Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Caught my first bass on a needlefish lure the other day, fishing it the same as I would a senko

The subject of sandeel profile lures that do little in the water when you wind them in are increasingly of interest to me these days (have a look here and here), but from my limited understanding of this family of lures so far, it seems that they tend to work best at night. I had one day’s fishing on the south coast of Ireland the other day when I flew back from holiday and picked up my car, and Steve, Carl and I started off in the morning at a stunning Copper Coast mark on the ebb tide - it’s very shallow, broken ground, beset with perfect killing channels for the bass, and because of the lack of depth you can’t go fishing anything that swims very deep at all………..

Anyway, quite aside from what I caught my first couple of bass on that particular morning, I could not help but notice how Carl landed I think three bass in a row on a white senko, doing nothing more than whacking it out and winding it back in like we do at night - only this was morning and you’d class it very much as daylight albeit there was some heavy cloud cover. The night before the lads had caught a few fish on the white senkos and I think Carl thought why not give them a go in the morning as well. It’s an obvious sort of lure to turn to in murkier water, but bear in mind the water in front of us that morning was about as clear as you get.

So the water’s stripping out fairly quickly and I want to try and get a lure a bit further out to cover some ground that I know is out there from previous experience of this mark. I went to Martha’s Vineyard in the US about five years ago now, and just before we left we dropped into a really good tackle shop - the guy in there persuaded me to buy some small needlefish lures and try them on our bass, but to be perfectly honest the three I think I bought have been sitting on a shelf ever since. Why? Because up until recently I simply haven’t had the confidence to use such a boring looking lure that does squat in the water, but things of course have changed for me with straight-retrieving a senko and doing so well with it. I had sprayed one of these small US needlefish lures white a while back, and it happened to be in my lure box that particular morning.

Bear in mind that I could most likely have got a regular white senko out to where I wanted my lure to be, but this little “hard senko” for want of a better lure name casts pretty damn well, further than a 5’’ Bamboo Stick in fact, and with a couple of bass under my belt and a very good angler catching fish on a white senko, in clear water, in the day, and not far from me, well now was the time to give it a go. On goes the “hard senko”, I blast it out, get my rod tip up a bit and start a simple but slower than I would wind a white senko at night straight retrieve. Yes, you’ve guessed it, a bass goes and jumps on the end of it almost immediately. I think I might have yelped with excitement!

Via my experience below, I think the trebles that come with the lure (as per above) are too heavy and thick so I have changed them

Via my experience below, I think the trebles that come with the lure (as per above) are too heavy and thick so I have changed them

So what does this prove? Well that one single bass has now given me all the confidence I need to keep on exploring the use of “boring” lures like these senko or indeed needlefish things. I have caught plenty of bass in the day on senkos, so I see no reason why they won’t hit a hard version of that simple soft plastic.  I am not about to leave my favourite hard lures at home when I go fishing, but I’ll gladly carry a bunch of different options with me. That night I did then chuck one of those heavier Super Strike 1oz, white “Super N Fish” needlefish out in a bit of current and had what felt like a half-decent bass hook up but come off. So much for me to learn, my brain is bouncing and it’s such a blast………..