Ladies, has your husband been spending a lot of time studying fragrances lately? Don’t get too upset. Chances are he’s not looking for the most seductive fragrance to entice women, he’s more interested in attracting fish.


“Scent” is one of the most powerful weapons in the world of fishing. It’s another twist in the age-old battle pitting man against fish.


The fishing tackle suppliers have discovered what most river anglers already knew: fish not only can see, they also have darn good sniffers. They are telling their customers the way to a full stringer is not only to show the fish the lure, but to let them smell it as well.


So, many of the old standby lures have been revamped to include a place to stick some scent. Your favorite spoon may now have a tube running down its bottom, which will hold some mysterious odor to attract those big fish that have been ignoring you.


The fragrances are available in a variety of containers and wrappings. Some are sold in tubes, which can be fasten directly to the lure, while others come in squeeze bottles. There’s even one company who puts their product in a tube resembling lipstick. Hopefully, female anglers will double check all tubes before applying (to either a hook or their lips.)


Not only do the scents stink, some even have glitter added so you can dazzle fish with smell and sparkle.


What puzzles me is how today’s anglers can decide what to use. Things have progressed a long way since the days of digging up worms in the garden.


Today’s high-powered boats can get you there nearly before you started. Inside are seats more comfortable than the recliners in your family room. The boat also comes equipped with sonar gear as advanced as ships at sea.


Once you get close to the fish, electric trolling motors replace stinky gasoline motors and cumbersome paddles.


The fishing rod has also seen big changes. No more do fishermen cut limbs off trees and tie string to one end. Today’s rods are made of anything from steel to fiberglass to carbon fiber to bamboo. And the price? Well, today you can pay as much for a good rod and reel as your dad paid for the station wagon he pulled his boat with.


Even the box where you stick your lures is a modern masterpiece. No more stealing one of Dad’s cigar boxes. The modern tackle box has a better filing system than many offices. Some boxes are so beautiful they make the owner feel guilty if he or she has a dirty lure.


And the lures? Like I said before, the sky’s the limit. Back when I first started fishing there were several plugs, but they came in just a few colors. And most of them were made of wood. If a fish did bite on them, it would take part of the paint with it. Before long, you had a colorless lure.


Today, any bait shop you walk into has aisles lined with row after row of lures. You can pick any color, size, shape and texture your little heart desires. In fact, the modern lures look so good you might be tempted to throw away the fish and mount the lure.


One thing’s for sure. If l do travel to some fishing spot this summer – where the lunkers are rumored to hang out – I’ll probably fish all day and, about the time I’m ready to leave, someone will come up and say, “You should have been here yesterday, they were really biting!”


Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times. He and his wife, Sharon, live near Cambridge.