- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 12, 2003

Some weeks ago when our readers learned about the new Gulp - artificial baits from the Pure Fishing Corporation’s Berkley division, it quickly became obvious that whenever the Potomac River’s tidal water bass were actively feeding, the new non-plastic product worked wonderfully well.

During a tough, high-pressure weather system, the baits that can awaken the olfactory senses of fish did their job and outperformed the standard soft plastics that most bass fanatics have been using.

The fact that the fish snatched up the new lures was a significant discovery. However, I also found that during time periods when the fish were not interested in food of any kind, the new worms and grubs that are available in a wide variety of colors and sizes would have to do what the less tasty plastic is faced with: elicit anger responses.

As we know, a bass can be enticed into striking an artificial lure if such fake food repeatedly enters its jealously guarded ambush spot or lair in a waterlogged tree, a boat dock or rock pile. Do it often enough and predator species will become so ticked off, they eventually and violently strike the bait-imitating lure in an attempt to kill the insolent intruder.

But a small group of us Gulp! users also know that if you want to catch fish whether they’re on the “feed” or not, go to a farm pond. For some odd reason, farm pond inhabitants don’t operate the same way mean, old river bass do. It could be due to the fact that some of these tiny impoundments are frequently overcrowded with not nearly enough eating-size baitfish or crawdads readily available. So when they see or smell a tasty-looking morsel, an imaginary dinner bell rings and soon it’s hook-setting time.

With that in mind, my friend Mike Guy, one of the fellows who operate Guy Brothers Marine in Clements, Md., invited me and guide Andy Andrzejewski to make use of the family pond that is well supplied with bluegills, crappies and bass. One angler would fish with plain, 2-inch-long plastic grubs on a ⅛-ounce jig hook, hoping to attract whatever wanted it; the others would use the Gulp! 2-inch Minnow Grub in chartreuse color, also on a ⅛-ounce ballhead jig.

The Gulp! grubs were attacked almost immediately. In my case, a large bluegill grabbed it first, followed by a crappie, then another bluegill, and heaven only knows what else. Apparently, some of the fish were able to shake the hook. Mike did likewise. He brought in a young bass, a huge bluegill and several crappies, while our third angler was not faring that well.

He changed to a chartreuse 3-inch Gulp! Minnow Grub and almost immediately received a sharp attack from something, but it got off the hook. When yet another nibble was felt, shoreline angler Andy Andrzejewski quickly set the hook and soon a 7-pound largemouth bass wallowed in the shoreline shallows where dense mats of pond weeds provided a kind of handicap. The guide landed the bass without trouble, but one of his shoes got wet.

What did the three of us prove with the Gulp! baits? Perhaps that the bites came a little quicker than with standard baits.

On a subsequent outing in a nearby tidal creek, the flavorful new bait saved the day by again delivering perch and some bass, as it had on previous outings.

Will I now throw away all my Power Bait worms, my regular plastic worms and other soft lures? Of course not. But the Gulp! has a place in the tackle bag, and it will come in mighty handy now and then. In these parts, the bet already is that the 2-inch yellow, white or chartreuse Minnow Grubs will do a great job on wintertime yellow perch and crappies.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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