Having recently reviewed Marukyu Isome, it would be amiss of me to not dedicate some words to the other brand of scented worms – Berkley Gulp!. The Rolling Stones to Isome’s Beatles, this American rival to Marukyu’s crown as greatest ‘fake bait’, is equal to or maybe even superior to the Japanese brand. I recently got hold of some very interesting Gulp lures, most that are regulars in my tackle box, one that is not. The following is an outline of my thoughts plus some advice on how to get the best out of these lures.
Berkley are a quite massive American brand and make a wide a range of lures. Ranging from freshwater American bass fishing to salt water applications, they have a solution to a lot of our LRF needs. I will cover a few of the lure choices I have come across from them. As with all scented lures, I fish these slow or even static, depending on my target species.
Berkley Gulp! Alive Sandworm in Camo
If you have read my post about wrasse, you will know this is a lure I seriously rate. Our UK wrasse species can’t seem to resist it. It of course works for every other UK species that eat ragworm; as that is exactly what it is imitating. It comes in a large tub full of scented liquid, which is not pleasant smelling like Maryuku Isome! Just like Isome though if you leave these worms out of the liquid for too long they will dry up and be useless. So keep them in their tub. This is quite expensive – looking at around a tenner for 10 or 12 worms. The benefit you get though is the storage, I keep all my scented lures in the Gulp! Alive tubs, keeping them fresh and scented even after multiple uses. Do not put TPE soft plastics in there though, they will melt.
These worms can be used in small sections for the mini-species or used whole for big ballan wrasse. What makes them great for ballan wrasse is the only thing that limits their uses for smaller fish- they are tough. The ability to stay on a weedless hook without folding or slipping is a great advantage when wrasse fishing. Small mouthed or finicky mini species can be put off by the tough texture, although probably between me and Richard Salter there is barely a species out there we haven’t had on them, so it can’t be that off-putting!
Whether rigged dropshot, Texas, jighead or splitshot, these worms do the business and when nothing else is working can make the difference between a blank or not. I highly recommend these to any Lerfer.
Berkley Gulp! Isome in Large
There you were thinking Gulp! and Isome were different things. Berkley have been rather smart over the years and invested in the Japanese lure market. This has led to this rather magical creation. Gulp Isome is hands down, the most lifelike worm lure I have ever come across. The Camo version in particular is a spot on ragworm impression. These lures are super soft, highly scented and are as close to bait as you can get before you go out and buy the real thing.
These packs of 10 worms cost £4.99, making them a similar cost per worm to the larger Maryuku Isome versions. The biggest difference being that you will go through the Gulp version quicker because it is so soft! Many a missed strike leads to a bare hook coming back, which can be devastating as these worms aren’t stocked in every tackle shop. That is the biggest drawback to these lures, they are super effective but they can be ripped off a hook in seconds.
Another drawback is, like many Gulp products, they have a tendency to remain the shape they have been bent into while in the packet. This can lead to awkward presentations if you are looking for a straight worm to present mid water or so it doesn’t spin on the drop. The majority of the time this won’t be a problem but it’s worth mentioning.
Rig them the same way you would any other worm lure, although I wouldn’t recommend weedless rigs as they are a little too soft. Keep them from drying out by putting them in the large Gulp! Alive tub or a sealed container with Gulp or Ecogear Aqua liquid.
So to sum these lures up… If I had to fish with one scented worm for the rest of my life, I would choose these. They are deadly to all saltwater species. A fine addition to any species hunter’s armoury.
Berkley Gulp! Baby Squid in Clear Red Fleck
Moving away from the worm type lures and we have something quite interesting. The Baby Squid are an interesting 5cm lure with two ‘tentacles’, giving a decent impression of their namesake. The look of these are spot on for a tiny squid.
They aren’t cheap, at £6.49 a packet but you get plenty and these lures are not coming off in a hurry. In fact that is main thing that lets these lures down, they are really quite tough. That wouldn’t be a problem if is wasn’t for the fact that they mostly come bent in angles from the packet, meaning they won’t swim straight on the retrieve. Not all of them have this problem but due to their toughness it can be an issue. I think this is a problem that could be solved by leaving the packet in the sun, which would soften the lures a little.
Fished on a light jighead I can see these doing really well for scad and herring, in fact herring are the only species I have targeted with these so far and they worked a treat. Another use for them would be as a prawn imitation for scorps’ and topknot in amongst boulders.
There is definitely a lot of potential with lures and I look forward to using them more, especially in the later, colder months of the year.
Berkley Gulp! Fish Fry & Angleworm
I have put these two together because they both come in similar containers and have similar uses. The tubs these come in are full of scented liquid, which I use to top up my Gulp Alive tubs. You also get loads for your money, these rarely cost more than £5. They are made of the tougher Gulp material so stay on the hook well. Both having that problem I described with the Baby Squid, of retaining a bent shape from their container. I once accidentally cooked a pot of fish fry in my hot car, which made the lures soft and spongy. The fish loved them! Unfortunately they came off the hook easier than Isome and my supply quickly ran out. Food for thought though…
Angleworm is really nothing special to look at, although it’s simplicity is it’s secret weapon. It works really well on small wrasse like goldsinny and rockcook, often getting results where other lures fail. I prefer to rig it on a dropshot with a size 14 or smaller, failing that a Carolina or split shot rig. It’s not going to win any design awards but it’s effective.
The fish fry is perfect on a tiny jighead, fished really slow with twitches for sand smelt, herring and scad. They are very basic little lures but definitely work, especially when species hunting. Efficient and useful, which could sum up all of the Gulp! range to be fair.
There are plenty more lures in the Gulp! range, including the very popular Baby Sardine. If I ever come across these lures I will write about them. Watch this space…
Thanks for reading, you can find a huge selection of these scented lures at Prime Angling. Check them out here: https://www.primeangling.co.uk/product-category/lure-fishing/soft-lures
For further reading/watching please check out the following links:
My page on Facebook – I would really appreciate if you could give this a like, it helps me get my posts out to as many followers as possible.
My page on Instagram
Prime Angling – Where I bought most of these lures from.
Richard Salter aka Devon Lerfer – First class LRF videos
Neil Sutherland at Aquazid Studio – LRF based T shirt designs and more
Simon Kingdom at Osborne & Cragg – Plymouth based tackle shop with a great selection of lures and everything else
Art Of Fishing – Wadebridge based fishing tackle porn
Street Fishing London – A new exciting lure fishing store