Berkley Gilly

Berkley Introduces New Ultra-Realistic Soft Swimbait "The Gilly"

The Berkley Gilly may be the most realistic lure we have ever seen.

Ever since the dawn of time, humans have been trying to invent the better fishing lure. Berkley may have just come up with one of the best designs ever in the "Gilly," a new soft swimbait that moves like no lure we have ever seen prior. We were recently given a sneak peek at this new lure during a tour of Berkley and Pure Fishing's Spirit Lake, Iowa facilities and we came away thoroughly impressed.

Designed in conjunction with pro basser Mike Iaconelli, the Gilly draws heavily on influences for baits coming out of Japan. It took a long development cycle, but this swimbait offers a bevy of rigging options and sizes for all anglers.

With a set launch date of September, here is everything you need to know about what is almost certain to become the hottest new bait of 2021.

The Gilly's development.

For this bait, Berkley worked with professional bass angler Mike Iaconelli. Love him or hate him, there is no denying Iaconelli knows how to catch fish. The 2003 Bassmaster Classic Champion is a huge fan of the fishing innovations coming out of Japan, and there was some influence taken from some of the new bass lure designs being cooked up over there.

The big thing in swimbait designs in recent years has been mostly in segmented baits to give a realistic swimming action. The Gilly stands out from the crowd since it has scale-shaped ribs in the tail section instead. It looks a little strange on a first glance. However, Berkley showed us this bait in action in a test pool and the resemblance to a real baitfish's movements is uncanny.

In the test, the Gilly was rigged weightless with a hook sideways through the body. Amazingly, the Gilly swims completely upright like a real baitfish when retrieved like this. A slight twitch of the rod tip or a slow of the retrieve causes the Gilly to roll over and sink sideways just like a dying bluegill or shiner.

Multiple Rigging Options.

Berkley Gilly

Travis Smola

One of the more interesting things about this new bait is just the plethora of ways to rig it. In addition to a side-rigged weightless setup, Berkley also showed us this lure on a jighead. They also say it can be rigged up with a weighted swimbait hook, Texas-style, weedless, and with a stinger hook. Berkley says it can even be effectively fished on a drop shot rig. That is more versatility than many other swimbaits can offer.

Made with Powerbait, size and color options.

The bait looks great in testing, but Berkley decided to up the ante a little by making the Gilly out of their signature Powerbait formula. This means the fish should hold onto it a little longer on the strike, giving more chances to set the hook. It is a perfect combination of action, smell, and taste.

At launch, the Gilly will be available in 12 colors. Some of these are injected colors like green pumpkin and black blue fleck. The ones we are most excited about are the HD baitfish pattern designs. Berkley is introducing six of them in bluegill, crappie, warmouth, yellow perch, sunfish, and pumpkinseed patterns to perfectly match the hatch of where you are fishing. Berkley's Project Manager of Baits, Kyle Peterson told me it was a special challenge to get the design to print on the Gilly's soft pliable ribs, but the effort seems to be worth it. The bluegill design made me do a double take when the bait was in the water.

Berkley Gilly

Travis Smola (Prototype Lures Shown)

The Gilly will officially be available in September, but fishermen and women can get their first glimpse of this lure during ICAST 2021. Right now, the plan is to offer three lengths, 90mm, 110mm, and 130mm. Final pricing is still being evaluated, but Berkley is estimating between $6.49 and $7.49 each for four to two Gillys per pack, depending on size.

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