Hunters have been using various scents or covering agents to fool game for years. There are basically
two different kinds of agents; masking agents mask or cover your own natural smells like body odor or
other foreign odors such as camp smoke. These odors can be a dead giveaway to an approaching deer
that is perpetually checking the air for something out of the ordinary. Masking agents are available in
both clothing detergents and body soaps and depending on how serious you are, you may choose to
use both. The second type of scent is atractors and as the name implies, these agents are engineered
to attract a big buck by mimicking the natural estrogen odor found in doe urine. Serious hunters tend
to lean more towards the masking agents than atractors as the later may have the tendency to disrupt
the natural movement of deer during the rut and limit which animals come around to you stand but the
point to all of this that anglers can take a page from this book and apply it to everyday fly fishing without
really changing much of their routine.
Negative scent tracks such as L-Serine (a naturally occurring, non-essential amino acid found in body
oils), nicotine, sun screen, insect repellent, hand lotion and gasoline would all be examples of negative
scent tracks that may give a trout pause when he moves to examine your offering.
Positives cent tracks might be fish slime (careful though because pike slime could be a negative scent
when fishing for Smallmouth bass due to the pike’s predatory tendencies.) or fish guts and there is some
suggestion that substances like dairy product such as milk or cheese can also have a positive influence.
The obvious ones like artificial fish attractants, chum or bait juices tend not to be overly popular among
the fly fishing fraternity but I’ve seen them used and there is no way that I can dispute the effectiveness.
Once while fishing red fish in Florida, I was having a good old fashion but kicking by my friend who was
using live shrimp. That was until I started marinating my Gerkins in the shrimp bucket. (I had to shower
afterwards but still felt horribly dirty… but man did I hook a lot of reds!)
We don’t need to go to extremes to positively affect our flies for better success.
Wilson’s Fly Shop