– Michael Guest

There are three facets to the way a fish approaches a lure; one is the visual presentation of the lure, two is the way the fish detects prey with its lateral line and the third and sometimes the most important is their use of smell. Whilst fish can at times have a mind of their own, if you can get all three working in tandem, then you are every chance of a bite.

Gulp! was, and still is, the ground-breaking soft bait lure, as it’s scent dispersion has proven itself not only to recreational anglers, but also to tournament competitors across the world. I was very excited to hear about the development of Gulp! Gel, as it meant being able to apply the same scent attractant to a whole new range of lures.

While scent can be used in a range of fishing applications, casting soft vibes is a great example of where it can be really effective. In starting with the tackle here, if I’m chasing big flathead or school mulloway in my local estuary, I’m using a 7ft 3-5kg rod paired with a 3000 reel, 10lb braid and 15lb leader. As for the vibes, 100mm Berkley Shimma Fork or the Shimma Shad in natural colours are my lures of choice, especially in clear water like we get in Lake Macquarie, NSW. Over the years I have found that the Shimma Fork works especially well dropped vertically on a bait school under the boat, but both tail patterns are great for long wind assisted casts in an active bait school sitting in about 8-10m.

Some key points to remember when working a soft vibe is that you have to feel the action through the rod tip. So, if your rod action is too slow, you won’t generate enough power to get the lure to vibrate, yet if you work the rod to quickly, you’ll tend to blow the lure out of its action. A great tip to keep in mind before casting is to test the lure beside the boat first, and find out what rod action will give your lure the best swimming action on that day.

Always remember, once you start casting and your lure hits the water, you are fishing. What this means, is that even when your lure is sinking through the water column, even if you’re not imparting action to it, you need to be ready to strike. So, keep an eye on the line, have tension on your lure, and be ready to strike, especially when Gulp! Gel is in play.

As anglers, the issue we have is that fish don’t always play the game, even when the conditions are ‘perfect’. What we can do, however, is make sure we have the best chance possible, which for me, means applying Gulp! Gel every 10-12 casts and making sure there is always a light smear on the sides and bottom of the lure. Not only will this mask all human odours that we encounter when fishing (chips, petrol, sunscreen), but it will increase your ‘bite window’ by additional seconds to make sure you can set the hooks.

What makes a classic soft bait shape? And why is a jighead the goto rigging style for so many people? Adam Royter explains.Find out why Russ Babekuhl uses and recommends Gulp! Gel