Atkins’ strategy makes “scents”

Alabama’s Justin Atkins started Championship Sunday in second place and it’s a safe bet that he’ll be utilizing a bait strategy that helped put him in contention for his first Elite victory.

Spending most of his time in Lake Ontario, Atkins has been leveraging the fish-tempting appeal of Berkley’s PowerBait MaxScent, which utilizes a proprietary material to interact with water for intense dispersion of a scent infusion meticulously formulated to emulate the smell and taste of natural forage.

Atkins caught some of his fish on a dropshot with the MaxScent Flatworm, but when the fish weren’t responding as well as he needed them to, he switched to a light marabou jig and bolstered this presentation with a MaxScent upgrade.

“I take a Berkley MaxScent The General (soft stick worm), cut it down and put it on the jig,” Atkins said. “I put it on the shank and that helps (add bulk and increase the marabou profile).

“I cut it long enough so the MaxScent bait is even with the end to the feathers. The fish get the worm and the marabou at the same time.”

Atkins does this for two reasons: First, he said he’s experienced a lot of short strikes, where fish nip at the bait without committing. The wafting aroma of a MaxScent bait helps close the deal. Also, when fish bite, the bait tastes like familiar forage, so they’re less likely to let go.

“I think that little bit of MaxScent on that jig helps them get it,” he said. “I’m not losing any on this bait.”