Inshore: The Artificial Angle - The Fisherman

Inshore: The Artificial Angle

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Fishbites and Berkley Gulp Saltwater products have been the leaders in giving saltwater anglers enhanced bait options without refrigeration.

Many anglers who baitfish think that artificial baits actually outperform natural baits.

Old-time saltwater anglers like me sometimes have difficulty adapting to new ideas. Lures today are undoubtedly much better and more numerous than they were years ago. Similarly, I recognize that bait fishing has undergone a remarkable upgrade – whether by beach, bay, river bank, or boat. Manmade baits have become more commonplace, often replacing natural baits like clams, sand fleas, crabs, shrimp, squid, or worms and sometimes just supplementing those baits.

Fishbites are synthetic baits embedded with a concentrated formula that acts as a natural feeding stimulant for fish, replicating the natural chemicals fish use to detect and track prey. The natural fish stuff is concentrated inside each bait, which looks like compressed bubble gum cut into strips or wedges. Fishbites come in two formulas: fast-acting and longer-lasting. The Fast-Acting version is made with a special fiber-infused gel that emits maximum scent. These baits provide an instant surge of scent in water above 75 degrees; dissolve faster in all water temperatures; have no mesh, so they melt completely away; and work exceptionally well in water below 65 degrees.

The Longer Lasting formula offers extra durability when fishing bait rigs for extended periods. A cloth binder in the middle of the bait keeps it on the hook despite the effects of sand abrasion or swift currents and the efforts of annoying bait-stealers. While this variety is designed to work in all water temperatures, it is best to use in water temperatures above 65 degrees.

Fishbites are most often used when passively fishing a bait rig. Match your Fishbites selection size and hook to your targeted species. For bigger fish like striped bass, use bigger-size Fishbites on a larger hook. Thread the piece on the hook twice so it stays in place. Attach a smaller piece to a size-appropriate hook just once for smaller fish like porgies or blowfish. You can use Fishbites together with natural baits like clams. For example, after threading your hook with natural clam, attach a small piece of Fishbites Clam to the rig hook. This not only puts out a stronger scent trail but also helps to keep the natural clam on your hook when cast and set in place.

Most Fishbites presentations will be passive: bait rigs are cast out and left in place until a fish inhales it. However, some Fishbites work well when fished actively to sight-feeders and those predators attracted to movement. For example, use an EZ Bait Fast Acting Shrimp flutter strip cut to length in the flesh or fluorescent color on a fluke rig baited with a live minnow, or use it as an enhancement to spice up a bucktail. The flutter action and active scent make for a powerful combination in your presentation package.

Fishbites are extremely durable, long-lasting, and versatile; they stay on hooks even during the longest casts while currents and abrasive sand buffet them underwater. They stand up to sharp teeth from bait-stealers or your targeted species.

Berkley’s Gulp Saltwater artificial bait collection is impressive. The core of their attraction comes from scents based on the chemical makeup of various forage marine creatures that fish like to eat. The scent juice is integrated into the formula for the bait plastics. The bait morsels and soft-plastic bodies come packaged soaking in the scent juice; they are available in various sizes and colors; the juice scent is stinky, potent, and horrible, but not to game fish.

Most of the Gulp synthetic baits like Sandworms, Sand Flea Crab, Bloodworms, Peeler Crabs, and Shrimp perform great on standard bait rigs. They look and smell like their natural counterparts; they should be fished like real baits, and even together with real baits. Their scent can be refreshed with the juice in their original containers or with Berkley’s Alive Saltwater Scent squirt. Some artificial baits like Shrimp and Surf Bytes Strips can be fished actively alone or as a strip bait enhancement. Their extensive baitfish collection includes the Swimming Mullet, Paddleshads, and Jerk Shads perform best when worked actively.

A bonus to Berkley’s artificial bait collection is that Gulp Alive Saltwater Scents can be used to spice up or simply refresh Gulp baits with renewed scent powers. Boat anglers will find Gulp Saltwater Chum nice to have onboard when they encounter unexpected chumming opportunities or simply to enhance the natural chum they normally use.

Gulp Saltwater baits and Fishbites do not need to be refrigerated or kept alive, so they can always be with you somewhere in your gear. They should be kept in a cool, dry place sealed in their original package when unused. You can use them on your bait rigs alone or add them to real bait on your rigs. The scent factor will make a difference.

Will you like using Berkley Gulp Saltwater baits and Fishbites? The fish seem to like them very much — many anglers who baitfish think that artificial baits actually outperform natural baits. You decide.

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