Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips What is Berkley Gulp and How to Use it in Ocean City, MD
What is Berkley Gulp and How to Use it in Ocean City, MD

"What’s this Gulp stuff?”

Gulp is a product made by Berkley, a division of Pure Fishing. Like FishBites, years of research went into the making of this extremely popular bait. They look like soft plastic lures immersed in some kind of liquid. I read on the internet that Gulp is made from a water-based resin while other soft baits like plastic worms and grubs are made from an oil based resin. The Company explains: “Berkley Gulp and Berkley Gulp Alive baits are not really made of plastic, but a bio-degradable, dense “sponge-like” material that “soaks all the scents up.” When fishing with Gulp, it is important to fish the bait slowly and allow the bait to do what it is intended to do, disperse scent.”

Everything about Berkley Gulp is secret. It’s a secret bait immersed in a secret juice that is supposed to send out scents 400 times more powerful than real bait. Well, I’m not sure about all that, but it is an extremely popular bait and worth talking about for a few hundred words.

“What kind do I buy? There are hundreds of them on the shelf?”

First of all, there is the regular Gulp in little packages that cost around $8.00 and the same lures in a Tub with a little handle that cost around $20. The tubs are called “Gulp Alive”. Gulp Alive comes in a pail with more of the powerful juice while regular Gulp comes in a bag with just a little juice. I’m not sure about one juice being more powerful than another since all the juice smells the same but one thing is for sure; Berkley keeps all its secrets shrouded in mystery. All I know is that if you buy one tub of Gulp Alive, you can open the little bags and toss them all in the juice, mix the colors, and have no problem with bleeding colors.

In our area of Ocean City, MD and surrounding areas of Delaware, the most popular Gulp in the summertime is the 4-inch Swimming Mullet. Anglers use it primarily for flounder fishing. You slide it right on your hook, bucktail or jig head just like a regular curltail grub.

Anglers are always asking, “What is better? A live minnow or Gulp?” Well, although many good anglers use Gulp by itself with no other bait, the best way to use Gulp is in combination with real bait. Slide the Gulp Swimming Mullet on the hook; then attach the live minnow thru the lips. The minnow wiggles, giving the Gulp a nice natural look in the water. The extra scent of the Gulp is extremely effective when flounder fishing, plus you have the color and good looks of the Swimming Mullet.
Gulp makes all kinds of colors and sizes of their baits. In the Swimming Mullet, the pearl white and the chartreuse colors are the most popular followed by pink. Sometimes anglers get into colors called smelt or orange, but if you choose two colors, stick to white and chartreuse. The Gulp Shrimp also works well for flounder. If you are jigging for flounder and other species like stripers, use the Jerk Shads. Sometimes when anglers are slow trolling and trying to wade thru small flounder to catch keepers, the large 6-inch Swimming Mullet is used. This also works well on a bucktail jig for stripers.
There are Peeler Crab Gulp baits for trout and yes, flounder will take them too. There is a Sand Flea Gulp that works well for tautog and Bloodworm Gulp for bottom fish although I still prefer FishBite Bloodworm when it comes to the bloodworm scent.

Last fall when we were fishing in Virginia, I starting throwing the 3-inch curltail swimming mullet on a 3/8 ounce lead head for speckled trout and it worked great! There’s also a variety of Gulp Alive baits called Crazy Legs that have a really nice action. Sometimes Gulp works good when fishing offshore in addition to squid and clam for sea bass and offshore flounder.

Be careful, Gulp can leak! This is a common complaint. If you open a package of Gulp, always make sure you seal it back up or the juice will get all over your other tackle. That nice odor will get tiresome when it gets on everything.

The juice can also get all over the boat. It can be slippery on board so if it gets on the floor, be sure to wipe it up so no one slips. The Berkley rep told me to take a knife and cut a big slit in the white paper over the top of the Gulp Jar rather than take the whole paper off the top of the lid where it adheres to the sides. “This will help with the leaking problem.” he said. He also mentioned that the new jars out this year are better than the original ones. They have a slightly different shape. The only problem for us retailers is that we are getting some of the old ones and some of the new ones when we order from different companies!

Regardless, the stuff works, so we have to suffer through the leakage problems. Plano and a few other companies have actually come up with special Gulp containers that do not leak. I read on the Internet that men were swiping their wives Tupperware Containers to store their Gulp Alive in! I will warn you, cheap plastic containers and even good Ziplock bags do not work! The juice eats right thru them! One man said he keeps his Gulp jars in a small cooler and just wipes it out occasionally. I store mine in a 5-gallon bucket in the garage, so if it leaks, it’s all in the bucket.

The biggest advice for using Gulp is this. Take it off your hook at the end of the day and put it back in the juice. If you don’t, it shrivels up to a quarter of its original size and gets hard as a rock on your hook. Then you have to chisel it off with a sharp knife or throw your rig away!

Gulp is great bait, but if you use it alone, you need to keep it moving. If it’s been on the hook for a half an hour, put it back in the juice to rejuvenate and hook up a new one.

Good fishing…

Sue Foster is an outdoor writer and co-owner of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City, MD and Fenwick Tackle in Fenwick, DE.

Last Updated on Monday, 21 November 2011 20:12