Motion, noise and water relocation are primary reasons that fish will strike a lure, but smell and taste become important when a fish is close enough to bite. Some fish have a much keener sense of smell than others. Sharks and catfish have a finely tuned sense of smell, while carp, salmon and trout are still sharp smellers but without the degree of intensity as sharks and catfish. Bass and walleye fall somewhere in the middle, while pike and muskie only register the smell of fish attractant when they have visually seen the lure and are poised to strike it.
Though many believe the use of fish attractant is used to draw fish, it is actually serves two purposes by disguising negative human-generated smells and tastes left on lures and baits-sunscreen, bug spray, fuel, boat motor oil, nicotine, and our general human smell. Fish attractant can make your fishing bait taste like something that is still alive, fooling the fish into hanging on for a few extra seconds. This gives the angler a better chance of reeling the fish in.