Did you know a fish’s strongest sense, is its sense of smell?
What if I told you there is a way to use this to our advantage to catch record size fish?
Prepared fishing baits are artificial baits that are pre-coated in a scent or dressed in some other type of fish attractant.
These baits are going to be the best alternative to live bait.
Fishing with prepared baits will give you a monumental advantage over other fishermen out on the water!
While a lot of other artificial baits on the market may look appealing to the fish, they don’t always hit the marker when it comes to truly imitating the preys’ taste and smell.
Check this out,
Salmon, on average, travel over 1,000 miles out to the ocean or lake for food over their lifetime. After this expansive journey, they travel all the way back to the stream they were born in, just to spawn. This whole adventure home is guided by their sense of smell (source).
That’s like smelling something in Florida while you’re in New York!
Some other food for thought:
If you were a fish, you have to deal with poor visibility and plenty of obstacles in the water.
But your smell? Well that’s not hindered at all. You can smell day and night and your sense of smell doesn’t change throughout the season.
So now that you understand the importance that the sense of smell has in a fish’s life, it’s time to talk about prepared baits. To make prepared baits easy to understand, I broke down the prepared baits by types of bait.
It’s All About Making that Dough
The first artificial prepared bait that we go over is dough.
Dough baits are one of the most common prepared baits on the market. It’s a dough-like bait that’s made of multiple ingredients based on the fish you’re trying to target.
It comes in one of two ways there is pre-formed and then unformed. Now on the market, it seems like there is a dough for every kind of fish.
Best Dough for Landing Monster Trout.
Trout are a tough fish to catch there’s no doubt about it.
If you’re looking to step up your trout fishing game read our trout fishing tips post!
Monster trout are nearly impossible to catch, but using specific baits like Trout Dough by Berkley are what’s really going to drive your hook-up percentage.
The Gulp lines of trout dough are engineered differently than other baits on the market.
They have the ability to disperse scent more than 400x other plastic baits that you would normally use.
The dough also has a neutral buoyancy so it’s really easy to get the bait into the strike zone.
Another thing that makes this dough great is it comes in multiple colors and it’s often packed with glitter.
This just goes to show how well Berkley focuses on catering to a fishes scenes, making this a truly wonderful bait.
A unique thing about the dough is its versatility. It can be used to coat lures, tip hooks(applying a small amount to the tip of a hook), or just fished as is. With this unformed version of the dough, you can mold it into any shape and size you want making changes on the fly really easy.
Some of the disadvantages to using dough is that it doesn’t stay on the hook very long and it also stinks.
Fortunately, there are some great products on the market that are made to remedy this problem. Fishing soaps like this one do a great job of getting that terrible scent off of your hands.
The Only Way to Guarantee Catching a Carp.
Sure you can catch a carp many different ways,
heck you can even shoot them.
But what if I told you there was a way to catch carp on all of your excursions…
Well, the answer is using a prime dough bait such as the Uncle Josh Carp Bait.
Using dough in the unformed packaging like this. Are easy to use!
All you do is simply reach in the container and scoop out a sizable amount depending on the fish you are fishing for.
Finally, just mold into a sphere around the hook. Fishing for carp with dough is so great even NPR did a report on it!
Make sure to get a high-quality fishing scale to record the weight of your record size fish.
The one Bait That Puts Noodling to Shame
There is dough bait that puts noodling to shame.
Noodling, if you didn’t know already, is a method of fishing for catfish using just your hands.
Dough baits like Catfish Bubble Gum are a great choice when fishing for catfish.
A downside that you normally face when fishing with dough, is the smell. Dough baits are often made of fish or insects and can normally put off a very foul smell.
Unfortunately, that smell can be difficult to get rid of.
As previously mentioned, fishing soaps like this one do a great job of getting that terrible scent off of your hands.
Now I know what you may be wondering,
How can it be an effective bait if it doesn’t stink?
That’s where this product get’s even better.
You see what they have done with this bait is infused it with fish oils and made it irresistible to fish with both taste and smell.
This bait is also 100% all natural and can be used to catch any species of catfish!
So just about every fisherman I know fishes with plastic baits.
Whether it’s a stick bait(plastic worm) or a swim bait everybody uses them and they do a great job catching fish.
Dressed plastics are plastic baits that you normally use that are left to soak in a solution to make them more attractive to a fish.
Your normal plastic baits are deadly as is, but dressed plastic baits are going to allow you to out fish all of your friends!
The Berkley Gulp! Alive! Series has an amazing line up of dressed plastics that do an amazing job and win tournaments.
Their plastics are engineered specifically to soak in 20% more attractant than other plastics.
This allows a fish to smell that lure from further away and it also may just be the one thing that pulls that giant fish out from hiding to take your lure.
The time that Berkley spent designing this bait really paid off.
Not only are the plastics great for their ability to absorb scent but they are also strong and outlast most traditional plastics.
Even the bucket that these baits are purchased in had the fisherman in mind. These buckets the plastic baits are sold in have a nice large opening to easily grab the baits without getting your hands too dirty.
Also with this large opening, it makes easy to dunk your baits throughout fishing to keep your bait recharged!
Dressed plastics are great for just about any fish. Just about all plastic baits now come also in a scented version.
What about Eggs?
Salmon eggs are a great example of prepared baits.
They are quick and easy to use, and they land fish. Fishing with eggs is more geared to trout and salmon fishing. Artificial salmon eggs come in a variety of styles and they all serve a purpose.
Here are some common egg presentations.
Fishing with single eggs is a great tactic when fishing in high pressured fishing areas.
These eggs can be used in a couple different ways.
Personal favorite is using just one egg on a very small egg hook (size12). Some other ways of fishing with single eggs is to stack multiple eggs on one hook.
Netted Eggs/Spawn Sacks
Another way eggs are presented is in a net. Spawn sacks are great for fishing for trout or salmon early on in the season.
The egg sac, as netted eggs are often referred to, does a great job imitating large groupings of eggs stuck together.
More eggs can often be a better attractant to fish.
Floating eggs are the spawn sacks with a twist.
They are the same thing but they add small Styrofoam balls to the sacs.
The advantage to having the floating sacs is that the bait can easily be lifted just off the bottom which is the strike zone.
A Different type of Pig Skin
So another type of prepared bait that often goes unnoticed is the Pork Rind.
These baits are great when you are fishing for fish like bass.
They are great in many ways.
The first, being the ability to attract fish from far away with their powerful scent.
The scents vary depending on the make and the fish being targeted. Another great feature of these baits is the durability.
These pork rind baits are almost guaranteed to stay on your hook. Lastly, these baits are super easy to use.
They often come pre-cut with a spot to thread your hook through and if they don’t it’s not hard to manually force the hook into it.
The pork rind can be fished on its own but its normally added as a trailer(an additional bait added on to the hook of a lure).
Last But not Least, the Cured Baits
The last prepared bait that we talk about is cured baits.
Now cured baits come in many different forms. Whether the bait is salted left in a brine or cured, at the end of the day the cured baits are all similar. The baits are all similar in the way that they were once living and now preserved in a solution to make them more attractive to fish.
Cured baits are great for fishing on their own; rigs like a drop shot are a great choice.
Another way people fish with cured baits is by adding them to a lure they would normally use.