Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

I’d like some needlefish type lures around the size of a 6’’ senko, perhaps a little heavier - what are my options here in the UK?

You need to bear in mind here that my experience and knowledge of using needlefish style hard lures for our bass fishing is at best limited, indeed to learn loads more I would urge you to read Keith White’s recent guest blog posts on here. I know that these simple lures tend to come from the US striped bass world, and for the most part the ones I keep seeing photos of on social media etc. are fairly large. Obviously big lures catch bass, but with how well the 5’’ long Wave Fishing Bamboo Stick does for us at night especially, I’d love to be able to track down some similar sized hard versions.

Do I need bigger needlefish? Well I don’t feel like I do at the moment, and in an ideal world I don’t want to be forced to use a more powerful lure rod just because I want to clip a heavier needlefish on. If a 5’’ or 6’’ senko nails bass for me, including my longest measured bass from the shore on the white 5’’ Bamboo Stick, then to be honest I feel just fine fishing with lures around this size. Recently we have been catching a few bass at night on the white senkos, but also getting a bunch of hits that haven’t resulted in hookups, and as much as I don’t like treble hooks a great deal, I clipped on a senko sized (hard) white, incredibly basic looking needlefish I picked up many moons ago over in the US (5.5’’, 16g, why oh why didn’t I buy a stack of them?) - it’s got a couple of size 4 trebles on it, and straight away I began converting more of those bangs into hooked fish.

So a part of me simply wants to be able to clip on a hard senko as such, with the added weight of the lure giving me what I hope is a little more control in a crosswind especially, plus added stability, casting distance of course, and hopefully increased hooking power when the bass for whatever reason aren’t fully committing to the senkos like they often do. Basically I’d like a senko sort of size needlefish to fish them as we tend to fish a senko at night - whack it out and wind it in, as per the video above. Seriously, for all that there is to lure fishing, doing no more than this can be frigging deadly - right place, right time of course, and accepting that I have a world of learning to be done on using needlefish.

So what are my options? Well there aren’t many here in the UK, at least not that I can find. You’ve got Jim’s Lures here in the UK, a guy who I haven’t met but have corresponded with a bit, and from what I can gather he makes an array of different lures - including some senko sized needlefish which I think are pretty damn impressive. You can find a bunch of Jim’s needlefish right here, and it’s these sizes and weights which I have tried and liked - Jim was kind enough to send me a couple to try recently, but I must admit that a larger version didn’t do it for me very much. It looked nice in the water but cast like a bit of a dog, so for the time being I will stick with those weights and lengths here. Jim hasn’t got a website, but you can connect with him on Facebook - search for Jim’s Lures. The lures don’t come rigged and they are not on the cheap side, but these are specialist bits of kit that have been made specifically for our market.

Super Strike is a highly respected lure brand amongst striper anglers over in the US, and from time to time the excellent Mr. Fish Jersey tackle shop has the smaller 140mm/28g models in stock - keep an eye on this page here. I have got a couple of these in white and I am starting to really like them, but for our bass fishing you might want to bin the heavy duty hooks and replace them with the weight of hooks we might use. Be careful as well with how these particular needlefish swim - I lost one the other night to a rock because I assume I was reeling it in that bit too slowly for the shallow, rocky ground we were fishing over. I think I might have cursed, but only the once?

And of course you have the custom built route, and for that you need to connect with Hendrik Strydom on Facebook. This guy is a lure making genius, plain and simple, and whilst I know he is getting busier and busier with his custom lure building, I also know that he is always willing to talk with anglers about creating lures for them. I bought a couple of needlefish style lures off Hendrik last year and they are works of art which also nail bass! The custom built route is obviously not the cheapest, but Hendrik’s lures are worth every single penny.

So there you have it. I know exactly what I want, but getting it off the shelf here in the UK ain’t exactly easy. Sure, needlefish are hardly the most exciting looking lures in the water, but the fact is that these straight stick style hard and indeed soft lures do serious harm at night especially. I am at less than day one with my needlefish experience, but as I said earlier, on this blog post I am simply coming from the angle of wanting a hard version of a senko. Please, please leave me details in the comments section below if you know of anywhere in the UK that is selling lures like this. Thank you.

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