It all makes scents to me now

"Old fishermen never die; they just smell that way!"

Oh, yeah, I'll admit it — I have some fishing buddies that fit into this category.

But seriously, you know all the senses are important to the survival of bass, but especially the sense of smell. It is essential to bass.

Most current studies indicate fish have an olfactory system, which is the sense of smell, and that varied responses can result from what a bass senses via what it smells in its environment. As it turns out, there are positive and negative odors found in a bass's watery home.

Positive odors attract a fish to its source, while negative odors repel. Research has shown that many kinds of fish can even distinguish between species of aquatic plants, other kinds of fish, insect larvae and individuals within a fish school.

Amino acid composition is, in part, responsible for the distinctive smell or odor of each species of plant and animal on earth. A bass, for instance, which feeds predominantly on crawfish and shad, can distinguish the distinctive crawfish odor from the odors of other plants and animals.

Bass have anterior and posterior nostrils located on either side of the head on the snout between the upper lip and eye. Water continuously enters into the anterior nostril and passes into the bass's olfactory system and exits through the posterior nostril. The olfactory system contains millions of microscopic receptor cells that are stimulated by the various odors in the water.

Where some odors stimulate feeding, others may result in inactive fish.

So, you've been out in your backyard, standing around, contemplating mowing the yard (contemplating is always better than mowing, trust me), and all of a sudden you get a whiff of the neighbor grilling out. Though you might not be hungry, this kind of stimulus changes your mind.

OK, I admit it. It is somewhat questionable comparing the way a human brain reacts to stimulus as opposed to a bass. We're different critters. Still, just as a neighbor's fired-and-loaded grill gets my attention, I have to think the scent of crawfish in the water is going to stimulate a bass.

In addition, we have to note what eventually causes a bass to strike is a package deal, a stimulus that has sparked the bass' other senses as well, such as hearing or sight.

Nevertheless, there's plenty of evidence that indicates the sense of smell plays a major role in the life of a bass. Therefore, it should be obvious that you can improve your catches by using a lure impregnated with Yum F-2 or adding a fish attractor to your lure, especially when the fish are inactive.

For more words of wit and wisdom from one of our sport's greatest legends, check out

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