Fishing With WD-40: Is This a Joke or Genius Idea

Maybe you’ve heard about it through the next-door neighbor or from a video on YouTube. Everyone is claiming that fishing with WD-40 is the secret sauce to catching your next big fish. Could it be true, or is this just one of those old jokes floating around?

In the over sixty years that WD-40 has been around, no one truly knows what the ‘secret sauce’ to it is, as the formula to the product remains a secret to this very day much like the secret recipe of KFC.

wd40 for fishing

According to many, by applying just a little bit of WD-40 exclusively (no other scents) on their bait, they caught tons of fish. So perhaps this isn’t a complete joke, but it may not be a genius idea either…especially when considering the long-term effects of adding WD-40 to our lakes and freshwater (since it’s technically a pollutant, as it has liquid petroleum hydrocarbon that will leave oil residue in the water).

By the way, as an Amazon Associate, I earn when buying qualified products through links on my site.

Now, WD-40 is a popular product that has been proven to be useful in multiple ways. However, the main concern that some people have is the question of whether it should or shouldn’t be used while catching fish on the lake or in the river.

Need a good fish attractant? Try Berkley Gulp! Alive! (Amazon) I’ve had great success using this stuff, whether it be fishing for bass and catfish, or a variety of saltwater fishing, including spotted sea trout, flounder, redfish and snook!

Does WD-40 Attract Fish Because it Contains Fish Oil

Myth or fact? Many fishermen claim that since WD-40 attracts fish, it must have fish oil in it.

To keep things short and sweet, there is actually no documentation that WD-40 contains fish oils. Even though the official formula is a trade secret. the main ingredients in WD-40, according to the United States Material Safety Data Sheet, are Stoddard solvent, liquefied petroleum gas, mineral oil (light lubricating oil), and then inert ingredients.

Is Fishing with WD-40 Actually Legal

To jump right to the point of how legal or illegal fishing with WD-40 actually is, yes, WD-40 and other attractants that are non-toxic and don’t threaten human or fish health can be used and applied to lures.

However, there is quite a debate on whether or not WD-40 is actually harmful to the environment. It certainly won’t leave nearly as much oil in the water as a boat engine does, but it still leaves oil residue behind.

Also, one thing to take into consideration is that you’ll probably end up eating the fish that ate some WD-40. So if you’re not keen on consuming it, then you should probably hold off on adding it to your bait.

Does Fishing with WD-40 Work

Okay, so we’ve established that it’s not illegal to use WD-40 on your fishing lures, but is it actually worth it?

According to some experiments done to see if this method actually works, apparently, WD-40 does not catch fish or attract them.

Check out this video by a YouTuber who tried this experiment and found that it actually does more harm than good.

Fishing With WD 40

Then again, there are many fishermen (and women) who have been fishing by applying WD-40 directly to their baits for several decades and swear by the method, so you have to take that into consideration too.

What’s in WD-40 (Is WD-40 Environmentally Friendly?)

Even though the full list of ingredients WD-40 is “top secret”, we still know a handful of the key players. Some of the ingredients like Aliphatic Hydrocarbon, Petroleum Base Oil, Surfactant and LVP Aliphatic Hydrocarbon are all known to be harmful to the environment.

A good rule of thumb is that anything that is petroleum-based is not something that one ought to be putting into the environment.

There are claims that this product doesn’t leave an oil residue, however, due to it initially being designed for the space program, it certainly does leave an oil residue behind. So, each time you add some to your fishing lure, as soon as your lure hits the water, you’re adding some oil to the lake.

What Should You Use WD-40 For While Fishing

The truth of the matter is that WD-40 works great for keeping your fishing equipment in great condition.

The actual purpose of WD-40 is to prevent rust and corrosion. (It’s actually not meant for squeaky doors like you might have thought). Since your fishing gear is exposed to moisture, humidity, and water each time you use them, rust and corrosion can happen quite easily and compromise the integrity and quality of your equipment.

When applied directly to your fishing equipment, WD-40 will create a layer of protection to shield it from corrosion and rust. However, the company itself does not recommend that you use the product for the sole purpose of attracting fish.

The company has even taken steps to debut the myth that their product is a miracle fish attractant. On the company website, they state how they have taken steps to conserve and respect the environment and would like to encourage others to do the same.

So, keep your WD-40 on hand to protect your fishing equipment from rust and corrosion…just seriously think twice about adding it to your lure.


Many of you are probably disappointed that the myth was busted about fishing with WD-40, but it’s a good thing to be informed about. Just imagine the consequences if every fisherman was to use some WD-40 on his bait every time he fished. Perhaps the lakes would be different and even more polluted with oil residue from the products being used.

So go ahead, throw the can of WD-40 into your boat, but make sure to only use it to take care of your fishing equipment.


Peter is a software developer who loves to take every opportunity to go outside that he can get. Peter grew up going on long backpacking excursions with his family every Summer and now enjoys staying at the beautiful Texas State Parks and swimming in the amazing Texas Rivers.

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