Fishing Skillz is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

What Is PowerBait Made Of? (Is It Toxic To Humans?)

All About PowerBait

PowerBait is one of those classic tackle items that some fishermen swear by, and they always have a jar of it in their tackle boxes. It’s easy to use, effective, and fairly cost-efficient if you know what you’re doing with it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ve probably at least seen it before. It comes in the little colorful jars that line tackle store shelves. 

Personally, I’m a huge fan of the stuff, and I find the dough-like formulas excellent for trout fishing and the u-tail grubs to be some of the most useful panfish baits out there.

The strong scent of PowerBait is capable of luring in fish from further out in the pond, and the shaped versions of it produce a fair amount of action that entices even the most picky of fish. 

However, a lot of the folks who swear by PowerBait don’t actually know what makes it tick. It seems like a magical piece of plastic food that just so happens to smell worse than a carp that’s been laying in the sun all day.

So, to help you understand a little better exactly what PowerBait is, I’m going to go over the list of ingredients used to make PowerBait, and then I’ll talk about how it affects both humans and the fish we’re catching with it. 

What Is Powerbait Made Out Of?

For starters, all PowerBaits are PVC-based. That’s the same stuff used for a lot of the plumbing in your house. However, Berkley uses a very fine PVC powder that can be mixed with fluids to create a paste for most of their products. 

Powerbait Dough

For the dough variety of PowerBait, oil-based resin is added, and the concoction is heated. That’s what gives it its knock-off Play-Doh consistency. The resin is perfectly safe for humans, animals, and the environment, and while the exact oil used is unknown, it is a food-grade oil. 

While the dough is being formed, Berkley’s signature scent profile is added. The recipe is changed slightly depending on what fish species the particular bait is meant for. Since the scent is added during this “cooking” process, it is locked into the dough, and it only releases when you start molding it onto your hook. That makes it a long-lasting bait, and it maximizes its ability to attract fish. 

Molded Shaped Baits

The shaped lures are made in a similar fashion, and they contain most of the same ingredients. The only real differences are that the PVC compound is denser, and it’s molded into small lures instead of being blended into a paste. Those lures are then suspended in the oil-resin and scent recipe. That makes them messier to use, and there’s another drawback I’ll talk about later. 

Powerbait Recipe

Finally, if you came here looking for Berkley’s scent recipes, you’re going to be disappointed. Those are heavily protected trade secrets, and you’d have to work as a higher-up Berkley executive to know exactly what gets put into the scent mixtures. Until Berkley decides to let the cat out of the bag, we can only guess what gives their products that horrendous, yet effective, scent. 

Is Powerbait Toxic To Humans?

A lot of people wonder if PowerBait is safe to use. I don’t blame them, and I don’t blame you if you’re curious. It’s a horrible smelling bait, and no one knows what makes it smell that way. However, Berkley’s PowerBait products are certified as being safe for the environment and non-toxic. 

For all normal applications, PowerBait is perfectly safe to use. It won’t poison the fish you catch with it if you let them go, and it won’t poison you if you decide to eat your catch. It’s even biodegradable, and it won’t cause any harm to the environment. 

Safe, But Don’t Eat It

However, that doesn’t mean you should sit down for a nice plate of PowerBait and toast. It is still made out of PVC, and while the PVC powder will most likely pass through your system harmlessly if you consume it, I don’t like the idea of eating plastic and neither should you. 

I recommend cleaning your fish the exact same way you always do, and make sure there aren’t any neon dough balls left behind on the meat you harvest. That’ll keep that PowerBait stench from affecting your food, and you can sleep easy knowing you didn’t eat ground up PVC. 

My Personal Experience With Powerbait

Molded Shaped Powerbait

Finally, I have a personal tidbit to add to this. While PowerBait is non-toxic, I’ve noticed the molded lure version’s oil can be pretty harsh on the skin. Every time I dip my fingers in to pull out a u-tail grub, my fingers end up stinging until I wash my hands, and they get dried out very quickly. That’s a minor issue, and I don’t consider it to be a health concern, but you should wear gloves to retrieve the suspended lures if you use that type of PowerBait and have sensitive skin. It’ll help you focus on your fishing instead of worrying about your fingers. 

Powerbait Dough

Luckily, I’ve never had that problem with the dough, and I’m guessing most other people haven’t, either. The lures are probably like that because the chemicals are concentrated in the oil to ensure the lures are fully saturated in scent compound. 

Final Thoughts

Powerbait is especially great for beginners. Do I recommend using it? Absolutely. Like I said earlier, I love using the stuff and I’ve caught a lot of fish with it.

If you haven’t used it, or are questioning using it, I recommend at least giving it a try. Powerbait is pretty inexpensive and it’s a great way to catch your limit of trout as well as other species of fish.

You can check out the entire variety of Powerbait options on the Powerbait website, or even see what colors and varieties carries.

More From Fishing Skillz

Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

best panther martin for rainbow trout

The Best Panther Martin For Rainbow Trout (Updated for [year])

(REVIEW) Piscifun III Aluminum Fishing Pliers: The Best For The Money