Tommy Biffle on Fish Attracting ScentsTommy Biffle on Fish Attracting Scents Using fish attracting scents makes a lot of sense to Bassmaster Elite Series pro Tommy Biffle. Here's why.
By John Neporadny Jr.
While some anglers might consider fish attracting scents a marketing gimmick, Biffle thinks otherwise. “I think scent is pretty important,” Biffle says. “If the fish are biting well you will catch yourself not using it as much maybe. But if you make yourself use it all the time you will catch more fish.”
The Oklahoma pro started out using Fish Formula when it was introduced in the 1980s and he has been using some form of scent throughout the rest of his career. Biffle recalls the instant he became a firm believer in garlic spray after it was introduced. While fishing a tournament in Tennessee, Biffle had caught bass off of four stumps in the back of a creek one day. The next day he went back to the same stumps but never got a bite. When he saw his partner spraying garlic on his bait, Biffle asked if he would spray some on Biffle’s jig. “So I went back to those four stumps that I had just got done fishing about 3 minutes ago and caught three 4-pounders off those stumps,” he says.
The two-time Bassmaster Classic runner-up started realizing how effective scent was when Northern lakes became frequent sites for Bassmaster tournaments. He noticed when fishing around home he would catch a bass here and there flipping or casting a jig doused in scent, but Biffle discovered a scented bait produced better numbers on Northern waters. “If you find a place where you can catch a bunch of smallmouth in one spot, then you can really see how good scent is,” he says.
Biffle recalls a Bassmaster event at Thousand Islands when the fishing was slow one morning so he decided to apply a goby-flavored scent to his Gene Larew Biffle Bug. He immediately caught a 4-pound smallmouth when the camera boat arrived. On his next two casts, he caught two more fish in the same weight class and on his fifth cast, Biffle caught a walleye. When the camera boat guys asked what he was doing, Biffle told them he was applying scent to his Biffle Bug. The tournament veteran also believes scent played a key role in his victory at the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series event on the Mississippi River in Lacrosse, Wis.
Scents now come in a variety of flavors, but Biffle believes the best scent is one loaded with lots of garlic. However he can’t explain why fish like garlic so much. “It definitely works on people,” he quips. Other flavors of scents he has used throughout the years include shad, crayfish and goby. Biffle decides which flavor of scent to apply based on the main forage of the area he is fishing.
His fondness for scent prompted Biffle to team up with Gene Larew to produce his Biffle Bug Juice, a new gel crawfish formulation with garlic. Larew claims the amino-acid base formulation provides natural protein requirements for bass.
Although some anglers apply scent to crankbaits, Biffle believes the best lures for scenting are soft plastics, especially those with hollow bodies and ribs. His favorite lure for adding scent is the Biffle Bug since it has an oval-opening cavity for injecting scent and a ribbed body for applying his gel scent between the ribs.
When applying his Bug Juice to his Biffle Bug, the Oklahoma pro keeps squirting the gel into the hollow area until it starts oozing out of the opening and then applies a generous amount on the lure’s bottom ribs. “Then I wipe the nozzle applicator off on the tail,” he says.
Since his Bug Juice is a “Vaseline-type” scent, Biffle claims it will stay on a bait longer than a spray scent. He has noticed the scent grease has stayed on his lure while fishing for 10 to 20 minutes before he had to reapply.
Water temperature sometimes dictates how frequently Biffle has to reapply scent to his bait. He has to reapply scent more often in the summertime because the warm water makes the Bug Juice runnier so it drips off the bait faster, whereas in cold water the grease thickens and clings to the lure longer.
Cold weather also makes it more difficult to apply a grease scent since it tends to thicken, but Biffle has some solutions for this problem. When fishing in the cold, Biffle prevents his Bug Juice from thickening by keeping the scent in his pocket so it will remain warm. If he is having trouble squeezing the gel out, Biffle cuts off part of the bottle’s nozzle to make a larger opening so the grease can flow out more freely.
Biffle favors the grease style of scent over spray scents because he considers the gel easier to apply and is less messy. “You get more of (the spray) on your boat than you do on your bait,” Biffle says.
The Bassmaster star is unsure if his Biffle Bug Juice is better than other scents. All Biffle knows is that it works for him and he has the tournament results to prove it.
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