WD-40 fishing attractant, junk or secret formula?

Over the years a lot of things have gotten dumped on lures to get fish to bite, but one of the ones that keeps coming up is WD-40.  I have never used WD-40 for fishing as an attractant on my lures, but I keep hearing it come up again and again for use as an attractant for all kinds of fishing.

WD-40 fish attractant or not?
Does WD-40 really work as a fish attractant?

Talking with a guy at the fishing shop the other day, the subject came up again.  His thought was that the reason the myth started out is because the old formula for WD-40 contained whale oil.  The exact formula is a secret, but and I am betting if there was ever whale oil in the formula, they are never going to disclose that.

But WD-40 as a fish attractant? What does the stuff do?  Well, for one it repels water.  That is what it is designed to do.  The reality is that it is a poor lubricant and was never designed as such.  If it has any ‘fish attracting’ properties it could be theorized that it is because it keeps the water off your lure and keeps it from picking up the stink that is already there.

Many fish follow lures for some time before biting them, and having them smell like your hands, lunch and sunscreen is a big deterrent for them to lunch down on your lures.  Perhaps the secret to WD-40’s power as a fish attractant is that it just masks all the bad smells.

WD-40 for Fishing? I don’t think so!



Why not try it out?  Well for one all the evidence is anecdotal.  Plus, I am pretty sure that fish do not love the scent of petroleum distillates, which is what WD-40 is these days.  This of course is another issue with using it, and that is that you are dumping oil into the water every time you spray it on your lures and throw them overboard. Technically you are polluting the water if you use WD-40 on your lures.


Personally I am going to stick with the regular fish attractants and leave the WD-40 at home for loosening things up and keeping bike chains from rusting.

Photo Credit:  FHKE

8 thoughts on “WD-40 fishing attractant, junk or secret formula?”

  1. WD-40 used to work in the PAST because it was made mostly of herring oil…however the new formulas no longer use fish oil but some other chemical, so it no longer works like it used to…which is a bummer.

  2. My grandmother who fished for nothing but slabs (she would throw anything that wasn’t a perch or crappie back) used to rub desitin on her bait. Yea I am talking about the stuff for diaper rash. It seemed to work too because she always brought home a stringer of slabs!

  3. When were out salmon fishing well have 4 poles in the water at the same time with the same setups, deep 6, flasher and a herring. This season I haven’t caught anthing nor has my brother or sister, but my dad has caught 3 dog fish, 2 small silvers and a king. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong, then I saw my dad every once and a while pull his line in and spray his bait with wd40. I guess it really does work.

    I did some research of why wd40 works, and I found out that it has fish oils and that good stuff. So I went down to dicks sporting goods and got some lunker lotion herring sented and im hoping that this weekend ill be able to out fish the wd40, wish me luck!

    1. The thing I have found out is that the old WD-40 had fish oil in it. Now it is all petro-chemicals so isn’t something you want to put in the water. The scents made for fishing in my opinion work a lot better and don’t pollute the water. Though they taste mighty bad if you accidentally get a drop in your coffee!

    2. james: If you were fishing with heering from the west coast they are packing them in some kind of oil. No darn good Try to find East coast herring cured in salt brine and packed in the same.

  4. I spent 25 years as a Salmon Charter Captain. On metal lures all you had to do was have the WD 40 on your hands. Not sprayed directly on the lure. The company took away a very handy product. The old WD 40 also would protect gardening tools after you cleaned the dirt from them then evaporate leaving no oil to put back in your garden. Now I see nothing special about the product that you can’t buy with different labels on the can.

  5. Using the pingback is nothing but advertising other products.
    I sugest those that have to produce large fish in reasonable numbers Keep the stink bate to Carp fishing not Chinook Salmon.

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