Largemouth and anglers are gobbling up this new swimbait
When you look at the new Berkley Gilly soft plastic swim bass bait in the package or in the water, it’s hard to imagine anything looking or acting more like a real fish, other than a real fish itself.
The question is, do the bass feel the same way?
“The bait definitely passes the eye test and the fish catching test,” said 40-year-old Louisiana native and Alabama angler Keith Poche. “It’s still new to most fishermen, but this year it’s going to be a bait that a whole lot of fishermen are going to be throwing, especially when they are looking for a big bite.”
The lure isn’t just a chunk of soft plastic, the pro bass angler said. It has a hollow head that allows the bait to float in an upright posture when swimming and also helps with the hook set on crushing strikes. The lure can be rigged vertically without a weight, sideways as a Texas rig or on a jig head. It can also be used with a weighted swimbait hook, a line-through Stinger hook or even on a drop shot setup. The lure is also packed with Berkley’s patented PowerBait flavor. It comes in three sizes, 90mm, 110mm and 130mm.
“Besides the natural look and action that the bait has, that is the biggest thing about it,” Poche said. “It’s so versatile. You can rig it to match just about any type of fishing. And while most swimbaits are only good in shallow water, this one can be used for just about any depth of fish you want. You can fish it weightless around the cypress trees or spawning beds. You can fish it on a jig head in lakes like Toledo Bend on deeper points and grass lines. It is great for staging fish in a situation like that.
“The thing just looks so realistic. It looks just like a real bream. Most swimbaits are more narrow, but the profile of this bait is big. It’s a big bass bait for sure. You can catch all sizes on it, but when you want a big bite, it’s something you want to try. In Louisiana, we’ve got so many cypress trees, that’s a great place to rig it Texas style and just fish it like a floating fluke. Flip it around the trees, in holes in the grass or around brushtops and hang on.”
He also says spawning bass are going to see this bait and immediately feel like it’s a threat when you toss it on the bed. That means they’ll grab it and move it off the bed at first glance. He said fishing it this way, you have to pay close attention and be ready to set the hook quickly.
Which of the 12 colors should you try first?
“That depends on the clarity of the water and the type of baitfish or perch that are predominant in the lake you are fishing,” Poche said. “Let the conditions guide you on which color to pick, or just go with the one that looks good to you first. If the lake has a lot of small bream, the HD Bluegill, Pumpkinseed or Warmouth colors are a good place to start.”
You can also use this lure to cover a lot of water by casting at as many targets as possible when the bite is on. Or if the fish are sluggish, toss it in a good looking spot and leave it a few seconds — triggering a strike from curious or hungry largemouth.
Poche was born and raised in Natchitoches, where he learned to fish on the Cane River and nearby Toledo Bend. He left Louisiana to play football for Troy State University, but after an injury sidelined him, he funneled his competitive nature into fishing. He has won almost $600,000 on the pro tour and placed in the money almost 70 times in BASS and MLF pro tournaments. He is sponsored by Pure Fishing, Fenwick, Gator Trax Boats, American Sport Fishing, Humdinger baits, Frogg Toggs, Garmin and Mercury.
The Gilly lure is available in standard injected colors or special HD Tru Colors that seriously look just like a real fish. The lure was designed by Bassmaster Classic Champion Mike “Ike” Iaconelli. It comes in packs of two to four lures per pack, depending on size, and generally sells for around $8.00 -$9.00 a pack.