Soap on a hook

aatrotlineSoap is commonly used to get the fish scent off anglers’ hands, not to attract them.
 
But an old fishing trick passed down from generation to generation can be the go to method to catch catfish. 
 
Some anglers choose to carry a bar of soap in their tackle box when the fishing gets tough.  A regular bar of soap has a high fat content and oils (coconut) that can grab a the attention of big catfish. 
 
According to John Tibbs, a Waco district fisheries biologist, soaps are made with lye, which is a known attractant for catfish. 
 
Tibbs said anglers use soap on trotlines because it stays on a hook for a long time and provides a scent stream.  A lot of older anglers still use the fishing technique to catch catfish.  
 
“I have no idea what makes it so good,” said Rafa Rena, a San Angelo angler. “But we use to set trotlines to it and it works pretty good.” 
 
Tibbs tried fishing with soap but had no luck. He said that the soap does not affect the water quality and while it breaks down, it just leaves a scent trail catfish can find. 
 
“Their whiskers are very sensitive,” he said. “They follow the oils and fats from the soap in the water.”
 
Soaps like Zote and Ivory seem to be the favorites of catfish anglers. Some manufacturers have made their own catfish soap by melting down regular bars of soap, then adding anise oil (a known catfish attractant). 
 
“I’ve never heard of that trick before,” said Brian Alford, an Austin angler. “I’ll have to give it a try sometime. I can mess with my buddies by betting them $100 I can catch fish on soap.”
 
 

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