I recently did a photo-shoot for Attraxx, a company whose name may be familiar to some of you.
Attraxx makes soft plastic baits for gear fishing in both fresh and saltwater. These aren’t your grandfather’s rubber worms. The plastics are infused with five patented attractors that stimulate fish into striking. It’s apparently far more complex than just scent or taste and frankly I don’t totally understand all of the details. These guys have a handful of PhDs to my none, but I spent a few days watching these high tech baits in action and I can tell you they work insanely well.
I’m not a gear fisherman. I don’t say that because I feel like I’m above it. Gear fishing takes a lot of skill and knowledge, it’s just not my thing. I don’t do it so I’m not good at it and I don’t understand it. Doug Long, the man behind Attraxx, does understand it. I’ve known Doug for years as a skilled fly fisherman and we’ve wetted our boots together on plenty of occasions so I was surprised to hear that he was now running a plastic bait company.
I was even more surprised to hear that Attraxx is considering new products for fly fishermen. Imagine that, flies tied with materials that release neural stimulators into the water, whipping fish into a feeding frenzy. A couple of years ago I’d have said, “no way! Nobody will buy it,” but these days, I’m not so sure. Let’s look at the trend.
People raised a fuss when fly tyers started using foam in their flies. There are still a few fly fishing competitions that do not allow foam but I wager that everyone reading this has a foam pattern or two in their box. I know I do. For that matter fly tyers have embraced all manner of synthetics in their patterns and with good reason. They work! What’s the difference between foam and rubber legs? This trend has played out so far that my tying materials now include condoms. It was a tough sell for my wife the first time I packed condoms for a fishing trip but now even she thinks it’s OK.
Streamer fisherman (and I count myself) are among the greatest innovators or worst offenders, depending on how you look at it. I’ve had friends laugh out loud at my streamer patterns, only to ask for a closer look after the third or fourth fish. They are all articulated, some have rattling beads or move like a rapala and most have as much flash as a Kiss concert.
Saltwater tyers are not new to this game either. The first fly I ever saw with a rattle was a permit fly. This trickery doesn’t end there. Montana Fly Company’s new “Crabby Patty”, a fly I love, features lifelike cast rubber crab claws and legs and an actual photo of a crab shell on it’s back. That’s right, a photo! I mean, damn!
One of the coolest new fly fishing products for 2013 is West Water’s Spectrum Response. A spray that makes flies glow under UV light. Under the right conditions it works and I’ve used it and recommended it and I don’t have any ethical issue with it.
So why am I recoiling at the idea of scent attractors?
What’s the difference between what works and what works too well? Where is the line? Is there a line? I’ve embraced synthetics and flash and rattles and articulation and photocopies and glow-in-the-dark hair spray. Why does scent feel wrong?
I’m not going to pretend to have the answer. What I want is to know is what you think. I’m sure there will be a great outcry against this idea and I want to hear it, but what I’m really curious about is who can sell me on the idea. If you’re thinking, “where can I get me some of that Attraxx stuff?” please! Tell me what you think.
I’m listening…and so are they.Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com email@example.com Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!