Blog and photos by Don Habeger
Starting an Alaskan lure company: Appanage Fishing and Scent Striker
Appanage Fishing’s Scent Striker started with a commercial fisherman’s comment while discussing the effects of a ship’s wastewater discharge. “Salmon can smell two parts per billion.” The thought sat for several years while I attended to my career. Scent for fishing percolated quietly in the background.
Economic recessions and company downsizing have a way of changing perspectives. With an international shipping career sidelined, fishing resurfaced as a priority. Trolling hoochies in the pursuit of salmon, the comment “two parts per billion” came to mind, and I started adding scent oil to hoochie skirts. It bothered me that the scent product did not last. My senses could not detect its presence past a short troll, and the importance of scent for fishing success became more clear.
To my way of thinking, a simple scent holding solution needed these attributes: lightweight, colorful, durable, scent oil and gel holding power, and usage flexibility. I reasoned that a fiber-bodied salmon bead would do the trick to hold scent for fishing. I figured a solution to the problem existed, and it awaited me at my local store.
To my amazement, I could not find one locally. Nor could I find something suitable when looking online or at major sport and commercial fishing stores while traveling. Prototype fiber-bodied beads began to emerge from the workbench in late 2014. Testing started in the spring of 2015; a wintertime redesign followed, as I honed my product that would hold scent for fishing.
The 2016 fishing season proved the product. Testing showed that Scent Striker was durable and easy to string on a line or leader. It also confirmed that it held copious amounts of scent oils and gels, was compatible with nearly all bait-setups, and maximized in-water gear time. In short, it added that dinner bell smell to just about anything trolled, jigged, mooched, deep dropped, or cast.
We caught kings on Scent Striker-hoochie combinations. We limited out on silvers in a few hours one morning when trolling a Brad’s Super Bait Cut Plug and three pink Scent Striker Originals as they perfumed the water with scent for fishing. Not that we were looking for them, but rockfish hookups were all too often. The quest to find a useful product also meant that the “two parts per billion” comment had to be verified. A propensity to stretch the truth tends to accompany us fishermen.
I asked a good friend who worked at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center if salmon use olfactory detection to find food. I received a reply from one of their scientists, “unequivocally, yes!” Scent for fishing had proven itself to me experientially and through academia. Dr. Dittman also suggested I read Chapter 14, “Food search behaviours in fish and the use of chemical lures in commercial and sport fishing,” in a book entitled Fish Chemoreception, edited by T.J. Hara, 1992. Off I went to the University of Alaska Southeast’s library to check out a copy. It’s a great book!
The abundance of research on a fish’s ability to detect smells that activate food-seeking behaviors is astounding. So much so that thinking on the importance of smell in bait set-ups led to Appanage Fishing’s Bait Set-up Triangle. It quickly illustrates all your riggings need three main components to maximize their fish-attracting quotient – Sight, Smell, and Sound. Fishing enthusiasts should be able to look at their set-up and identify all three. If one is missing, add it. Adding scent for fishing through the Scent Striker became my mission.
Appanage Fishing is an Alaskan company formed in 2016 and debuted its Scent Striker product to the fishing community in November 2019. Scent Striker, manufactured in Juneau, AK, currently comes in three color choices and three styles. Colors are fluorescent chartreuse, fluorescent orange, and pink. Scent Striker styles are Fob (halibut and deep drop), Single (untrimmed, approximately 1″ diameter), and Original (trimmed to 5/8″ diameter). New colors for 2021 are black, green, and red.
So power up all your bait set-ups with smell—string on a Scent Striker and pour on your favorite scent. Order yours today at appangefishing.com.
Don Habeger is an avid angler and Founder of Appanage Fishing based in Juneau, AK.