Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Guest blog post - Keith White - Learning to sew, part 4 of a needlefish series

Thanks again to Keith for these guest blog posts, wow has this stuff got me thinking about things for 2017! I am off to France later today to spend some time with the Fiiish people so I’m not sure if I will be able to get any more blog posts up this week. Take it away Keith……..

“Following on from the last part ... Open your minds young padawans.

If you are going to make your own or get a custom builder to make you some, please consider all the facts laid out beforehand in this article. Don’t just guess, think about it and then, choose the BEST POSSIBLE MATCH.

It might be, slow sinking, 6”, tail weighted, 1.25oz, white. It might be you need 2 or 3 types to start and you might indeed, not know at all. In the latter case, a slow sink 6” green needle, centre weighted cannot fail to catch if fished correctly. Buy or make 3. One to use, one to lose and one to start your friend off. The more of you actually fishing these styles and comparing data, catches etc the more you will learn about what you need, when, where and how they should behave. It’s not rocket science.

When I go to sinking styles, like DEEP runs and gullies I might want a needlefish but I’ll probably run a bucktail through first. I’ll match the length by simply adding a trailer of pork or similar. Much cheaper and yet, just as effective, fished in many ways much like a needlefish and yet, also not so much in that they SINK and, no matter how much you read the quote...“Float the bucktail through the run”, bucktails, ‘lead cast’ bucktails do NOT ******* float... LOL

What was meant by that statement that still persists in books and on the internet is the balance between the weight, the sink rate, the retrieve speed of the reel , elevation of the rods tip and the waters depth and speed. In a side sweep, you can, with practice, just retrieve at a steady pace and just about maintain a depth for some period as it does so. The same is true of a straight retrieve to some degree.

The thing to start taking from all of this is, many of these swing, drift, and trot styles are LINKED. What is learned in one, is often applicable in another. Sometimes not but generally yes, it’s true.

This being in unison with the water medium isn’t by itself, any better, or worse than simply casting at retrieving a lure on standard tackle in the standard way. Well, by itself it isn’t. Where it really starts to pay off is around marks where water conditions affect the way bait holds and swims and of course, at night, bait behaves in a much more benign way.

Bass know both what these baitfish look like and, how they behave in such water. What would happen in you saw a car driving the wrong way up the motorway? Is that normal? No, it would likely distress you or damn well should anyway…

So why then, can’t we try to ensure our lures blend in that bit better? Of course we can by trying to present such lures in the ways we have already described above.

On a more, just in touch swing, or a true drift, a properly designed needlefish, or rigged senko etc will align MUCH faster with the right ‘line control’. You will get all the little swings and nuanced side to side movements and a more stable drift depth wise too because as we discussed previously, an over tight line creates DRAG!

Now take this idea and apply it.

Wave faces travel UP, longshore drifts are more lateral. Rip heads often cycle and have both outgoing conduits and incoming ones either side. Yet the vast majority of people casting into surf cast straight out, and retrieve straight back in ?

White water from swell sucks and surges, lapping the shoreline and creating all sorts of complex currents below. Things sink faster in white water too remember as it’s full of air. Yet people seem insistent on fighting nature with their lures."