Needlefish are one of the most touted lures in the striped bass fishing community. Like all plugs, they can be had in a variety of sizes and configurations. The biggest challenge for most is something quite basic----Confidence. Most guys quit too early. Unlike other plugs that provide some type of feedback---whether it being a wobble, thump or some type of sensation, the needlefish is like reeling in a twig. The angler senses nothing, they lose focus, get bored and eventually put it away.
Knowledge and application is everything when it comes to gaining confidence with this lure. You have to know when to use it, and what to expect in terms of sensory feedback. I like to fish the needle primarily at night in moderate to calm conditions. I’ll literally crawl this lure on the bottom and feel it rise and fall on its own with the current. At times I’ll lift the rod and add a slight twitch. Sometimes these slight changes in retrieve can be enough to induce a bite. Visualization and maintaining focus play a significant role when using this plug. You need to see in your mind the movements of this lure as you retrieve in current. It takes tons of practice to get it right.
After the plug lands let it sink close to the bottom. You can start with a slight twitch before beginning your retrieve. Focus on the plug rising and falling. By default most needlefish will rise upon retrieve then sink slowly. Most the hits I’ve gotten have been when the plug bobs with the current. When stripers see this thing after seeing nothing but swimmers, they go absolutely bonkers trying to destroy this thing.
Tips for Fishing Needlefish
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