Henry Gilbey
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I am still whacking needlefish out and doing no more than winding them straight back in, and they continue to work just fine…………

Search needlefish on this blog and you will find some guest blog posts about these “straight sticks” from a very kind Keith White who was generous enough to write them for me, and yet again I find it fascinating how this lure fishing thing is so encompassing and there is plenty of room for us all to do things in different ways and so on. Catching fish is obviously what it’s all about, and the right place at the right time is key, but on the lure side of things it continues to amaze me that you can chuck out what are essentially “straight sticks”, and catch bass on them by doing no more than winding them in……………

So you’ve got these wildly unexciting lures that I am turning to mainly because they remind me of a senko - but in a hard form, and the right ones cover a lot more water as well. I had a bass the other night for example which hit my needlefish at a distance I simply can’t reach with a senko or DoLive Stick. When I go out night fishing for bass I do tend to stick on a white senko or a white DoLive Stick first off if the conditions allow, and with that I will mostly do no more than whack it out and wind it in as well - slower with the DoLive, and faster with the senko. I know that many of us here are drawn to nice shiny lures that do so much wiggling and wobbling in or indeed on top of the water, but the more and more that night lure fishing for bass becomes as natural to me as any other way I might target them, the more I am convinced that less is so often more with these magnificent fish - and that we too often thrust our own need to feel our lures doing something on them.

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And there can’t be much less action on a lure than when you’re winding a straight stick back in at whatever speed you choose to do so. Most needlefish seem to be made of wood, but I also have a few made from what I think is ABS plastic, and they work just fine for me. Some of you here I am sure have had some needlefish made by a lad in Plymouth called Hendrik Strydom, and what he does with bits of wood is seriously quite something (contact him via Facebook) - but a needlefish itself still tends to be a straight sort of stick that deliberately doesn’t do a whole heap in the water.

Perhaps it’s the fact that I haven’t been lure fishing for bass since before I was born and therefore I simply can’t be a grizzled old expert who has seen it all before, but even in the pitch black when I clip on a needlefish and whack it out and then do nothing more than wind it straight back, I sometimes find myself almost having a look around to see if anybody is tut-tutting at my singular lack of skill with these simple lures - yet they continue to work for me.

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Now if there are two things I despise in lure fishing for bass it’s barbs followed by treble hooks. I have tried and tried with single hooks on sub-surface lures but I have gone back to barbless trebles - to be blogged about in due course - so my needlefish are, I am sad to say, rigged with a couple of treble hooks. I seriously cannot stand treble hooks at night especially, and I am far happier when the fish are jumping on my single weedless hooks that sit in senkos and DoLives and so on, but for whatever reasons I will probably never know, on some nights I find that bass want needlefish and not senkos. This has happened a fair bit this year already for example. So as much as I don’t like treble hooks, I go fishing to try and catch fish, and annoyingly I feel that my hookup rate on a needlefish rigged with a pair of barbless trebles is much better than on one rigged with barbless singles. It’s uncanny how many times a bass comes in on a needlefish and it’s hooked lightly on the rear treble.

Anyway, so there you go - I am still doing no more with the various needlefish I carry other than whacking them out and winding them in. I vary my speeds of course, but I still don’t subscribe to the one turn of the reel every hour or so when night fishing. I do prefer needlefish when there’s a bit of chop on the water at night because to me they are staying more stable and true than a senko, but at the end of the day the bulk of my night fishing for bass still revolves around casting out incredibly simple lures and winding them straight back in, with my main work as such revolving around trying to be in the right places at the right times. Boring though? Not a bloody chance. That hit off a bass when you have taken away the sense of sight is unique, and I love it. The various needlefish I use are listed on my website here if that is any help. I am also hoping that some particularly well (home)made and very effective needlefish I have been fishing with might become available to buy sometime in the nearish future. I will keep you posted.

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