| Berkley Gulp! How does it work?|
Global Traveller and Top International Angler Roy Marlow tests out these claims.
When a company like Berkley claims that it has a range of baits to out fish live
baits, it can only mean one thing. It Does!
The story with Gulp! started almost 3 years ago. The
initial prototypes of Gulp! were ready for testing, and as part of the UK Team I was given the task to try it.
The place to test was Key West; at times more fish than water live in this unique area. I have fished around Key
West for almost 30 years and have caught my share of monsters.
Every year I use this trip as a tackle test show case, trust me if tackle stands up to the two weeks that are
fished it will last you a lifetime.
Back to the Gulp! Waiting for me at Key West was a huge case of Gulp!, Gulp! Shrimps, Gulp! Crabs,
in fact Gulp! everything. Eager to try it, we began testing.
In truth there were some successes and failures but, I could see the potential of this truly unique bait and
was sure that with some UK angler input we could develop a winning formula. Research is everything to
Berkley so full of enthusiasm I sent back my report and more samples were worked on.
One year later, product batch number 24 was waiting at Key West backed by Berkley innovation with
renewed zest I set off again. The guides were all understandably sceptical again and the only angler in
our party who I could persuade to try it was KEITH ARTHUR of TIGHT LINES fame. I won’t bore you with
all the details other than to say Keith and I emptied the sea with it.
The next day everyone was converted and you could not believe how many friends I suddenly had. All of
our party and the Guides wanted my Gulp! It was unbelievable; I had that much Gulp! I loose fed it
by the packetful, the fish were going wild for the stuff. This year our April trip included our caseload of Gulp!
but this time we had Gulp! Crabs and Gulp! Squids all in new colours.
You only have to look at the pictures to see the catch success of Gulp! The question is why? And that’s where
the Scientific approach comes into the story. In simple terms why does it work and how can Berkley make
such bold claims…
The first big claim is the massive scent dispersal over natural baits, thinking about it that is not so difficult.
If you take a Rag worm for example, it does not want to give off loads of scent when its alive, if it did the
predators would very easily find it and eat it. The Gulp equivalent wants to be eaten that's why it emits so
much scent. The same applies to all the prey items. Gulp! is so good I wanted to know more, to learn more
I had to understand how a fish’s brain works. In this case I needed to know how a fish interpreted the sense
of smell and taste.
I quickly realised that all fish do not respond to the same criteria. I soon realised that there is much more
to this than meets the eye.
The first big word is CHEMORECEPTION. This is the word used to describe together these two senses. Some
fish rely on these chemical senses more than through their eyes.
Humans have a comparatively inferior chemoreceptor than fish and consequently we have a pitifully poor
sense of smell. Our nose is better designed for warming and humidifying incoming air than it is for smelling. Our
power of taste, comparatively speaking is much better. A fish‘s brain is complex, in the case of smell and taste
it has to distinguish what is potential food from all of the other water borne chemicals.
Most fish that are swimming in this soup cocktail don’t simply respond to the presence of important
odours, they respond to changes in the odour pattern.
Organs of smell and taste
The scientific term for smell is olfaction. Most boney fish have the nose or OLFACTORY organ which
comprises of four nostrils:two on each side of the head between the eyes and the upper lip. Water enters
the nose through the front nostrils and exits from the back nostrils.
Beneath the front and back nostrils lies the olfactory chamber where the water is chemically sampled. On
the floor of the chamber lies a series of skin folds that together make up the OLFACTORY ROSETTE.
The number of folds in the olfactory rosette increases with the age of the fish. However, it is not
known whether a fish’s sense of smellcorrespondingly grows stronger.
Each fold contains thousands of OLFACTORY RECEPTOR CELLS that specialise in detecting water
borne chemicals. There are two types of receptor cells. CILIATED CELLS and MICROVILLOUS CELLS.
Smell is the only sense that travels directly to the brain without any prior processing. This difference alone
may account for much of the remarkable sensitivity to fish odours. Much of the information processing for
smell takes place in the forebrain.
GUSTATION is the scientific term for taste. In both humans and most fish the sensory unit of gustation is
the taste bud, typically located in the mouth. Unlike in humans, most fish’s taste buds are distributed broadly
throughout the oral cavity.
Converting chemicals to brain signals
Taste and smell differ in some ways, but they share one basic feature; they detect waterborne chemicals.
Many species of fish exhibit sensitivity to all four of the basic taste sensations common to humans (Sweet,
salty, sour, and bitter). A reasonable comparison regarding a bass for example would be to compare its
chemical sensitivity to a dog, but the dog probably perceives a lot more odours.
All species of fish are not the same when it comes to chemical sensitivity, bass are somewhere in the middle
and can taste a dilution of four ounces of the amino acid L-arginine mixed into 60,000 gallons of water.
Research has also shown that some organic compounds can be tasted at one hundredth of the concentration
of this amino acid.
The scientific reasons why fish can detect smells and flavours are now understood. What I have mentioned
is a small part of what makes a fish’s brain tick. We understand how these messages are converted into
feeding aggression; all of this information is essential if you want to make Gulp! work.
The conclusion is that Gulp! does work; it does everything it says on the packet!