Scents could change artificial-bait industry

For years, fishing lure manufacturers have been incorporating flavors and scents into soft baits to enhance their attractiveness to fish.

Few put chemical attractants into hard baits like plugs and divers, figuring their shape, color, noise and action in the water would be sufficient to draw the attention of a bass or snook.

Charles Stone, a freshwater and saltwater angler who operates a Fort Lauderdale dental lab, hopes to revolutionize the artificial bait industry with his new line of Wicked Strike hard baits. His company’s motto is: “Scents make sense.”

“Scent is the strongest sense fish use to hunt for food,” Stone said. “This brings your bait to life.”

Stone’s patented baits have a hollow reservoir in the body where the angler squirts a liquid fish attractant such as Bang or Lunker Sauce to saturate a wick that protrudes from the rear of a lure like a tail. A rubber bridle with a cap holds the wick in place.

“It leaves a scent trail as you pull it through the water,” Stone explained. “It’s like having a live bait on your boat whenever you want it. One application lasts hours.”

Freshwater models include poppers, shad and minnows in a variety of colors, which sell for $10 on the company website, For saltwater, Stone makes a mullet and squid for $1 more apiece.

Said Stone: “The industry spends millions to get baits to wobble and flash, but they haven’t made them smell properly. These are most effective in saltwater because that’s where fish really use scents.”