14 Best Fish Attractants of 2021 (Reviewed!)

For centuries, fishermen have been concocting potions to attract fish. Laboratory research has yielded some of the best fish attractant products, but others evolved through casual experimentation. Even the New York Times reported in the late ’80s that WD-40 might serve as a fish attractant.

The WD-40 company itself thoroughly debunked it. But you get what I mean, right? A real angler will stop at nothing to ensure they have the best equipment, in the best place, with the best fish attractant possible.

Various types include spray bottles, squeeze tubes, jars, and jellies. Categories include synthetic vs. natural ingredients or water-based formulas vs. oil-based. There is also a slew of products that use scents to attract very specific fish. More on those later.

Studies have shown that a bait that feels unnatural will not attract fish.  Similarly, if a fish senses an unsavory smell or taste, it will spit it out immediately. This is why purchasing the best fish attractant is so critical.

Below you’ll find fish attractant reviews describing the products and the best ways to use them.

The Best Fish Attractant Reviews (Top Picks!)

Investing in an excellent fish attractant can make a noticeable difference in the number of bites and catches you’ll get, whether you use fish attractants on soft, hard, or live bait. We’ve numbered the product reviews listed below for your convenience, with no particular order or ranking.

1.  Berkley PowerBait Attractant

Fish attractants are a small but stable component of the U.S. recreational fishing industry, with fish attractant manufacturers competing for a market share by introducing new products annually. 

One of the most trusted names in all fishing gear, Berkley’s powerbait attractant is a potent mixture that enhances ordinary lures and can even be applied to live bait. 

Berkley’s powerbait design formula works to release a burst of flavor upon a bite. Manufacturers claim that with this fish attractant, fish hold on up to 18 times longer. Berkley’s powerbait line of fish attractants provides the choice of five different flavors, including walleye, trout, catfish, panfish, and of course, bass. 

Its powerbait attractant is made using the highest quality materials and is carefully engineered to help anglers catch more fish. Berkley powerbait’s proven and effective formula is captured in a bottle. The only issue with this fish attractant is its flip-top bottle, which means the application can be tricky and sometimes messy.

Pros

  • A variety of scents
  • Enhances ordinary lures or live bait
  • Fish hold on longer
  • Engineered to help anglers catch more fish
  • Simple, convenient, easy to use
  • Comes in a 2 oz. or 8 oz. bottle

Cons

  • May not work in inland lakes or river systems
  • Constant motion of lure washes away the gel 
  • Flip-top bottle makes application tricky and messy.

2. Smelly Jelly

Smelly Jelly is an extremely popular fish attractant on the market. They have a huge range of flavors, making this attractant one of the best. Options include garlic scent, which is a favorite for many anglers. 

These powerful attractants stay on longer than other scents. Smelly Jelly Scent is the pure essence of each bait mixed in a special jelly base with the consistency of Vaseline. 

Each takes the scent below the surface to the fish. Choose your favorite scent and see if it doesn’t produce more bites.

You’ll know as soon as you open a jar that fish can’t help but smell this stinky jelly. The stuff really sticks to your lures.

Pros

  • Stays active for longer than other attractants
  • Pure essence of each bait the consistency of Vaseline
  • A tremendous range of flavors
  • Jelly really sticks to your lure
  • Hides the human scent on your baits

Cons

  • Have to reapply often, washes off too quickly 
  • Need a towel to wipe your hands
  • The jelly stinks

3. Bass Assassin Bang Fish Attractant Trigger Spray

Approved by professional anglers, this bass attractant is one of the greatest. The crawfish formula is tournament tested and used in competitive bass fishing events. Another reason to love Bass Assassin’s product is that you get it in a spray bottle, which is by far the best for ease of application. 

Bass Assassins have created a product made from real fish, and by doing so, they’ve created an excellent attractant by using naturally concentrated oils. Not only is this product great for smallmouth and largemouth bass, but it also works on rainbow trout.

Pros

  • Rendered from real fish
  • Uses only non-synthetic materials
  • Easy application spray bottle
  • Will improve your catch rate
  • Low environmental impact

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Concern over the product’s watered-down lighter color

4. Baitmate Fish Attractant Classic

Using real fish is generally accepted to be the most effective method of attracting fish. This Baitmate Classic uses real fish pheromones, giving it a special edge over other options.

Baitmate is a natural attractant. It utilizes the natural oils of fish to create a very tempting scent. Anise oil covers up any unwanted smells which may turn fish away. 

The fish pheromones present in the attractant work to agitate the fish and turn on the predatory instincts that make fish attack. Natural fish oils create a scent fish cannot resist. 

Through genetics, fish pheromones activate predatory instincts, with the result being more bites and catches. Baitmate classic comes in several flavors, including bass, catfish, crappie, and panfish. It’s a great multi-purpose attractant to keep in your tackle box.

Pros

  • Rendered from real fish
  • Low environmental impact
  • Great all around attractant 
  • Anise oil covers undesirable scents that may repel fish
  • Fish genetically stimulated
  • Five fluid oz. spray bottle

Cons

  • Gooey
  • Only lasts for one cast

5. Berkley Gulp! Alive! Attractant

Berkely is a well-known and trusted name in the field of fish attractants. Using the scents and flavors of popular prey, this attractant works to make any bait taste alive and smell alive. Its efficient trigger spray bottle makes the attractant easy to apply. 

Another nice feature is that you’ll avoid getting your hands covered with the attractant. It will undoubtedly enhance the effectiveness of soft bait, hard bait, and even live bait. 

Berkley creates a bait with 400 times more scent dispersion and a bigger strike zone than most competitors on our list. Gulp! is said to perform like live bait. 

It’s packaged in a soft bait package that’s easy to use, transport, or store. Cast after cast, you can get more bites and set more hooks with a bait that’s scientifically proven and already field-tested by scientists.

Gulp! fish attractant offers the best alternative to live bait. Soaked in their powerful attractant, you can place bait back in your bucket to recharge its effectiveness. The hassle of live bait is over.

Be it shrimp or mullet, minnow, or sand crab, the Berkley Gulp! lineup features hundreds of colors, shapes, and sizes. You are sure to find a saltwater bait that is perfect for whatever fish you’re hooking.

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Won’t get your hands dirty
  • 400 times more scent dispersion
  • Perfect saltwater bait for all types of fish
  • Enhances soft, hard, and live bait
  • Proprietary Gulp! scent infused into every bait

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Packaging leaks and oil oozes out

6. Fish Sticks Lure Enhancer

The Fish Sticks brand has become quite a popular attractant with their scents made from real fish. Their combo pack offers fishermen the chance to try both their shad and craw scents, two of the most popular and productive scents in their lineup. 

The biggest selling point of this bass attractant is that it’s liquid-free. It comes in a stick, like lip balm, so in that sense, this fish attractant is less messy and easier to apply.

Pros

  • Liquid-free
  • Comes in a stick-like lip balm
  • Scents made from real fish
  • 15 oz. tubes designed to keep the scent fresh
  • Perfect for most freshwater applications

Cons

  • Difficult to apply on soft bait
  • Will melt completely in moderate temperatures. 

7. Pro-Cure Super Gel

Made from real bait and enhanced with powerful amino acids, Pro-Cure has become one of the most popular fish attractants for all species and in all waters. Its sticky base is thick and strongly adheres to lures, spinners, soft baits, swimbaits, spoons, and more. 

Pro-Cure doesn’t wash out like other products often do. It retains its effectiveness long after competing products have completely washed out. Pro-Cure uses a freeze-dried method for its fish attractants.

Each Pro-Cure super gel variety also utilizes UV enhancement, which catches the fish’s eye without changing the lure’s color. You can simply apply to any artificial bait and can select from a wide range of fresh and saltwater formulas.

Pros

  • Made from real bait
  • Simple to apply on any artificial bait
  • Enhanced with powerful amino acids
  • Strongly adheres to all lure types.
  • UV enhancement for extra visual appeal
  • Both fresh and saltwater formulas available

Cons

  • Poor packaging
  • Too sticky and greasy

8. Pro-Cure Crab and Shrimp Attractant Bait Oil, 1/2 Gallon

Pro-Cure Crab and Shrimp Attractant Bait Oil is a thick oily emulsion that you can pour on bait. Manufacturers recommend shaking well and marinating your bait overnight if you can. At a minimum, marinate for at least a few hours before you begin. 

This fish attractant uses a blend of ground-up salmon egg oil, the salmon egg itself, a bit of anise, and other oils to create an excellent crab and shrimp catching product.

Pros

  • Made from 100 percent real bait
  • Enhanced with UV Flash
  • Packed with amino acids to trigger fish to feed
  • Super sticky and strong
  • Great for all artificial bait
  • Good for saltwater and freshwater fishing

Cons

  • Smell is too distasteful.
  • Must be shaken well
  • Strong scent will get on your good clothes.

9. Kodiak Fish Attractant

Kodiak makes their fish attractants from completely all-natural baitfish. You can see the freeze-dried pieces. When a fish bites, it tastes real bait, giving you that extra time to feel the bite and strike.  

When Kodiak freeze-dried attractant is put back into the water, it reverts to its natural scent. The attractant comes in many formulas, including alewife, bass (see next item on the list), catfish, crayfish, minnow, nightcrawler, shad, smelt, and the ever-popular walleye formula. 

Walleye is one of the most popular as it has the scents many fish feed on, like leech, minnow, and nightcrawler. Minnow scent is also a great universal scent for all types of fishing, and essentially anglers can “just add water.” The paste in the squeeze tube stays on extremely well and lasts for a long time.

Pros

  • Made completely from all-natural baitfish
  • Baitfish are freeze-dried
  • No chemicals and no additives
  • Many scents to choose from for both fresh and saltwater species
  • Adheres easily to any lure or bait
  • Paste stays on extremely well and lasts for a long time. 

Cons

  • Too sticky
  • 4 oz. too small of an amount

10. Kodiak Fish Attractants – Bass Formula Oil Mix

This is one of the strongest fish attractants available, and it works very effectively on bass. It also comes in multiple other flavors, including herring, shrimp, squid, and crab, which places do not commonly sell.

With this fish attractant, you can even create a “scent trail” by casting within a ten-foot-wide area and saturating the water with scent. The trail of your hook attracts the fish. 

Pros

  • Stays on any lure of bait extremely well
  • No chemical, all-natural freeze-dried baitfish
  • Great for all species of saltwater and freshwater fish
  • You can actually see the particles of freeze-dried baitfish.
  • Great way to get scent on a lure that stays even with trolling

Cons

  • Apply every 6 to 7 casts
  • Bottle contents are used too quickly.

11. Spike-It 3301 Dip-n-Glo Soft Bait

Although they don’t actually glow in the dark, Spike-It Dip-n-Glo designed their attractant to dip plastics such as grubs, worms, and skirts into it which produces a permanent and immediate color change. There are also scented varieties that penetrate deeply and create a long-lasting scent. 

The dip-n-glow feature allows you to customize the color patterns on a soft plastic bait. 

It gives the fish something different to look at, and scents like the garlic smell are also different. The immediate and permanent color change will surely increase your catches.

Note that some anglers won’t appreciate the strong smell. As soon as you open the bottle, you can smell it from 10-feet away. Be considerate when opening and be sure not to spill any, as the bright chartreuse/green/yellow color stains boats and clothes. 

The differing shades depend on how long you soak the item and what the original color was. 

Pros

  • Immediate, permanent color change
  • Something different to attract fish
  • Great in stained or muddy water
  • Lasts for hours
  • Plastic baits get much softer and easier to manage. 

Cons

  • Too few color choices
  • Can make tackle box smell like garlic
  • Dye can ruin the carpet or fiberglass on your boat.

12. Liquid Mayhem

Made by taking real bait, mashing it up, and making a gel out of it. It comes in a liquid and an extremely sticky, potent gel that hangs onto your lure. Even after 20 or more casts, anglers say it stays on the fishing lure. 

You can find wide flavor varieties, including crawfish scent, minnow scent, garlic, crawfish, shad, leech, panfish, nightcrawler, anise, and many more. 

Liquid Mayhem comes in a conveniently sized squeeze tube. Because it is a gel and not a spray, it’s very easy to squeeze some on without getting it all over your hands, your clothes, or your boat. You won’t go home smelling like garlic and fish bait. 

Pros

  • Strongly hangs onto fishing lure.
  • Wide variety of scents available 
  • Offers ocean flavors
  • Excellent in freshwater
  • Affordable and fair price

Cons

  • Difficult to come off
  • Smell is strong

13. Megastrike Original

MegaStrike Fish Attractant has a 10-year history of proven results. It is the scent of choice for many professional tournament anglers. It has single-handedly won millions of dollars for many of the best professionals in the sport.

Invented by Bobby Uhrig, a tackle designer in his own right, Megastrike is literally the stuff of champions. The difference here is the use of amino acids. Amino acids are the foundation of healthy fish. Megastrike original fish attractant contains the proteins and amino acids that make fish believe the lure is real.

Studies show that amino acids can be found in all fish; in their slime coat, blood, weight, scales, and most other essential body functions. 

The original scent is mild when compared to other fish attractants. Also, you can easily remove any smell with basic soap and water.

Since Megastrike comes in a tube, there is no wasted product and no wasted money. You can make a single tube of Megastrike last at least a few times longer than most spray bottles. It is incredibly cost-efficient.

Pro

  • No wasted product
  • Easy to use tubes means no mess
  • Stays on for a long time
  • Mild smell is not offensive. 
  • Excellent for those sensitive to smells

Cons

  • Can be expensive 
  • Can be too sticky

14. Tales of WD-40

A can of WD-40 can be found in the tackle box of most anglers, ready for use on various equipment like pliers, reels, and reel seats. This myth probably began when, quite by accident, a bait that someone sprayed suddenly appeared to be taking on more fish.

Anecdotal stories abound. There is even a story about commercial fishermen in Alaska, who in two hours caught more than two dozen halibut after using WD-40 on chunks of cut herring. Other fishermen who did not use WD-40 are said to have caught nothing.

But does WD-40 actually attract fish?

Some people believe it works because it contains fish oil – it does not. Some argue it covers the human scent – it might, but it’s unlikely to make a difference. The WD-40 Company addresses the myth on its website, saying: “While WD-40 can be used to help protect fishing equipment from rust and corrosion, WD-40 Company does not recommend using it to attract fish.”

(You might also be interested in viewing fish traps options at the Best Fish Traps)

Fish Attractant Buyer’s Guide – Selecting the Best Product

Now that we’ve provided you with a list of our choices for the best fish attractants on the market, you should know what factors into choosing the best one for your needs. 

Take a look at our buyer’s guide below to see what you should know or look for when choosing the best fish attractant for you.

Different Types of Attractant

Fish attractants come in many forms, and many are especially effective for one breed of fish. Other blanket formulas offer all-around attractants, which raise your overall chances of getting a bite.

Depending on your chosen fish, be it shrimp, catfish, shad, or bass, there will likely be a specially formulated attractant that will give you the best chance of success with your catch. 

Normally in liquid form, fish attractants are formulated to replicate the scents which draw fish near. They can also replicate the aroma, which causes fish to become aggressive and predatory, and each increases the chances of a bite. 

Since it’s easier than trying to use natural materials, many manufacturers use synthetic materials and chemicals to create their fish attractant.

That said, many attractant manufacturers make it clear that they only use natural materials and ingredients. It’s relatively easy to find an attractant that won’t negatively impact the environment. It’s preferable to make the environmentally-friendly choice, as all nature enthusiasts should make taking care of the planet a top priority. 

What to Consider When Buying Fish Attractant

Because there is such a variety of fish attractants on the market, you will want to consider a few basic things in order to find the right product for you.

Oil vs. Water

One of the things you’ll want to consider when choosing a fish attractant is whether you prefer an oil-based or water-based formula.

Oil and water don’t mix. What happens when the two meet? Oil-based attractants form water-resistant hydrophobic molecules, which grow smaller and smaller as it travels on the water. Attractants that are water-based instead disperse throughout the water. If possible, try both and decide on which is most helpful.

Choice of Scents

Attracting fish via their sense of smell is a well-established practice. To reach the olfactory organs of any fish, the water must carry the smell. We all know that sharks can follow a blood trail for many miles. 

Other fish, like salmon, can smell the human hand and the chemicals it gives off. Smelling a distasteful odor upstream from them, salmon will cease moving until the scent dissipates. This shows just how important smell is when it comes to fishing. 

Separating taste and odor detection in fish can be tricky. Both senses detect molecules dissolved in water and can be extremely sensitive. The minimum concentrations detected by odor and taste can vary greatly between species.

Although certain scent concentrations have been shown to affect fish behavior, there is little to no published data on whether today’s marketable fish attractants are actually effective. 

The mechanism of odor detection in fish is well known. It is also well established that many fish species can detect odors with concentrations in the parts per billion or even parts per trillion. 

Many fish behaviors are influenced by odor and affect behaviors, including:

  • Reproduction
  • Fright reactions
  • Schooling
  • Migration
  • Feeding

Both odor and taste influence a fish’s feeding behavior. The odors most frequently identified as eliciting fish behavior responses have been amino acids and bile acids. Many fish attractant products now include individual amino acids and combinations of amino acids.

Experts generally believe that the scent which elicits the greatest response will most often contain mixtures of compounds rather than single substances. Studies have yet to be conducted on primary US recreational fish species, and others attempting to link feeding behavior to olfactory stimuli are limited.

Despite this, fish attractants continue to be a huge industry and only grow more popular over time. 

Many anglers continue to be skeptical about the effectiveness of fish attractant. The addition of scent to your tackle box may or may not bring about bigger and better fish. Ultimately, each angler must try it for themselves and decide whether adding fish attractant increases their success in catching more fish.

Fish Attractant Used to Mask Smells

While it’s common to believe that we use scent solely to attract various fish,  the most useful part of fish attractant may be its ability to mask negative smells. Think of it as being similar to the strong, pungent smell of skunk we all dislike. You can find that same odor threshold in all species of fish.

Unknowingly, we toss baits all day long that have come into contact with such fish-negative smells as bug spray, tanning lotion, cigarettes, gasoline, and worst of all, our own human scent. This can turn a fish off and have them refuse to bite. 

Your hands can appear clean, but a tasteless, odorless chemical found in humans’ skin oils, called L-Serine, will always be present on everything fish-related you have come into contact with. 

Applying fish attractant to a lure will mask or eliminate the human scent. Think of it as not being so much an attractant, as it is a cover-up for human scents we are unaware of.

Fish Attractant for Bass

You should note that for bass, smell plays a particularly special role. Although it’s true that bass generally finds its prey using sound and sight, the smell is still quite important. Many attractants are designed to be effective for one breed of fish. Particularly with bass, using a plastic bait with an attractant means more success. 

Bass can swim down a fast-moving crankbait and can mouth it, and spit it out with such speed and efficiency that the angler may not even notice. However, if the bass bites and tastes the attractant, it will try to swim away, and then you’ll know you have a bite. When a bass hears or feels the presence of whatever your chosen bait is, it will go and investigate the motion in the water. 

Having given up some of its attractants to the surrounding water, your bait attracts the bass using both sight and sound. The bass expects a certain smell to be emanating from its prey, and because the attractant achieves this, the bass will attack and bite down hard. 

On a fishing trip, any fish attractant will improve your chances, but bass anglers need to focus their efforts toward bass directly. One natural attractant for bass is salt. When a bass eats any of its natural prey, it tastes the saltiness in its blood, so salt is one reliable additive you should check for in any bass attractant. 

Of course, you could benefit from buying an all-around fish attractant, but if you’re a serious bass angler, you should consider investing in a bass attractant. All skepticism aside, using a bass attractant can enhance your lures and increase your chances of catching fish. We recommend you try bass fish attractant at least once and then decide if it helps or hinders your progress.

Benefits of Using an Attractant

Modern fishing is a multibillion-dollar industry, with fishing gear now evolved far beyond a simple hook and line. Just as rods, reels, and lures have improved over the years, fish attractants have become an important part of your tackle box. 

Whether you fish for food, sport, or as a peaceful pastime, it’s highly common to use fish attractants. Some anglers might argue that it’s better to let natural selection take its course rather than using enhancements to shorten your wait.

However, in competitive fishing competitions such as the Bassmaster, you won’t find an angler who isn’t using some form of attractant to enhance their chances.

Fish attractants can make soft and hard bait much more attractive to target fish and can even be used to enhance live bait. They are available in sprays, gels, sticks, oils, pastes, jars, tubes, and in nearly every flavor you can imagine. 

Best Fish Attractant Comparison Chart

ProductPriceItem Weight (Pounds)Attractant Fishes FlavorsUnique Features
Berkley PowerBait Attractant$0.04Trout, Catfish, Panfish, Walleye
A variety of scents, fish hold on longer, engineered to help anglers catch more fish
Smelly Jelly$0.05Real FishStays active for longer, hides the human scent on your baits, jelly really sticks to your lure
. Bass Assassin Bang Fish Attractant Trigger Spray$1Rain bow trout, Large mouth brassRendered from real fish, easy application spray bottle
Baitmate Fish Attractant Classic$0.03Cat fish, Crappie Fish, Fan FishGreat all around attractant
Berkley Gulp! Alive! Attractant$0.65Minnow, Sand CrabEasy to apply, won't get your hands dirty
Fish Sticks Lure Enhancer$0.15Craw FishLiquid-free, comes in a stick-like lip balm, scents made from real fish
Pro-Cure Super Gel$0.13Blue Crab, Craw Fish, Bloody TunaMade from real bait, simple to apply on any artificial bait
Pro-Cure Crab and Shrimp Attractant Bait Oil, 1/2 Gallon$5CrabMade from 100 percent real bait, super sticky and strong
Kodiak Fish Attractant$0.18Shad, Cat Fish, Cray FishMade completely from all-natural baitfish, baitfish are freeze-dried
Kodiak Fish Attractants - Bass Formula Oil Mix$0.3Crab, SquidStays on any lure of bait, no chemical, all-natural freeze-dried baitfish
Spike-It 3301 Dip-n-Glo Soft Bait$0.1GarlicImmediate, permanent color change, something different to attract fish
Liquid Mayhem$0.13Panfish, Leech, ShadOffers ocean flavors, strongly hangs onto fishing lure
Megastrike Original$0.1Panfish, Craw FishNo wasted product, easy to use tubes means no mess
Tales of WD-40$1Squid, Salmon It covers the human scent

Wrap Up

Fish attractant works so well that you can go into any tackle store and see the shelves lined with different attractants with various flavors, scents, and textures. 

Some are geared for specific species, and plenty work as all-around attractants. It can be challenging to decide. We hope these reviews make it a little easier to settle on a personal favorite.

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