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Archive for Sunday, June 10, 2007

Yuck, phew! : garlic-laced fish candy funky

June 10, 2007

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Fishermen have long turned to fish attractants to get more bites, and Randy Jones is no different. But when the status quo wasn't pungent enough, he took matters into his own hands.

Now, he hopes to get stinking rich off his sauce.

In the morning, when Jones first goes into the "lab," one of two shed-like structures in his back yard in Cameron, N.C., he flips on an industrial fan aimed out the propped door.

The smell of garlic is so thick - having built up overnight - that he usually heads back into his house and has a cup of coffee before returning.

"It'll just about knock you down," he said.

Jones, 46, is the man behind CB's Hawg Sauce, that neon-colored fish attractant that has made it onto the shelves of bait shops across the Southeast and beyond.

It has long been contended by anglers that fish attractants give anglers an edge - they appeal to a fish's sense of smell, cover up human odors and can trick the fish into holding on longer.

But for Jones, a bass angler at heart, the fish attractants on the market weren't strong enough. They wore off too quickly, he said.

Though he did not invent the concept of a garlic-scented bass attractant, he went out into his shed and started tinkering in 2000.

"I spent many, many hours in this lab - figuring out what they want," he said.

What he came up with is three times stronger than other scents on the market, he said.

"Smell mine, and then go smell theirs," he said. "You can just tell."

Jones lives on a quiet country road, and he has few neighbors, none of whom ever has complained about the smell, he said.

"That's why we live out in the woods," he said.

His wife, Rene, is supportive.

"It keeps him busy," she said. "It smells fine. It's not in the house. It's where it's supposed to be."

Even for garlic lovers, the smell inside the Jones' lab is probably too heavy. But under the water, bass love the clove, he said.

"The garlic's got that taste," he said. "Fish love garlic."

Jones' friends urged him to start selling the liquid. He put it on the market in 2003.

In the lab, there are several Rube Goldberg-style devices.

Three large vats are used for mixing the main components, water or oil with a sweetener. One is a 55-gallon drum, and the others are containers of 95 and 250 gallons.

Pumps move the liquid into PVC pipes and smaller mixing stations where the scent is added.

Metal commercial framing constructed just so holds motors above 5-gallon buckets. Metal rods with propellers extend from the motors and rotate, mixing the ingredients.

Around the shop are Mason jars full of flavored oil from his secret source.

Come summertime, he'll limit Hawg Sauce labor to the evenings because there's no air conditioning in the lab.

"If I got to whip a batch up in the morning, I'm out of there by noon time," he said.

Sometimes, the smell is too strong even for him.

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