Today’s inshore anglers have a big advantage over the fishermen in the past due the wide availability of scented synthetic baits, whose realism and smell has made artificial lures so life-like fish actually will hit them more aggressively than the real thing.
The leader in this rapidly growing market for anglers is the Berkley company out of Iowa. Berkley Gulp baits are the number one lures for prime inshore saltwater fish like speckled trout, redfish, flounder, and bluefish. They also work on a lot of other aggressive inshore species such as snook, Spanish mackerel, striped bass and big pompano.
Gulp lures come in a lot of shapes, colors, and sizes, and their main attraction is their scent which at times allows them to out-fish even wriggling live bait. The Gulp soft baits (which actually contain no plastic) disperse scent as soon as they hit the water attracting fish and causing them hang onto the lure for the extra few seconds needed to set the hook.
Among the most powerful inshore soft baits is the Berkley Gulp Saltwater Shrimp. All of these predator species love to eat shrimp, and the Gulp shrimp is so life-like it will actually out-fish real live shrimp at times.
The Berkley Gulp Saltwater Shrimp lure can be fished with a jig head or just as it is on a plain hook and a fishfinder rig. The saltwater shrimp is terrific for targeting speckled trout, weakfish, flounder, redfish, striped bass, and many other inshore species.
You can fish them in many different ways, but here are two simple methods that will catch most inshore saltwater fish.
Rig the Gulp bait about 3 feet (you can vary this according to depth) under a popping cork. You can just use a saltwater hook with no weight to make the lure fall slowly. The key here is not to ‘pop’ the cork too much. Just give it a good ‘pop’ every twenty seconds or so and no more. That will give predators a chance to notice the Gulp bait and get attracted to the scent.
Another method of rigging is to tie a swivel on the line from your rod. Then run a sturdy leader of about 14 inches of monofilament or fluorocarbon line and tie on the Gulp bait at the end. I like to use 25 lb test mono on my leaders though many guides and pros prefer the flourocarbon and braids.
Rig your Berkley Gulp Saltwater Shrimp on a red, black or yellow jighead. You can use jigheads sizes ¼ ounce, 3/8 ounce, or 1/8 ounce depending on the strength of the current where the fish are holding.
Cast out and let the Berkley Gulp! Saltwater Shrimp settle on the bottom. Then give it a quick hop by raising the rod tip quickly so that the Gulp shrimp imitates a live shrimp jumping around in the water. Reel up the slack and let the lure settle back. You can make one hop at a time or use a couple of quick hops in succession.
These hops and jumps will especially attract speckled trout and flounder. You use a longer hop for trout and just a slow nudge for flounder.
The Berkley Gulp Saltwater Shrimp will catch gamefish even when other lures and live baits aren’t working. I always carry them with me when I go after speckled trout, redfish or flounder and it’s rare that other baits outfish the Gulp brand.
For more inshore fishing tips and tactics check out my blog A Dash of Salty and my new book Surf and Saltwater Fishing in the Carolinas