Berkley Gulp Jerk Shad: Everything You Need To Know [REVIEW]
By: Luke Simonds on June 4, 2015
If you’re an avid saltwater angler, you’ve most certainly heard of Gulp baits made by Berkley. And you likely know that they can be expensive… especially compared to other soft plastic bait alternatives.
In fact, I used to believe that they were over-hyped and over-priced to the point of not even bothering to try them out.
However, my thoughts on them drastically changed once I finally gave them a try… and they changed even more once I started learning how to properly care for them.
And then their value increased further once I realized how useful expired Gulp baits were in terms of catching pinfish and other great bait… more on that below.
Most importantly, what I learned in the learning process is that it’s not wise to evaluate a soft plastic lure on its cost-per-bait ratio… what we really care about is the cost-per-fish caught ratio…
So I thought this article and associated videos would help you decide if a Gulp is something you want to have in your tackle arsenal… detailed review, rigging steps, and maintenance tips below.
Review of Berkley Gulp Jerk Shad
When I finally did decide to use a 5″ Gulp Jerk Shad, I was completely blown away by the increase in bites I was getting from both my target fish (snook, redfish, and big trout), as well as small bait fish (explained at the end of the article).
This was the very first time I truly noticed a difference in bites from one type of bait to another… and that includes trying multiple “magic” spray fish attracting formulas and lots of other “must have” baits that I have accumulated as a complete fishing addict…
So I am a true believer that Gulp bait will draw more strikes… now the better question is will the added strikes be enough to justify the higher price per bait that.
To start, let’s cover the most effective rigging of the Gulp Jerk Shad that I’ve found so far for catching snook, redfish, and big trout in shallow water…
How to Rig a Gulp Jerk Shad
The most important factor in rigging a Berkley Gulp Jerk Shad (or any other jerk bait) is making sure that it’s straight form does not get altered by the hook or jig head.
This is because any curvature in the bait will result in the lure spinning around in an unnatural way on the retrieve, which will significantly decrease the amount of strikes you get… in addition to increasing the chance of you getting a wind knot in your line due to all of the twists.
So what can be done to prevent twisting?
Well that is fortunately extremely easy to do as long as you do these three things:
- Use a hook with a weight on the shank of the hook (click here to see our favorite size/style)
- Set the hook on the outside of the bait before hooking the bait so you know exactly where the hook should enter/exit (4:35 mark in video below)
- Make sure you exit the lure on the very top of the bait… an off-center exit will likely cause spinning (5:10 mark in video)
- Simply keep an eye on the lure when fishing to make sure it is still rigged straight on your hook or jig head
CLICK HERE to learn more about the hooks shown in the video.
Note: If find that you are getting line twists and/or wind knots, here’s a quick tip on clearing twists from your spool.
How to Properly Care for Gulp Jerk Baits
As stated earlier, Gulp jerk baits are expensive when evaluated as a cost-per-bait basis compared to the others.
But as I mentioned earlier, the more important factor is the cost-per-fish ratio, and a fantastic way to increase this for Gulp baits is to properly care for them because they require more care than other soft plastics.
The most important factor in maintaining Gulp jerk baits is their propensity to shrink and harden when left out of water for too long… see video below for details.
Fortunately, this is easily fixed with just making sure to take your bait off the hook when you’ve finished fishing with it. Check out the video below.
Bonus Benefit of Gulp Jerk Shad Baits
As mentioned earlier, I noticed that pinfish and other small bait fish were aggressively biting my Gulp jerk baits when I was fishing for snook, reds, and trout.
So what I eventually learned to do was use small chunks of Gulp to catch loads of pinfish, pigfish, and a large variety of other bait fish by hook and line… and it’s surprisingly easy.
It’s so easy that I highly recommend getting kids to do it since it is action packed and does not require a good cast or any sort of special retrieve.
Best of all, this does not require a brand new out of the pack bait to work… I simply cut up my old baits once they can no longer be used for prized fish so that I then can still get value from these baits for a much longer time.
Click here to see a detailed video on how to catch bait with small chunks of Gulp baits.
Like all other baits, Gulp Jerk Shads have their pros and their cons. For Gulp, the high price would certainly be their biggest con.
However, I now find that my cost-per-fish caught ratio has been very impressive over the last ~5 years since I began using Gulp… especially once learning how to rig them with hooks that expand their life as well as learning how to properly care for them.
And the fact that they can be chopped up into small pieces to use for catching live bait is an added bonus.
So I highly recommend giving Gulp Jerk Shads a shot if you’re looking for a new lure to use when fishing shallow water.
P.S. – Be sure to check out our Inshore Fishing Manifesto to discover the three breakthroughs that allowed me to go from hoping to catch at least one snook, redfish, or trout per trip to consistently catching slams… it’s being offered free of charge to Salt Strong visitors – CLICK HERE.
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