Ages ago whilst browsing the AGM products website I came across the lure flavouring page and on what might be considered a whim, made a purchase. Since then I've done quite a lot of reading on flavouring lures and discovered that in both the US and mainland Europe their use is really quite common . Truth be told at first I was a little less than convinced, but once I began looking into it the whole theory kind of makes sense.
Too often we think from the point of view of a bait which generally lays on or off the bottom and relies on the scent drawing fish to it to consume it. Instead though think of your bait actually moving around wafting and dispersing the scent as it does, convincing possibly wary predators that your fake fish has some organic element which it should eat. I suppose it's like casting one of those fake dog toy burgers outside the local pub at closing time. It might not look exactly right, but as long as it smells a bit like food chances are you'll be slipping your landing net under one hundred and eighty four pounds of beer soaked man quite quickly.
For me being a disciple of worm, it was always going to be something wormy and as most of these products come from the US there was a good chance it would therefore be nightcrawler related and that's how I ended up with this stuff.
Up until now I've not really given it that much of a concerted run out, but with the canals developing their rich summer colours, that are not dissimilar to a flooded winter rivers hue, I thought this might help a little to draw some interest. So on my next evening foray down on a bit of canal I slathered my lure in Mike's nightcrawler gel like my dad used Brut back in the day, and bugger me if it seemed to help!
I went to an area where I knew a large amount of prey fish were held up on a large open run of canal. By my reckoning the little bit of cover at the edge of the open run could be where any predators might be holding up and at the very first tree hanging over metal lined bank I got a hit first cast.
I didn't hook that first fish, but the instant reaction had me thinking maybe I'd been missing a trick with this here gel scent I'd had in my bag and rarely used. So I added more gel scent and cast again close to the tree. You can imagine how I felt when the second cast produced a small zander...
Fanning the area soon found another much smaller fish very quickly; I was beginning to think I might be onto something here.
As if by way of fair experimentation I changed lure from my faithful black curly tail to a chartreuse paddler grub, which I also liberally coated in Magic mikes worm goo. Just as I retrieved that lure in the nearside margin I felt a distinct tap. Being right under the rod tip I carried on vertically jigging the lure and something tore into it violently. After a brief but determined fight I slipped the net under a small but quite mature looking zander.
Now I was really convinced this sticky stinky gel was helping me along, so pushed off down the canal searching for more fish, but the truth of the matter is that I couldn't find any more zander willing to have a go. The perch on the other hand were quite into me dobbing a small pumpkin paddler grub along the margin and several of them hit the lure as it passed in front of them. Just as I approached an area I fancied might hold more zander I got a really hard hit from something that really didn't like the searing sting of my jig. It battered all around the canal right up until it rolled over exposing a big stripy flank, and threw the jig.
I left not long after losing what I was sure that was a proper big perch, so I marked the area in my mind ready to come back to try and search it out.
Three nights later I went back to exact same spot that I'd memorized as being next to a small sapling growing out of the metal piling lining the canal. I coated the lure in Mike's gel scent, dropped the lure in the water a little way off the little tree and worked it along the margin until BANG. Same place as before a fish hit the lure and began powering round the canal. This time it never got away, but also it seemed to have shrunk by at least a half once I'd landed it.
Whether or not it was the same fish I will never know, but what I can say was that it struck in the same square foot as the previous attacker and that does make it certainly look like the lost fish or at least its buddy. I do know that every time I pass this little spot I will certainly be dropping a lure in there just to see if anyone is home.
As for the gel flavouring I am not exactly convinced that it's totally responsible for any of the above captures as their capture might well of occurred if I had gone to that area and not used it. What I can say is that the theory of scented lures makes a lot of sense to me after seeing how effective wiggling worms has been, and I think that methods success is partly down to the juices which leak from the worm. So really the only conclusion I can come to is one based on how much it costs. It costs £3.99 for the bottle I bought and even given that I have probably overused it a bit on the last few sessions, I have hardly used any. Therefore for the tiny cost involved in maybe adding a bit of extra attraction to your lure you might as well give it a go.