Is Gulp bait bad for fish? 8 things you need to know!

Is Gulp bait bad for fish?

Have you ever tried out plastic bait like Gulp before? 

It can be a fantastic bait for catching more fish – the life-like wobble and the scents typical of plastic lures and baits make them sometimes irresistible to fish. 

But they are made of plastic, is that ok? 

If you’ve ever wondered whether using plastic baits like Gulp! is bad for fish then this article will help answer that, as well as cover some great tips for making the most of your plastic baits.

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Is Gulp bait bad for fish? Does Gulp kill fish?

There is little evidence to suggest that Gulp bait is bad for fish. Despite being used by many anglers across the US, there has been little to no documented impact of Gulp plastic baits harming fish.

Gulp bait plastics are mainly made up of a polymer that is water-based. Meaning the majority of the bait material itself is just water. This polymer also does not react with anything, so there is no risk of a chemical reaction on the water.

Gulp also uses flavors and preservatives sourced from organic ingredients, that are found in the natural world. The preservatives used are similar to what we would find in our food! 

Gulp has also apparently done significant lab testing of their baits on fish to understand the impact of plastic baits on fish wellbeing. 

Here is a quote from researchers at Berkely, the brand that produces Gulp! bait explaining their research:

“…none of the fish we have ever fed Gulp in the laboratory – despite receiving quantities much higher than they would ever get in the field – have ever exhibited signs of toxicity or any symptoms of physiological/behavioral disturbance (swollen abdomens, intestinal blockage, loss of equilibrium, higher breathing rates, erratic behavior, cessation of feeding, etc.) To date, we have never lost a single fish due to Gulp consumption.”

Do Gulp baits biodegrade?

Berkely bait claims that Gulp baits are ’almost entirely biodegradable’ because they are made from biological matter, and the plastic is a water polymer base. 

However, the definition for ‘biodegradable’ is not consistently agreed upon globally.

As the bait gets older it starts to break down, losing its color and shape. 

If you’re looking for a more environmentally-friendly plastic bait then Gulp is probably the better option over other plastics. Although I’m sure there are probably other more environmentally sound baits out there than plastic lures.

Is Gulp a good bait?

I use Gulp baits regularly and have friends who do too. 

It’s a reliable bait that can withstand a lot of wear and tear and drag through the water. 

It’s a very convenient, mess-free alternative to live bait or real dead baits that can get pretty stinky. 

But are the baits good at catching fish? 

The baits use a particular scent technology that ‘leaks’ out of the bait itself, supposedly attracting fish towards it. 

Berkley Gulp baits blend the scent into the material itself, so when it’s in the water, the fish-attracting scent pours out of it. 

The brand claims there is ‘400 times the scent dispersion’ compared to competitor baits producing similar technologies. 

According to Berkley this broadens the strike zone and increases the likelihood you’ll get a strike on your bait. 

Fish have an incredibly powerful sense of smell, far superior even to dogs. 

Gulp baits take advantage of this by almost overloading the fish’s sense of smell to make them strike when they encounter the scent. Berkley calls this olfactory overload. 

Now, I’ve fished with Gulp baits many times before and still not caught. 

So despite the big claims on the packaging, it’s not a miracle solution to drawing blanks each session. 

You still have to be a good angler and try to locate where the fish might be. 

Then, by dropping your bait within smelling and striking distance of the fish, you’ll stand a better chance of a bite or two. 

So, be warned. You can’t just buy a load of Gulp baits and sling them off a rock anywhere into the water. 

Gulp has designed specific baits for specific fish species, and you’ll need to select the right bait for where you are fishing. And then try and find some fishy-looking spots to target. 

Which is better, Gulp or Powerbait?

Powerbait comes in many more sizes, colors, and specie-shape action varieties. It also has more transparent colors, which works really well in clear water. 

Gulp has 400 times more scent dispersion than Powerbait though. 

Powerbait tends to be best in very clear water, where it’ll blend in better with the environment. 

Whereas Gulp bait outperforms in murkier water, where the scent will draw in the fish to strike. 

When visibility is lower, this is where the scent really comes into play to attract the fish closer. 

Are artificial or plastic baits bad for fish?

Are artificial or plastic baits bad for fish

Some artificial baits are potentially harmful to fish. Studies have suggested that when ingested, the plastics can swell and cause obstruction or damage to the fish’s digestive system.

And plastic baits made with phthalates, which is a chemical that gives greater durability to plastic material, is also said to potentially have harmful or unwanted effects on fish.

Can fish digest plastic baits? The results are fascinating!

In an experiment at Berkley baits, multiple fish were tested by consuming different Gulp baits to see if they could digest the baits, or would regurgitate them, or even stay in their system. 

What they found was surprising. 

With little pieces of the plastic bait, the fish were able to pass this through their digestive system and get rid of the bait at the other end! Apparently, this takes around 1-2 weeks to happen, as the bait makes its way through the body of the fish. 

Researchers also found that with bigger chunks of the plastic baits, fish often threw them back up out of their mouths. They were unable to digest them so they simply chucked them back up and into the water. 

Here is a great quote about one particularly large piece of bait being eaten by a bass! 

“In one instance, a bass inadvertently took a soft bait attached to a whole bass jig (thankfully with the hook bent over). The bass safely regurgitated the bait – complete with the jig – about 3 weeks later.”

Is Berkley Gulp toxic?

Researchers at Berkeley bait state that Gulp bait is not toxic to fish or humans because of the natural ingredients used and the water-based polymer that makes up the plastic element of the bait. 

Nothing Berkely use for their baits cannot be found in the natural world around us. 

Berkeley’s own experiments too have found that no fish has ever died from consuming Gulp bait.

Can you use Gulp in freshwater?

Gulp baits can work in both fresh water and saltwater. For example, the Paddleshad model is designed to mimic small baitfish with its action and can be used across the different fresh and salt environments for fishing. 

Even if you have been using a specific type of Gulp bait in saltwater, you can most likely use it in freshwater too. Just check the packaging or the website and search for the model you are using.

Among anglers on fishing forums, there seems to be a high degree of crossover and success in using freshwater baits in saltwater, and saltwater baits in freshwater.  

Looking for a new beginner rod and reel set up? Click here for our useful guide.

Is Gulp bait bad for fish? Summary.

While plastic baits, in general, aren’t the most environmentally-friendly baits, Gulp! is probably the better of the bad bunch. The brand has put a lot of research and care into their development of a sound product that has as small an impact on fish and the environment as possible. 

Of course, to answer the question of whether Gulp baits are bad for fish is to say it depends on a number of factors. 

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