Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Some questions, answers and observations about needlefish lures for bass fishing, from my Facebook page

I find it fascinating how the traffic to this blog spiked the other day when I put that guest blog post from Keith White up about using whole needlefish lures for bass thing. I referenced that blog post on my Facebook page and asked people to fire away with observations and questions to Keith - with my stated intention being to then copy and paste the good stuff into a blog post here. If you have any interest in trying these sandeel style lures out for bass fishing then the words below make for some fascinating reading, and again it’s my sincere thanks to Keith for getting involved with this. More to come I assure you……………..

The 1oz Super Strike Super N Fish needlefish lure

The 1oz Super Strike Super N Fish needlefish lure

“Excellent read Keith. A whole new method has opened up for me, though my success has been almost instant, I don't think for a minute that I've nailed the stick method......Yes, I knew that big bass were very likely to be present, but after an hour of 'normal' lure fishing, no way was it luck that the needlefish nailed two cracking bass within 10 min of clipping them on, something clicked into place last week!.....what I'm looking forward to is the trial and error of learning, and the desire to 'crack' the stick fishing method. I've not been this keen about my lure fishing since nailing my first ever bass off the top!........ Specimen hunting with sticks....... Got two 30g needles arriving today.....They'll be out swimming tonight.....”

Me: You might like to know that the “two cracking bass” mentioned above weighed 9lb 8oz and then 12lb 13oz - and yes, you read that right. The guy knows his onions backwards when it comes to bass fishing, but even so, that is some frigging amazing result for the first time trying a needlefish lure out. I would hazard a guess that the guy’s now obsessing about needlefish!

“Brilliant read, fair play to Keith and Henry for putting it out there.... Lads will be chomping at the bit to get out with them. Excellent read...check out the jack fin stylo 210. Amazing lure with a lot of strikes here in the Mediterranean. Brilliant....more money on lures when I said no more......Great read Keith White.”

Keith White: “As I keep saying, specifics and the 'right needle' / technique can mean hammering em, or blanking. It's one of those lures you have to 'use', almost to exclusion to begin to master them.”

“The bit in the article that really stood out for me is the presentation works for all 3 of the bass behaviour groups you wrote about. I know that there is a lot more to needle lures but definitely food for thought and I will certainly be taking that advice on choosing lures for future sessions.”

Keith White: “Good man, well spotted. You see people don't often realise, bass have states of activity. However, it REALLY matters to know when and where bass are likely to be in a given 'state'. People also don't realise, in some places, and trust me, it's more common than is realised, bass can be like 'rabbits' and actually go 'subterranean' . These are resting fish, but become 'staging semi active fish' whilst still 'underwater AND underground'. Happens here too but granite isn't the best rock structure so they can stage and rest in various weeds. An active lure will almost 100% spook these bass. However... a passive lure near these fish, especially if you find them changing 'state' can be deadly. Go pop a balloon by someone just waking up, see what happens and then, on another day, waft a english brekkie around and the results will be very different..”

“Great read and thanks for sharing Keith. Going to be given this a go over the next few days.”

Keith White: “I hope you do well. Some have been almost immediately successful, other like myself, had to work at it. My mate took to the method like a duck to water and together, with my brother, we worked out stuff I'd never have done alone. Well, or it would have took years longer.”

“I need to find the right ground to work these on lol. Thanks again Keith.”

Keith White: “ALL ground is suitable as long as the water is deep enough and clean enough so you don't have to wind like a maniac. Over rough or shallow weedy ground, do EXACTLY the same things as I'll hopefully get to describe, just using a weedless plastic.. note I didn't say 'weightless! However, we weight the plastics internally to give similar properties in the water as the hard needles.”

Question: “What sort of depth do you think is deep enough Keith? Most of the marks I fish are sub 6 foot. Also curious on another thing - do you fish them with confidence in coloured water?”

Keith White: “Knee deep is deep enough at night. In coloured water, knee deep is deep enough by day too. Yes, no problem in coloured water retrieved 'slow to steady'. This is where a 'tail weighted' needle might be better, even a floater. You would then choose a couple of 'noses' to create a wake. I haven't gone into this yet but the 'wake' a needle gives off is sometimes very important. The 'profile' is the no1, but the wake can really matter on a retrieved needle. A narrow nose gives a very different wake to a blunt nosed needle for example. Without getting complex, a wider wake, is like a low frequency wake and is more 'omni directional'. In coloured water, Target area's that are weedy and keep the needle 'shallow' as a rule. I hope that helps. In really coloured water, my first choice would be a black, narrow nosed, tail weighted super slow sinker.”

Question: “reading this got me thinking.Maybe the wake and frequency produced by my new favourite lure, the Asturie, accounts for so many takes when other more blunt nose lures like the patch are struggling? Not entirely sure it’s that simple but gets the wheels turning in my head.Probably wrong on this but reading into profile, nose shape etc producing different frequencies is fascinating.”

Keith White: “Very sharp nosed isn't it... Say no more... But, makes you think which TBH, was always the goal. Look around at people's results with the needles. Sure, some have read my stuff, some have asked questions and received answers but I'm not there with them when fishing so it's only by doing what you are 'now doing here' and questioning things, putting things into perspective, taking educated guesses etc and seeing the results, that guys move forward. All part of that learning curve but I actually enjoy the process. btw, I wouldn't baulk at using the Asturie as a 'floating needle' wake style. In fact…”

Question: “Many Thanks Henry & Keith White for making this happen. Can I ask what percentage of your hard needle fishing is done in flow Keith?”

Keith White: “Hmm? Maybe 60%. I mean, Jersey flows, the end but I'm talking about actual current strong enough to swing the lure. I have another golden rule that is "Fish where current is, will be, has been". Always served me well that one.”

Question: “How much of your hard needle fishing is done after dark?”

Keith White: “Most of it. Needles do work in some daylight conditions but, night is a lot better generally.”

Question: “Great read Keith. Just a quick question, is it better to fish these so they create a bit of wake or are they just as effective fished subsurface?”

Keith White: “No easy answer to that. Both works and sometimes on the same fish. In calmer water, I tend to think the wake helps. However, the 'displacement' created by the needle, even being swung is more than enough for bass to locate and destroy it. Most needlefish work is subsurface though in my fishing even if just an inch or two.”