While I have experienced many different methods of fishing and used many types of bait up to and including a piece of foam rubber on a treble hook; grasshoppers, real flies (I had a devil of a time getting the danged thing on the hook not to mention how often it flew off, no pun intended, when I cast out); to artificial lures or the standard live baits such as worms usually in tandem with marshmallows or something that would help the worm up off the bottom and into the feeding zone some of my greatest successes have come from the use of a “secret ingredient” with my Velveeta Cheese.
On a fishing trip with a buddy of mine back more years than I care to count he suggested we try a new approach he’d heard of from a”friend of a friend”. So we went to the local grocery store, purchased a two pound brick of Velveeta cheese and a bottle of the “secret ingredient” which we took home. We spent the next couple of hours eating tacos his wife prepared and cutting up the two pound brick of cheese into bait sized pieces. After we finished with the bait and the tacos, not necessarily in that order, we poured the entire one ounce bottle over the cheese, put it into a sealed container for the night.
The next day we headed for Willow Beach on the Colorado on the Arizona side; a popular fishery for those who like to catch the big ones. There were six men in our party of two boats. In my boat we had the secret bait. The other boat did not. Within two hours of setting out on the water our boat had caught our limits of ten fish each using the secret bait. The other boat had exactly three fish and they were all small. Ours, on the other hand averaged more than two pounds apiece. We were fishing the same waters using essentially the same method of drifting with the bait suspended off the bottom a few feet. When we pulled ashore for breakfast and showed the others our catch we were forced to give up the secret or risk taking a long swim in the mighty Colorado. We chose the easy way out. The second boat then set out and using the secret, homemade bait had their limits by noon. Over the next ten years we fished together regularly and always had success with our homemade bait. We let a few people in on the secret but most of them thought it foolish and refused to try. Their loss I am sure.
When Powerbaits came out and forever altered the tackle boxes of countless fishermen it was only a matter of time before our secret ingredient fell by the wayside. Factoring in the cost of the cheese which as tripled in the last thirty years and the waste caused because one cannot use the cheese for anything else once it has been soaked and one can see why it fell out of favor. Besides it is much easier to just open a bottle of Powerbait and scoop out an appropriate portion to use as bait. So… our secret ingredient: anise seed oil more commonly known as licorice oil went the way of the dodo. Still I occasionally wonder if I shouldn’t give it a try especially when the fish are not biting on anything at all.
There you have it. Licorice oil and Velveeta cheese. Ironically enough no other processed cheese seemed to work as well. We did try some spicy Velveeta once and managed to catch some very nice “latino” trout. Still, if you are not having any success consider giving this one a try. It cannot hurt and you can always use the leftover cheese to make a great chili con queso dip.