Just How Well Can a Bass Smell?

Better than you think!

This bass didn’t smell me coming!

By Nick Tudisco

When looking at bass you might not see a nose like you’d find on an animal or human, but in fact bass have a 2 pairs of nostrils (or nares) located between its eyes and above its upper lip. Among each pair of nostrils, one takes in water, while the other expels the water. Within the nostril chamber are folds that sample the water as it comes into nostril. Young bass have only a few folds, and while a bass ages it develops more folds and thus a better sense of taste. Since bass don’t breathe with their nose/nostrils, the information taken through the nostrils goes directly to the brain to be processed. This differs from an animal where the air brought in through the nostrils travels through the mouth before reaching the brain.

Due to these features on bass, it said that a bass’ sense of smell is 700 times more sensitive than a blood-hound. With their ultra-sensitive sense of smell, it has been shown bass can sense an amino-acid solution of just 4 oz mixed within 6,000 gallons of water.

While what item’s bass prefer to taste is extensive, studies have shown that the amino acid, L-Serine, which is secreted by the human skin in a turn-off for bass. But the most offensive chemical, taste-wise, to a bass is DEET. DEET is found in most insect repellents. Other items that bass react to negatively are lotions, sunscreens and scented soaps. So make sure to mask your scent and/or any foreign scents if you want to catch that giant bass.