What Attracts Fish The Most?

What attracts fish the most

It is the aim of every fisherman and angler to draw fish towards their bait so they can brag about their fish catch. Some of the major baits that fishermen use are special feed, activators, attractants, and other additives. However, in the fishing industry “attractants” have their own industry within the fishing industry. As an angler or a fisherman, you must have pondered now and then, but what attracts fish the most?

Attractants are special chemicals that aid to draw fish toward the bait. In this article, we are going to learn about several things that attract fish both in freshwater and in the ocean. Attracting the fish in the water is more than art than a skill, but there is nothing in the world that one cannot master.

The best method is to involve the fish’s predatory senses into action, which will convince it that something fishy is happening, and it will activate its predatory behavior. To catch more fish, you need to attract them, and that can only be done by understanding how their senses work and how one can take advantage of that.

In this article, we are together going to learn which baits attract fish the most and in which manner, what’s effective and what’s not? At the end of this article, you will have a clear perspective about how fish perceive and interact with their environment, and how it reacts to it whether it’s about feeding or fleeing.

What Attracts Fish The Most?

You will be amazed to hear that the first and the foremost thing that catches a fish’s attention is the sound of a dwelling boat, and its respective engines. Why?

The propellers of the boat and its engines create a lot of sound waves, and vibrations, that run like lightning cobalt in the water. In fact, there are some boats that are considered better fish raisers on the basis of the sound they emit, as compared to others.

What attracts fish the most

Let’s talk about some of the fish senses that aid them in getting their attention towards a bait or anything.

1- Sense of hearing:

Fishes do not technically have ears or a sense of hearing but over the years some of the fishes have developed it, some have more some have less. It is essential to understand that sound waves travel much more quickly under the water than over the surface, and therefore it is very easy to spot where the sound is coming from.
Fishes have organs called “otoliths” from which they can hear, and are present within their head. When a sound wave hits the fish, the otoliths vibrate, which allows the fish to sense sound waves. Bigger and older fishes have more sensitive otoliths, and that is why it is difficult to catch big-sized fishes than smaller ones.

Now how can we use this sense to our advantage? There are certain types of baits available in the market designed on the very same philosophy. For instance, popper creates a splashing sound that aids in attracting fish. Similarly, crankbaits when thrown in the water rattle, also draw fish’s attention. Fishermen can specially employ this when there is poor visibility under the water, because in such conditions fishes strictly rely on their hearing rather than sight.

2- Lateral lines:

All fishes have lateral lines that are present on either side of their bodies. You can actually sense them by holding a fish. The major function of these lateral lines is to detect pressure changes and detection of vibrations. These lateral lines help fishes a lot in maintaining their positions and finding food. Not only this the lateral lines also help the fish in the detection of the right location of the prey and puts the fish in an accurate position for the attack.

To use fish’s lateral lines to your advantage, you can look for several baits that specifically target their lateral lines. For example, while fishing for bass you can use spinnerbaits, poppers, and as well as crankbaits that cause disruption in the water and will cause shock waves and vibrations in the water too. The bass quickly detects these waves and vibrations and comes to see what to eat.

Similarly, when you are fishing for billfish particularly on the offshore, hitting their lateral lines is the key. On the other hand, looking for a marlin, one has to cover the whole ocean, and it’s not simple. That is why boats are used because they easily get the attention of the fish. These boats pull almost six to eight lures that continuously create a bubble trail, the engine’s noise and the bubble trails collectively add to the vibrations, and marlins can quickly pick up on this. Read How to catch crappie fish?

What Smells Are Fish Attracted To?

Fishes are attracted to several scents, which help the anglers to easily catch them like salt, slime, chicken liver, fish extracts, fish guts, human saliva, etc. Other possible scents that can possibly attract the fish include products made up of milk, cheese, garlic, and coffee.

On the other hand, there are also some scents that do not attract fish but actually repel them from you and those include nicotine, bug sprays, sunscreens, scented products like perfumes and soaps, petroleum distillate, marine grease, diesel, oil, human skin oils and many more.

Fishes do not smell in the same way as all other organisms do. They smell via their sense of taste.

On their bodies, there are a lot of sensors that pick up chemical traces and hence react to them. Fishes remarkably use their sense of smell, to find food, find their way to home, as well as to hide from active predators too.

For instance, a pike is a predator of roaches, and if a pike is eating a roach somewhere and then expels the waste and its remains into the water, the other roach can smell it and will hide. Similarly, salmon utilize their sense of smell to find their way home, and carps can also easily smell bait.

You can use these techniques to draw your bait. For example, if you are fishing offshore, you can throw dog pellets, bread, and fish pellets into the water, and the carps will move towards it effortlessly.

Tuna is caught by using the same principle. Boats usually make a chum slick by putting cut fish in the water. The water currents carry the scent and create a smell trail. The tuna will pick up on the scent and will follow the smell toward its source.

What Can Be Used To Attract Fish?

Over the years anglers have been using baits like insects, worms, nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken liver, fish guts, and several other things to attract fish. However, recently the anglers have shifted towards more modern approaches like using plastic baits, as well as electronic lures to attract the fish. Some of the studies say that fishes are readily attracted to croakers, and shrimps as compared to other baits.

Live baits are incomparable when it comes to catching fish. Live baits are alive baits or previously alive things like worms, leeches, crayfish, minnows, grasshoppers, and crickets. In saltwater, baits like sea worms, crabs, shrimps, strips of squid, eels, and cut pieces of fish should be used because they are effective in seas and oceans.

What Color Attracts Fish The Most?

From an overall perspective, green color light attracts the fish most. The green color has a high lumen of 130 per LED, along with a wavelength of 520 nm. Both shrimps and insects have this wavelength range in their color vision, along with the green light receptors around 530 um.

Most of the fishes come with two color receptors in their eyes. These receptors are efficient if catching the green wavelength that ranges from 520-530 nm, a blue wavelength that ranges from 425-490 nm, and UV wavelengths that range from 320-380 nm. Most of the fish bait and fishes have this color spectrum in their color vision, that is why it is efficient to use lights ranging within these wavelengths.

That is why green light is used because it is bright and effectively attracts the bait, which several fishes love to eat.

Following is the list of color attractants in order of which attracts the fish:

  1. Green
  2. Aqua
  3. White
  4. Blue
  5. Red

Does Light Attract Fish At Night?

Yes! Underwater fishing lights help a lot when it comes to attracting fish, and can lead to better success as compared to fishing without lights. Artificial lighting, in particular underwater fishing lights, helps to draw the attention of plankton, and small baitfish. Ultimately, the bigger fishes are also attracted to the source following their baits so that they can feed upon them. Fishing lights are great tools to attract fish to your boat and are highly easy to operate.

There are so many options available in the market when it comes to underwater fishing lights. But in my opinion, I personally prefer those that produce a bright green glow, easy to operate, and that is highly durable.

Fishing lights at night attract the fish with a very simple scientific phenomenon that relies on the process of food chain development. At the night, when there is pitch black everywhere any type of artificial light will first draw the attention of microorganisms like zooplankton and bacteria etc.

Small school bait fishes will then be attracted by these tiny microorganisms to eat them. In return, larger fishes like shad, mullet, shiner, herring, squid, and alewives will then arrive depending upon if you are fishing in a pond or a sea.

Ultimately, after some time bigger fishes the ones we see in games will come to feed upon the former fishes. However, baitfish will usually swim throughout the light but bigger fishes won’t come in the light they will hunt from the dark surrounding the light. This is why they are not fond of exposing themselves and will remain hidden to attack the baitfish.

For night-time fishing, in my opinion, green light works best because it efficiently draws fish and will help you to catch huge amounts of fish in no time.

What Foods Are Fish Attracted To?

Apparently, fishes are very attracted to live baits, and things like fried chicken, fish guts, fish slime, etc. Among some of the top foods, fried chicken and ghee rice are found to be very helpful in catching fish because they are very attracted to them.
One of the most favorite foods among fishes is anything salty, anise, and garlic. Understanding well which fish species are attracted to which scents will help anglers a lot to get a better hook while catching fish.

A fish’s sense of smell is much more developed than human beings. They have sensory receptors throughout their body that can sense any type of smell. So any little type of scent can either attract or repel the fish or may even have no effect at all on them.

Following are some foods that help a lot in attracting fish while fishing:

  1. Corn
  2. Dairy products like bread and cheese, you can also make cheeseballs.
  3. Worms
  4. Shrimps
  5. Bologna
  6. Fish pellets
  7. Cat and dog food
  8. Chicken liver
  9. Other live baits like minnows, shad, crawdad, etc.

What Smells Do Fish Hate?

One should be really skeptical about what scents to use under the water because it is really a game-changer. You can actually catch more fish with the right scent or can repel all the fishes away from you if you use the wrong scent.

Following are some negative scents that repel the fish away from your boat or source:

  1. L-serine aka human skin oil
  2. Nicotine
  3. Perfumed soaps
  4. Chemic plasticizers and soft plastics
  5. Sunscreens and sunblocks
  6. Bug repellants
  7. Petroleum and its derivatives like motor oil or gas

Note: The fish slime can also become a negative scent if the slime is produced from a species that acts as an offensive fish to the target. For instance, Northern Pike’s slime can act as a repellent in case of several fish species.


There are several things that attract the fish including light, scents, and baits. The key to catching maximum amounts of fish is to use the right type of attractant for a specific fish.

Use scents that attract the fish and not repel them away. Live baits are best when it comes to attracting fish because you convince them that you actually have their prey.

When you go fishing next time keep in mind that fishes employ all of their senses to feed and prey. If you present them with such baits that have good scents and color, the chances of catching them will be way more. HAPPY FISHING!!

Ricki Cooper

I have been fishing for 11 years. I believe in the famous saying "If fishing is interfering with your business, give up your business".

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