Nov 4

swimbaitThere are a great many lure scents on the market today, many have bold claims, while others are mainly chosen by people in the know. The reality of this is, most scents are a very simple composition, usually involving petroleum jelly and a few additives depending on the type of fish you are targeting.

Petroleum jelly can be bought from most general stores and supermarkets for anywhere between 3 and 5 dollars for 200 grams, avoid big name versions as the ingredient is always the same, Petroleum Jelly, and nothing else. The cheapest brand will always suffice.

Petroleum jelly is a mixture of hydrocarbons, a by-product of oil refining; it is a tasteless and odourless solid with a melting point of the product is around 37 degrees Celsius, or 99 degrees Fahrenheit. When heated to a liquid, the liquid itself is not flammable, but it will give off some vapour residue which can ignite. Hence you should not use any type of flame or a strong amount of heat to create the liquid.

fishing lure scent

The reason you do not want to use a flame is that the boiling point of petroleum jelly is at around 300c, the closer you get to this point the more vapour is released, the type of gas most commonly used for stoves has a minimum heat of around 400c, this is far too much to use with petroleum jelly, plus considering the vapour will be at its highest if using this heat level, the potential for the vapour igniting is there.

Now this is out of the way, we can get to the common method of how to turn petroleum jelly into a liquid, then into differing lure scents for a variety of species.

All that is needed is simply emptying the petroleum jelly into a regular kitchen pot, and provided you have an electric heating element on your stove (REMEBER: DO NOT USE A GAS FIRE OR ANY TYPE OF FLAME!) you can turn the electric element onto the lowest heat level (70 degrees Celsius at most is all that is needed, less is often fine) which will allow the petroleum jelly to melt into a liquid. At this temperature vapour residue is minimal to none. The petroleum jelly will turn to a liquid in around 5 minutes or less, depending on the thickness of the pot you are using.

Before melting the petroleum jelly you should prepare the additives which you will mix to create the scent. You have a few options depending on the species you are targeting, the most common ones I will list below:

Anise Essence: Available from most food stores or online, anise is a bit of a catch-all type scent used in freshwater, especially proven highly reliable lure for both brown and rainbow trout, redfin (english) perch are also attracted to this scent and this makes it ideal for freshwater fishing where both these species are present. Anise (Aniseed) essence is already a liquid, so no extra preparation is required to include this, a little of this essence goes a long way.

swimbait 2

Bloodworm Juice: Commonly used as a catch-all for any freshwater species. All aquarium stores will sell frozen bloodworm, the bloodworm is basically just mosquito larvae, collected from the top of still waters before they grow into insects, for the aquarium trade this method is done in a farmed setting, the collected ‘worms’ are then frozen for use as fish food.

To obtain bloodworm juice, you simply take one pack of the frozen product and allow it to thaw out completely, which takes around an hour or two. After this tip the sealed bag they are supplied in vertically, you will see the bloodworm juice gather at the bottom, while the whole bloodworms remain in the plastic tray inside.

Open the top of the bag and remove the plastic tray, keeping the bag on an angle so the liquid stays at the bottom, if some of the whole bloodworms spill in, this is no major problem, you may even prefer to include the whole bloodworms with the juice into the jelly, but I tend to stick with just the juices. Once you have the juice remaining in the bag this is what you will need to add to the petroleum jelly liquid.

Strawberry Essence: Mainly used as an attractant for Redfin (English) Perch, this is found in basically all food stores, very common and usually costs a dollar or two. This is already a liquid, so no further preparation is required.


Garlic Liquid: Mainly used for catching Bream and small Snapper. Simple and easy to find in all food stores, you want to get the crushed or minced type garlic which comes in a glass jar and has a liquid base suspending the garlic inside. Using a strainer, you can transfer the garlic in and allow the liquid to drip out the bottom, the collected liquid can be used to mix with the petroleum jelly.

To use any of these ingredient you will take the liquid of the scent you wish to add, pour it into the liquid petroleum jelly, mix it together well then transfer the liquid back into the products original container. After a few minutes, the liquid will set back into a solid.

Once it sets, you will have your own scents ready to go, the cost is normally no more than $6 for 200 grams when prepared yourself, just ensure you take basic care in preparation and avoid exposure to any type of flame (including gas stoves / wood fires and cigarettes) and the process is extremely simple. Apply the scent liberally to your lures and see the results for yourself.

200 grams will cover an extremely high amount of usage, probably double or more that of store bought scents which are commonly only around 50 to 100 grams. Most are made using a process not dissimilar to what we have just described.

If you have your own electric heating element you may wish to perform this in the garden shed or garage instead, just remember to keep the heat at 70c or lower to avoid producing vapour.