It looked like a nightcrawler. It felt like a nightcrawler. It even smelled like a nightcrawler.
As soon as the fish pulled a small red and yellow bobber below the surface, he was hooked, and became another example of how modern technology combines chemicals, scents and colors into lifelike artificial baits to trick fish into thinking they are the real thing.
Soft plastic scented lures are nothing new. But soft plastic had nothing to do with what tricked 48 sunfish during a three-hour fishing trip by an angler on a West Texas creek last week.
The baits those sunfish had gone after were made of biodegradable, natural compounds -- not plastic.
Researchers at Berkley, where the new series of lures called Gulp! is made, will only say it is not made of any one ingredient.
The different varieties of Gulp! baits, all of which feel lifelike, are made up of many natural ingredients then shaped into nightcrawlers, earthworms, maggots, grubs and even corn, with individual scents and chemicals.
Berkley researchers say that because the lures are water-soluble and completely biode-gradable, their chemicals are released 400 times faster than scents on soft-plastic lures. But even at that high release rate, the Gulp! lures remain durable.
Gulp! lures have only been in stores for about 60 days, so the jury still is out on whether they will out-catch live bait and soft plastics. But they already have some anglers hooked.