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Take a Big Gulp!


EASY TO SWALLOW: I?m going big on gulps this week. I guess that?s like a big gulp.
Many of you know that I?m talking about the Berkley ?Gulp!? which has been the table talk of the fishing world all summer.

Gulp! is an artificial bait. It?s something like artificial intelligence but tastes different.

Heavily hyped by many of our local tackle shop, this newbie to the bait realm failed to reel me in early on, due primarily to the fact I didn?t get a chance to do serious fishing all summer.
Well, this past week I got serious with not only fishing but Gulp-ing. And I?m a tad stunned, to say the least. Damn stuff worked like all get-out.

First, you have to realize I would never ever shamelessly hype something simply for personal ends.

(IMPORTANT: For you tackle shop owners and fishing industry people, I?m just saying that to look good. If you have rod, reels, bait supplies and SUVs to hand out for shamelessly hyping something, I?m your man, Call me on my private line and say ?Joe sent me.? Wink-wink, nod-nod.)

Where was I? Oh, unless a new fishing item rocks my world, I won?t pass it on as a must-buy item. After all, I know how you count on me to first digest things before endorsing them in this column.

Last week I bought my first Gulp. It was the ?Squid? model in near-blinding lime-neon-green Day-Glo.

I picked this exact color after carefully considering where I was going to fish, the subtle prismic refraction of the water color, the refractory influence of the wind upon the water column?s hue-containment potential, the primary color code of seasonal forage fish and the principal shade of the dominant astrological signs ? in other words, I had no idea what I was doing and just grabbed the brightest package off the shelf.

What I got, after having to fight Berkley?s people-proof packaging, was this weird looking squishy sheet of what I assumed was Gulp material, approximately 2 inches by 7 inches and maybe an 1/8 of inch thick. Texturally, it was akin to thinly sliced extra firm tofu or maybe a piece of sun-damaged neoprene wetsuit.

Berkley calls Gulp purely natural but I have my doubts. I?ve not only fished my entire life but I?ve been a commercial diver for decades and I?ve yet to see any neon-green-and-white baitfish shaped like sheets of tissue paper.

As with any new high-tech artificial bait, I did what all normal people in my position would do: I took a bite of it.

Now, the advertising for Gulp (on the packaging and the Berkley website) repeatedly assures it is 100 percent natural and biodegradable. Well, one of the Gulp?s natural ingredients is apparently Kevlar.

To bite off a taste, I had to resort to grabbing one end of the squid sheet between my pressed knees while fiercely pulling the other end upward with my teeth, shaking my head like one of those great white sharks they taunt on the ?Don?t Do This at Home? TV show. Considering I was doing this on the front steps of my house, passing pedestrians began slowing, looking over in a very odd fashion. I stopped shaking my head for a second, issued a low pit bull growl, and they quickly moseyed on.

I finally gnawed through the damn stuff, my teeth leaving a very cool imprint in the remaining sheet, which I?m saving for my dentist, in lieu of one of his $500 ?tooth imprints? he takes every time I stop by.

Squid Gulp in mouth, I stood there chewing away, turning my head one way then the other, not unlike the time a girlfriend of mine decided she was going to try her hand at make scungelli fritters.

I soon realized that fish and I must have conflicting tastes. Horrible stuff, this Gulp!
I spit it out and did the only logical follow-up. I tried it with cocktail sauce. Huge improvement.

But could this stuff live up to its trademark claim: ?Outfishes Live bait!? It says it right there in black and neon-green.

My first go at Gulping took place Sunday at the Holgate Rip.

I was on a fluking mission. In the flattie mode, I cut thin banner-shaped pieces of Gulp that I was told by experienced Gulpers caused fluke to stand up and salute. My work was cut out for me this day. Looking around at the 10 anglers at the Rip, I saw very little catching going on, short of tiny snappers being hooked left and right.

I flipped in my 100 percent naturally artificial bait and was seriously shocked when within ten seconds of casting I had very solid swack. Missing the hit, I thought ?Hmmm.?

I checked the bait and nary a tooth mark to be found. Wasn?t a bluefish bite. I cast back out and within ten seconds took another good hit and lost the bait. ?Double hmmmm.?

Rebaiting, I cast and finally hooked up, fighting a super-sized kingfish into the shallows before losing it.

Next cast, I landed a jumbo kingfish ? and the fun was on. I pretty much had steady bites right up until closing at sunset.

Nearby casters knew I was Gulping and held looks of semi-amazement, spiced with disbelieve over something so artificial outdoing their fresh spearing, mullet, and bloodworms.

Long and short of it: I bailed kingfish, fluke, robins, a croaker and even hooked a much larger fish that took line repeatedly before clearing itself of my curved fluke hook.

Now for my Gulp critique: Weird.

OK, so maybe such an uninvolved critique lacks exactness but I?ve simply never seen anything like it. There just isn?t supposed to be anything nearly as good as naturally occurring bait. In this instance, Gulp is just a swallow away from the real thing. In fact, on Sunday, another angler at the Rip also began catching kingfish using a Gulp product, crab model. He caught a kingfish that regurgitated a piece of my neon-green squid. That shows the fish actually downed the bait and happily moved on for a different type Gulp.

Could this spell the end of natural baits? Not on your life. First of all, Gulp baits need a 38- hour curing process before extrusion into the shapes now being offered. Such effort shows up in the cost. Roughly speaking, Gulp is over $100 a pound. Match that with fresh bunker at a couple bucks an lb and Gulp hasn?t got a chance of finding its way onto chunk hooks for bass -- at least I don?t think it does.

By the by, seagulls, crabs and bluefish seem to lack serious interest in Gulp squid, though blues will go for Gulp ?Shad? when fished on jigheads.

One Gulp sell-point for me is the way the a bag of the stuff can be thrown into a glove compartment (for days) then pulled out for instant fishing. Just try that with a bag of cut bunker.

j-mann

[ 09-19-2005, 02:20 PM: Message edited by: NIGHTSTRIKES ]
 

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I have heard great things about this stuff. The first tip-off, is they are always sold out here. I am pretty far from the salt, so I got some white 5" minnows, and white 3" minnows. That and some purple worms. That is all they had left. The first outing to Lake George in a kayak, even with my son who couldn't paddle to the good spot I wanted to fish. So, pissed off I dropped in the line I had rigged with the 5", and started to set up my other rod. BUUUZZZZZ! The drag takes off. I scramble to set the hook, and wow, a 4 lb. bass. Then I casted the 3" version, tug a few times reel in small Laker. I must say, I think they got something there! I can't wait to try it in the salt!
 

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Be sure to kep the bags sealed, some anglers i spoke to are even double bagging to them to ensure freshness. apparantly they will dry out in a few days if the bag is left open and was also recommended to not leave them in a hot area such as the backseat of a truck.
I've heard people complain about the price but when you compare it to bloodworms and the fact that this has "low maintenance" i believe its a heckava deal.
a little birdy also told me that they are working on an "offshore bait" but thats all i know.

Im not sure a "normal" persn would take a bite of that stuff. I havent had that urge...yet.
the stuff does work!

Nick
Great Read JMann!
 

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Originally posted by LBI SurfRat:
Be sure to kep the bags sealed, some anglers i spoke to are even double bagging to them to ensure freshness. apparantly they will dry out in a few days if the bag is left open and was also recommended to not leave them in a hot area such as the backseat of a truck.
I hear ya Nick, thanks for the heads-up. Maby vacume seal the rest & keep in frig/freezer for thoes long inbetween times. Can do a few in a row (seal in thin strips of bag) saveing on material & only break open a small lot as needed.
 

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Took the 5 grandsons out last week to the Ocean City Reef. A full bucket of minnows, and a few packages of Gulp. I chose the Gulp Crab, one grandson picked the Gulp Bloodworm. Well after 3 hours, the Gulp outfished the live bait 8 to 1.

I had 6 fish on a single crab bait, it's claws were gone, the head mangled, and it looked like it had seen another day. But it landed 6 fish. The grandson using the Gulp Bloodworm, had nurmrous hits, and landed 3 or 4 short flounder. The minnow fishermen, had nothing. I'm not talking Gulp, but it works.
 

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LOL. Great storytelling! I have used Gulp with not much success, even tried the crab when at the reef and all the fish were regurgitating crab. I will keep trying but still prefer natural.
BTW, I cannot find Gulp Shrimp in the Atlantic County area, any suggestions?
 

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Originally posted by FlounderBob:

BTW, I cannot find Gulp Shrimp in the Atlantic County area, any suggestions?
What's Up Bob,,,Have you checked with Dave over at Absecon Bay Sportsmens Center.He had the largest seclection of GULPS! anywhere I have found...

By the way how is Varisty looking this year ?

[ 09-22-2005, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: NIGHTSTRIKES ]
 
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