JimK

Fishing Needle Fish..NJ

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I'm sure the topic of fishing needles has been covered exhaustively.. but I'm thinking of opportunities in NJ specifically.  I know about their effectiveness in the surf when sand eels are present. 

I've not fished needles extensively, but recently  I've been fishing inside spots where it seems to me a lure with the profile of needle fish might work well.  Does anyone here fish needles in bays/estuaries with decent tidal flows?  If you do, how do you present your offerings?

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21 mins ago, JimK said:

I'm sure the topic of fishing needles has been covered exhaustively.. but I'm thinking of opportunities in NJ specifically.  I know about their effectiveness in the surf when sand eels are present. 

I've not fished needles extensively, but recently  I've been fishing inside spots where it seems to me a lure with the profile of needle fish might work well.  Does anyone here fish needles in bays/estuaries with decent tidal flows?  If you do, how do you present your offerings?

I have fished needles in the back in Atlantic County with some limited success. When my son was younger, he would spend more time catching baitfish than fishing. I was always surprised at how many decent sized needles he would catch in his hand net. We would also see them swimming on the surface sometimes. 
The Bill Wetzel and Skinner YouTube videos on fishing the needlefish are pretty good. I will admit that I am far from an expert, but mess around with it occasionally. 

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Posted (edited)

I'm no expert but I've had some success with the superstrike needlefish. There's a heavy version I use out front that's great for punching it out there in high wind rough surf conditions. Has no action other then what you impart on it. I use a straight retrieve with the occasional rod twitch thrown in there to help me feel better about myself. Not very productive for me but tends to catch the larger fish.  I should try it out back and see what happens and report back.

Edited by adams54

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I fish needles in Jersey a lot, year round. A friend from Connecticut, Bill Delizio, opened my eyes to what a needlefish could be imitated as, such as bunker. A bass staging under a bunker sees a thin profile, hence why imo gliders are so effective as well. They see them from the side, its wide like a bunker, they see it from the bottom, its narrow like a bunker. 
 

Back to the needle. I realized my retrieve generally does not change, which i should look into further, as I have seen videos on people fishing needles differently than i have and have caught fish. What i have realized though, is that I use so many different types of needles depending on depth, wind, current speed, bait present, time of day. 
 

my retrieve is generally keep tension with the line as current moves, with an occasional pump in the rod, not a twitch, but a pump. I differ the two in this way, a twitch is dropping the tip and jerking back, as a pump is a more fluid motion of bringing the rod back while retrieving, keeping tension with the line as you perform it. Hope this helped!

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Love super strike needle  fish from both boats and surf.  Remove trebles and use single

 

I think hits on needle fish are most impressive even when you fail to hook up the lure goes flying

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Maybe favorite lure in the fall. Yellow eye super strike needle. Only fish them at night. I only fish them in the surf. They work when sand eels are around as well as bunker. How I fish them is cast out let it sink to the bottom and reel slow. You wanna just keep tight to the lure. If you think the lure is to high in the water let it sink again. 
 

second way to fish usually on calm nights with small surf is how wetzel does it. Almost like a pencil popper. He has a video on YouTube how to do it. 
 

the think these is something to be said about the subtleness of a lure. Everything now seems to have a rattle and a lit to impart action. Needles cast further them sp, mag darter and hydro minnow. You can work from the bottom of the water to the top with them. Just commit to using them and you’ll figure them out. 

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I think this raises a good question though, are there lures which will be productive in some regions but not others if targeting the same species of fish?

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Stubby are good when mullet are around and loaded is high winds. Other then that I’d use a regular needle. 

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Needles are special. They can be very productive, but that’s on the fisherman. I fish them slow with the rod tip high and a twitch every few reels. I prefer them more on a sweeping current.

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Sand eels need not be present for the needle to produce. Also, don't discount a teaser (small bucktail is fine), needles and teasers go well together. You should work them slowwwwwwllllllyyyyy with the direction of the current.

 

There are different needles, some are floaters, others sink like a rock, all cast well, some even swim a little bit. Slow steady retrieve, if you want to keep from wanting to put the lure bag in your bag, every few casts a twitch of the tip every few cranks can be productive and keep you sane and awake.

 

The best thing is they cast as well as anything,and you can cover lots of water. And with the improved distance of casting, using the teaser doesn't hurt as much. After you catch a few, you'll more than likely love it. Some hate them forever, they do bore you a bit, slowwwww gets in your head. Slow is mostly important with most lures and stripers, blues don't mind a little speed nor do they mind if you feed them a hot dog, they're on it.

 

But you really don't feel any action from the stick in the water, a plug has a wobble and feel, this is just like reeling in nothing, thats when you know your fishing it right and it will produce if you stick with it. I always try and imagine if I were a 5" baitfish how I would I face the conditions, I think the answer is the conditions dictate what the baitfish will have to do and thats follow wind and current. So, toss out the stupid needle (hopefully with a teaser attached) and when it lands, imagine what course between you and you lure would a small fish be forced to take? Crawl that needle and teaser right along that path, sometimes straight in, sometimes from left to right and sometimes right to left, always with current. 

 

Thats just for chasing schoolies in normal waters, when there is wind and heavy seas, get out the big needles, a 2 or 3 ouncer goes like a missle. Try and stay in touch with it , sometimes the hits come when it feels like its being washed and wind driven and out of your control until you feel the rod bend in half. 

 

Probably the most consistent of wood lures as far as building goes. Darters are probably the toughest build particularly to be consistent on every one, needles would be the easiest, thus chances are if its not producing its not the arrow its the Indian, sorry, Guardian. 

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I have used small needles in the back with current (only at night because thats about the only time i fish for bass in the back). they aren't ever my first choice in current. but the times i have resorted to putting one it was because the fish were very (only) keyed to looking up in the top 5% of column.  <aside> (my default to fish current is a jig, even if there is surface activity i typically believe for every fish popping on top there are 5 or more below them)

With the needles in the back i made my cast quartered upcurrent and "slid " it back through the seam or area of activity with no hops or pops unless line mending was needed. the retrieve is over when the needle sweeps to just slightly downcurrent.  I am sure there is a downcurrent presentation with them that would work but i don't have the patience for it. 

Of all my nighttime backwater trips in a season, i break out a needle maybe 2 or 3 times. 

I prefer the small choopy needle. 

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On 9/4/2022 at 4:19 PM, adams54 said:

We need to talk about stubby needles. Been looking to add them into my rotation.  Any tips?

Remove the tail hook and replace with a flag - That's direct from Donny himself

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A blurple Fixter needle is what I fish 90% of the time. Day or night. Doesn't matter. And you can really bomb it out there when they're holding on the other side of the bar. Twitch twitch. If they are there, they just can't seem to say no. :th: 

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