S.A.F.E. Angling Products: Fishbites

Fishbites Logo - Recycled FishFishbites are the result of a lifelong passion for fishing and decades of scientific research. Carr Specialty Baits, Inc., maker of Fishbites, is a family-owned business founded in 2001 in St. Augustine, Florida, by avid angler and world-renowned marine researcher Dr. William Carr. All of the products are made with pride in St. Augustine, FL U.S.A.

A University of Florida professor for more than 30 years and a founding scientist of the C.V. Whitney Marine Laboratory in Marineland, Florida, Dr. Carr devoted his career to studying the feeding behaviors of marine species. His pioneering research methods led to key findings about the chemical stimulants fish use to detect and track their prey.

Fishbites Xtreme - Recycled FishWhat Carr discovered, contrary to popular belief, is that there is little in common between what humans smell in the air and what fish detect in the water. Fish can only detect and react to chemicals which have been dissolved in water. Odors that persist in the air do not necessarily dissolve in water and are therefore not detectable or attractive to fish. Hence, Carr Specialty Baits focused on replicating natural, water-soluble feeding stimulants in the lab, creating a more refined and potent form. This breakthrough represents a new era in artificial bait technology. The result is an ever-expanding Fishbites product line of clean, convenient and effective alternatives to natural baits. Anglers have been reporting more catches ever since!

Fishbites soft baits- Recycled FishFishbites Xtreme Scent Release Lures are made from Fishbites’ propriety "Hydro-Gel." Fishbites Xtreme Scent Release lures are biodegradable lures that have been infused with powerful flavor/scent technology, taking the Fishbites brand to a whole new level of technological achievement in the industry. All Fishbites products are made with a mesh "skeleton" surrounded by a hardened but still flexible gel with a flesh-like texture. Fishbites slowly dissolve in water, releasing powerful feeding stimulants that attract fish. Generally, each piece of Fishbites will last 15-30 minutes. You’ll know when it’s time to put a new piece of Fishbites on your hook when there’s nothing left of the product but the mesh. Shapes include 3.5″ Shrimp (headless), 3″ paddle tail, 5″ jerkbait, 5″ XR Fatty Jr. (Bass worm) & 6″ Finesse worm. Fishbites scents lure fish but they are barely perceptible to humans and are non-toxic, environmentally-responsible products which fish can digest without any harmful side effects. Generally, Fishbites products will last for at least a year if they are zipped up tight and stored at room temperature.

Carr Specialty Baits / Fishbites President Terry Dillinger graciously took time out from his busy schedule to speak to Recycled Fish to answer a few questions.

Why was Fishbites created? What was its genesis? Why did Dr. Carr invest the time and effort to create this product for anglers?

This is actually a very interesting story and shows the true genius behind Dr. Carr and the product lines. When Dr. Carr was a very young boy he was fishing off a group of rocks on the beach. The jagged edges of the rocks gave him a small cut on his foot. The cut gave off a small amount of blood in the water. As his foot stayed just slightly in the water, the cut kept giving off a small amount of blood that kept dispersing in the water. He then noticed a small shrimp following the blood trail to his foot until the shrimp was right next to his foot searching for food. This one pivotal incident as a youngster became the bases for his scientific work as moved into Zoology and Marine biology as an adult. Which of the senses caused this small creature to follow this blood trail to his foot? He would later recreate the incident in a tank of water with a small sac-like bulb that would give off a scent to attract the shrimp. The shrimp would follow the scent to the bulb. The shrimp would not go to the bulb when there was no scent released. From there Dr. studied marine attractants and was able to duplicate many of the animal chemical make-ups in marine life to attract other species. This was done with a purpose of feeding not on the structure of breeding. Since then Dr. Carr became on the leading authorities regarding Chemoreception. As he worked with these stimulants, he felt there should be a way to incorporate them into products to attract fish to feed. He has since worked on many patented projects and worked with many companies to make products to sell to fisherman to help catch fish. This, until the last product worked on was brought to market by the family, thus pulling him away from the University systems and making him a business owner.

Please explain "Fast Acting" vs. "Longer Lasting" Fishbites formulas. Is this option only available in your saltwater products?

The Long Lasting line was our first product line to take to market, renamed when the Fast Acting line was introduced. The Long Lasting line is a product meant to have durability in the water to catch fish after fish for a sustained period of time without having to re-bait. This is obtained by having an interior cloth that the hook penetrates. The gel disperses in the water while the cloth remains on the hook.

The Fast Acting formula is the same in scent technology but the product dissolves in a different manner because instead of the cloth there is a biodegradable fiber medium throughout the product to give it strength. The fiber dissolves along with the rest of the product on a faster timeline. This product will disperse the scent at a faster rate but will not last as long in the water. Originally this product was made to entice fish in colder waters that have become dormant and refuse to feed, but we found many fisherman like to use this product first as a chum then switch to the LL product line to keep the catch going.

Any difference between the saltwater line of products and the freshwater line? Marketing? Shape? Scent formulation? Composition? Additionally, have you received any feedback from anglers who have "switched up", using the salt products in freshwater, or the freshwater products for saltwater fish species?

Fishbites Xtreme Worms - Recycled FishThere are differences between the freshwater and saltwater lines. Although compositions may be similar the scent formulation, shapes and marketing strategies are all different depending on the product line. An example would be the Xtreme Release Finesse worms in Freshwater. The product line has a familiar freshwater shape, and a worm scent that is not traditionally used in saltwater markets. The marketing for this product line is also different than our saltwater lines. The competitors are numerous for plastic worms in freshwater with high bait counts per bag and low margins. Because of this we work to put more product in the bags to compete with bag count averages. As you can imagine this creates smaller profit margins for advertising. We actually need to advertise this product more to create market interest and educate the consumer as this line is different than any other worms on the market.

How tough is the material? Will it cast off the hook? Will it come through weeds?

All of our baits are extremely tough and will not come off the hook while casting. They will definitely stay on the hook while pulling them through the weeds.

Does Fishbites products sink or float in the water?

Fishbites products do not float.

What is the most surprising fish story you’ve heard with relation to their use of your product (so far!)?

There are so many…check our website. We will actually be starting a ‘Fishbites Story Reward’ on our website. We will be asking our customers to send in their stories (with pictures) monthly. Once a month we will pick a deserved winner and give them a cash prize.

For more answers from Carr Specialty Baits of the more common questions asked by anglers interested in giving Fishbites a try, check out their website at www.fishbites.com! A new line of Fishbites products for freshwater are in development – so stay tuned!

Carr Specialty Baits / Fishbites is always happy to hear from customers. Many of their product improvements have evolved from the input of anglers from all over!
To give a call, drop a line, send photos and/ or catch reports, contact Fishbites at:

Carr Specialty Baits, Inc. / Fishbites
56 S.Dixie Hwy #7
St. Augustine, Florida 32084

Call toll free: (877) 840-BAIT(2248)
Phone: (904) 827-9441
Fax: (904) 819-0538
email: info[at]fishbites.com

Dr. William Carr, Director of R&D
Terry Dillinger, President