector needle to poke a few holes so the sweet scent of success can leach (no pun intended) out into the water. 

Water soluble fish oils have another useful purpose. These scents are commonly used on flies, spinners dressed with hackle, bucktail jigs and other artificial lures that have hair or feather dressings. Super Gel and ordinary fish oils can matt down hair or feathers and eliminate that natural pulsating action. Water soluble fish oils solve that problem.

I also learned during my tour of the Pro-Cure factory that smelling like fresh forage fish is good, but it’s also important to eliminate unnatural odors common on fishing tackle. Steve Lynch recommended cleaning lures first to eliminate unnatural odors by washing them in Lemon Scented Joy dishwashing fluid. Steve also uses liquid WD-40 to clean his lures. This petroleum based product cleans oils and pastes from lures and the solvents involved evaporate quickly leaving the baits scent free.

After fishing lures have been cleaned, applying fishing scents works much better. Foreign odors like sunscreen, insect repellant, fuel and tobacco have a nasty habit of finding their way onto our fishing tackle. Before natural fishing scents can work, these foreign odors have to be eliminated. 

Jake headed to the west coast a skeptic when
 it comes to fishing scents. Boating kings like 
this over and over again convinced him there is 
something noteworthy to using after market 
fishing scents like Pro-Cure.
Using fishing scents can make a huge difference in how fish react to our baits and lures. The problem is using scents comes with a responsibility to keep foreign odors at bay. A daily regiment of cleaning lures before applying fishing scent is the best way to get the most from these fish attracting products.

In some cases Pro-Cure scents are formulated from a single natural forage species. In other cases they use mixtures of common forage fish to create a bouillabaisse of fish attracting odors. It’s a little mind boggling how many scent products Pro-Cure produces, but this is also great evidence how well the products work. Pro-Cure keeps coming out with new scents and anglers keep buying them, using them and keeping this stuff as secret as possible.

On the west coast pretty much everyone is using Pro-Cure and the word is out. Here in the Great Lakes only a handful of anglers have discovered the powers of fishing natural scent products. Those who have discovered Pro-Cure are largely guides, outfitters and tournament anglers who make a living out of keeping stuff like this secret.

If your favorite fishing tackle retailer doesn’t stock Pro-Cure products they may not know about them yet. A little time at the computer and it’s easy to learn about all the Pro-Cure products. Pro-Cure can be ordered on-line at if you can’t find the stuff you’re looking for locally. 

Anglers who would like a sample of Pro-Cure can do so by attending one of Mark or Jake’s many fishing seminars this winter. Pro-Cure is happy to give away samples because they know if anglers try it, they will be impressed with the results.