Do Fish Like Garlic?

Maybe you have seen some garlic-scented bait, or maybe you have smelled garlic when walking past some fishermen and thought, do fish like garlic?

The short answer is yes, fish like garlic, but there is more to it than that.

Studies show that some fish have a very powerful sense of smell. It is known that a fish’s ability to smell is 1,000 times better than a dog’s.

Fishermen have been using garlic for their bait for decades because it has a very strong smell. This is the main reason why fish like garlic, but there are other reasons too. 

Do Trout Like Garlic

Trout have amazing nostrils; not only do they house very powerful magnets, but they are able to detect the slightest changes in water pressure.

There are many garlic-scented artificial trout baits available on the market today. Baits such as Berkely Powerbait are extremely successful at catching stocked trout.

But there is a difference between catching stocked trout from a pond and wild trout.

Stocked trout are raised in a hatchery before being released into the wild. After they have been first released, they don’t have the same wild senses as wild trout. 

Their sense of smell is not as strong as wild trout; this fact, paired with their lack of knowledge of the local cuisine, makes garlic a big drawing factor.

This is why people can so readily catch stocked trout on garlic-scented baits.

However, once the fish get used to their local waters and start adopting the behavior of wild trout, the garlic scent doesn’t seem to be as effective.

Also, for wild trout, it does not work; it appears to be more of a deterrent to them.

Do Bass Like Garlic

The bass is a fish that eats anything it can find, including insects and other small animals like frogs or mice; they are also known to eat small aquatic birds. 

Because these fish have a keen sense of smell, they can also smell humans and other animals from a distance. They can smell anything you have handled, like nicotine, gasoline, or any other strong chemicals. 

These smells, amongst many others, are known to deter bass from your bait. However, garlic seems to have the opposite effect and attracts bass to your bait.

Although it does not have the same effect as it would with a trout. Bass use their sight or hearing to find prey for the most part. Where garlic is useful for bass is as a masking scent. 

The garlic makes the bass less trepidatious, and they hit the bait harder. They also seem to hold on longer, giving you a better opportunity to set the hook.

Do Catfish Like Garlic?

Do catfish like garlic?

Catfish are voracious eaters and will eat almost anything they can find.

The catfishes’ diet consists mainly of invertebrates such as crayfish or shrimp that live in the mud at river bottoms; however, some species also consume smaller fish.

Catfish’s sense of taste is astounding; even the smallest catfish has more than 100,000 taste buds. Their sense of smell is just as impressive. 

Channel cats have more than 140 sensitive tissue folds inside their nostrils, compared to a rainbow trout who has only 18 or a largemouth bass who has 13.

Where other fish such as the bass and trout will use their sense of smell as the last sense for detecting food, catfish use all of their senses simultaneously. 

They like to use their sense of smell to find food and then use visual cues and taste to decide if they want to eat or not.

This is why when it comes to catching catfish, the smellier the bait, the better. The smell will get them over to your bait.

Garlic is a great bait because it has such an intense smell and can draw the catfish in.

Can You Fish With Garlic

While I wouldn’t expect to see many fish taking a clove or bulb of garlic as bait, you can use garlic as a scent to either attract fish like stocked trout or mask other deterring smells for fish like bass.

How to Make Garlic Scent For Fishing

Because garlic works so well for fishing, it’s a good idea to keep some bait in stock. A great idea is to make your own bait. Garlic is affordable and easy to find in the grocery store.

Most commercial scents you buy are oil-based. These work better than water-based scents because they disperse slower, giving them a longer time to attract fish.

To make a homemade garlic scent for bait, you simply need some garlic, oil, and salt. If you can find garlic salt, it will work better; if not, regular salt will do. 

  1. 500 ml of olive oil
  2. 1/2 cup of salt
  3. 1/2 cup of minced garlic 

To make the scent, you just need to put all three into your blender and quickly blitz. If necessary, add more or less of any ingredient to find your perfect scent and consistency.

To use the scent, I like to soak some rubber baits for a little while for cats or bass. It’s great to dip trout pellets in or dough balls. You can put a few drops on your worms before casting them, or you can put a few drops on hard baits.


As we can see, garlic is a very effective bait for catching fish. It is also very common for artificial fishing baits because of the strong sense that it has on smell and taste receptors in their mouths, so fish tend to hold onto garlic baits longer.

The main reason why we think garlic works so well as an effective lure comes down mostly due to its powerful scent; this has the power to cover up any scents we add to the bait without intention.

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