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Needlefish — daytime snubbing

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I just realized that I haven’t caught a striper with a needlefish in daylight.

i have caught them at night but I haven’t during the day.

 

during the day I’ve caught them on:

pencils, poppers, Danny’s. Swimmers, jigs, tins and sluggos but I just realized that I haven’t caught anything with needles.

 

my retrieve has been a simple cast it and then steady retrieve it.  The steady retrieve definitely works at night.

 

do you guys have any thoughts for daytime needles.  I fish from shore mostly Eastham (coastguard beach) and the beaches down to race point.  And lately down Mashnee when I visit a friend.

 

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5 mins ago, PencilPopperPete said:

I just realized that I haven’t caught a striper with a needlefish in daylight.

i have caught them at night but I haven’t during the day.

 

during the day I’ve caught them on:

pencils, poppers, Danny’s. Swimmers, jigs, tins and sluggos but I just realized that I haven’t caught anything with needles.

 

my retrieve has been a simple cast it and then steady retrieve it.  The steady retrieve definitely works at night.

 

do you guys have any thoughts for daytime needles.  I fish from shore mostly Eastham (coastguard beach) and the beaches down to race point.  And lately down Mashnee when I visit a friend.

 

Although needles produce days and nights they are most proficient when sand eels are present, which for surf fishing in the shallows tends to be a night game. There are also different needles that swim at different levels and some that even have a swimming action, some are made for calmer waters, some for big water conditions, usually the shallow stuff are smaller and lighter. It can be one of the harder lures to gain confidence in as it really is a simple action less lure that is usually most productive fished slowly and at night, a teaser in front is another effective tactic with needles and as they cast well, you can cover a decent amount of real estate even with a teaser.  Other additions can be a Colorado blade or a  a dressed Siwash hook on the rear for added action. For years I was bored with them, half a dozen casts and changed lures, 

 

In NJ where waters are generally shallow and flat, I've found that the small Choopy (5/8 oz.) and the Stubby Gibb (1 oz.) have always been favorites, more surface type needles than the heavier ones. . Patience and persistence do pay off, when you think your retrieving slow enough slow it down some more, sometimes just fast enough to stay in contact with the lure. Also, use the direction of the water current to impart a wounded look, sometimes when it crawls over a bar or around structure, it will get attacked when you least expect.  Unlike some lures like a 5" Red Fin, Yozuri Mag Darter or a Rubber Storm Shad require little more than a slow steady retrieve to entice a hit, the needle likes a twitch now and then or a stop and go action to produce, but thats also not necessary.    

 

Look for night feeding sand eels close to the beach, a needle may be a pleasant surprise. 

 

As for Cape beaches, inside and out, needles are worth carrying and using consistently. 

"Thats as big as a fish that size gets" - Russ Wilson
RIP JM
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2 hours ago, PencilPopperPete said:

i have caught them at night but I haven’t during the day.

 

I've been working on my needlefish technique the last 3, 4 years. I only fish them at night. I have had decent success with them but I'm still in discovery mode with them. I unexpectedly caught a tank of a bluefish with one on a sand eel beach on the Vineyard, 33", fat, 15lb+. 

 

Most of the beaches I use them on are fairly shallow or weedy or both so I use a slow sinking one, 247 lures, blurple or yellow over white are my favorite 2 colors.

 

During the day time I'd rather use SP Minnows or Bombers or Darters 'cuz they have more action and the fish get a better look at them than at night.

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I wonder if the reason conventional wisdom sez that needles work better at night is simply because most people avoid fishing them in daytime for that reason. In other words, it's a self fulfilling prophecy. It takes commitment but I'm guessing that fishing them more often in daytime will result in better daytime catch results. That said, I'm the worst offender when it comes to only fishing them at night. :cool:

Pfantum Pfishah

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1 hour ago, zak-striper said:

 

I've been working on my needlefish technique the last 3, 4 years. I only fish them at night. I have had decent success with them but I'm still in discovery mode with them. I unexpectedly caught a tank of a bluefish with one on a sand eel beach on the Vineyard, 33", fat, 15lb+. 

 

Most of the beaches I use them on are fairly shallow or weedy or both so I use a slow sinking one, 247 lures, blurple or yellow over white are my favorite 2 colors.

 

During the day time I'd rather use SP Minnows or Bombers or Darters 'cuz they have more action and the fish get a better look at them than at night.

I swear I just can't get a fish on a needle. In my case it's definitely a confidence thing. I try for 5 minutes and immediately give up when I don't get a hit.

 

Last year I bought a nice one at the sportsmen show. I was determined to get a striper on it. I was using it at the canal in daylight when there were fish hitting pencils. I stuck to that stupid needle for way too long without a hit. The last straw was when one of the ebike calvary swooped in and started casting over my shoulder. He was using a needle with what appeared to be the same retrieve as me but he instantly started hooking up. That's when I had to admit it was me that was the problem.

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2 mins ago, mikez2 said:

I was using it at the canal in daylight when there were fish hitting pencils.

 

I haven't tried them at the canal yet, only on beaches, primarily sand eel beaches. I know some people claim they work well at the canal but I haven't felt the need to try them because I have plenty of other lures that I have confidence in down there. I can think of a couple of canal spots I might try them at, especially at night (I mostly fish late night, weekdays). My major reluctance is if I have to do a super slow retrieve with them like on the beaches, the current will pull them into the weed line too quickly. Also that current is so strong, I worry about no action on the lure. 

 

Skinny stick baits like a Bomber or a Redfin are lures I'd rather use than a needle at the canal.  For lures like those, casting them out past a rip line, retrieving them in so they chug across the rip into calmer water while waiting for the inevitable hit works too well. 

 

Deadly dicks work well at the canal, especially the 2nd half of the season, when there's a lot of small bait in the ditch. The canal road lights provide enough illumination that even in the middle of the night, a long, skinny metal will flash, catching a bass's eye.

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22 mins ago, zak-striper said:

 

I haven't tried them at the canal yet, only on beaches, primarily sand eel beaches. I know some people claim they work well at the canal but I haven't felt the need to try them because I have plenty of other lures that I have confidence in down there. I can think of a couple of canal spots I might try them at, especially at night (I mostly fish late night, weekdays). My major reluctance is if I have to do a super slow retrieve with them like on the beaches, the current will pull them into the weed line too quickly. Also that current is so strong, I worry about no action on the lure. 

 

Skinny stick baits like a Bomber or a Redfin are lures I'd rather use than a needle at the canal.  For lures like those, casting them out past a rip line, retrieving them in so they chug across the rip into calmer water while waiting for the inevitable hit works too well. 

 

Deadly dicks work well at the canal, especially the 2nd half of the season, when there's a lot of small bait in the ditch. The canal road lights provide enough illumination that even in the middle of the night, a long, skinny metal will flash, catching a bass's eye.

Well I'm like the least knowledgeable canal guy around. I only go there, under protest, because Jed likes it. And he's a canal sharpie. He knows all the right lures, has the heavy gear and is physically phitt enough to throw that heavy crap all day long. He has great success. 

I on the other hand don't bother trying to learn, struggle terrible with the heavy gear and rarely catch anything. Which is good because I lose enthusiasm quickly after a few heavy fish in that current. I prefer to fight the fish, not the current. 

 

Anyway, the point being, I knew it was "wrong" to use a needle in daylight in the canal. I didn't care. I was going to do it my way. But of course it didn't work. No surprise there. What was surprising was that the other guy came along and squeezed in next to me and HE was using a needle. Successfully. 

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I'm sure you could catch a fish on a needlefish during the day, especially if a little action gets imparted to the lure like a mini pencil. But why risk it? Unless there is a specific use case where you need to hit a specific piece of structure / depth that won't work with something else, or the fish are keyed in on a specific profile that only a needle will match. A good day alternative would be a deadly dick: it's a dead ringer for a sand eel, sinks, casts a mile, and the flash works well in daylight

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1 hour ago, bdowning said:

I wonder if the reason conventional wisdom sez that needles work better at night is simply because most people avoid fishing them in daytime for that reason. In other words, it's a self fulfilling prophecy. It takes commitment but I'm guessing that fishing them more often in daytime will result in better daytime catch results. That said, I'm the worst offender when it comes to only fishing them at night. :cool:

For years everyone thought eels only work at night. No one knew why, but that's the way it was. Until some newbie tried them during the day, and  we all stood there with dropped jaws.

The Sultan of Sluggo

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4 hours ago, bob_G said:

For years everyone thought eels only work at night. No one knew why, but that's the way it was. Until some newbie tried them during the day, and  we all stood there with dropped jaws.

 

A few years ago, before the 2018 collapse, I was fishing a west tide which started about 2 hours before first light. I was at one of my favorite rip line spots. It was early, mid August so there was a ton of bait in the canal. I started with a Bomber, which was getting hit regularly and I was catching fish in the 28" - 32" range with that lure. I also had eels with me. I snapped off my last Bomber so I switched to eels. That switch changed the size of the fish. I was now catching fish in the 34" - 40" range. I think the canal had been quiet for a week or 2 before this outing so the big crowds weren't there. I had my spot with a pole or 2 of open space on either side of me. Even after the sun came over the trees, I was still catching quality fish on the eels. At one point, a guy who was a couple of poles down from me came over to watch. He was wondering what I was throwing that was producing fish for me while he struggled with lures. Best part is I got that entire bite on video.

 

About 4 years ago I was in the west end during the early afternoon, around 2pm. At the spot I was fishing, there was a guy throwing eels into the prime part of a rip. Me and a couple of other guys were throwing jigs. Eel guy caught at least a 1/2 dozen large bass on the eels. And they weren't hanging that far out from the rocks. The other lure guys & I couldn't catch anything while we watched him laughing up about how many big fish he was catching.

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On 2/29/2024 at 11:54 AM, PencilPopperPete said:

I just realized that I haven’t caught a striper with a needlefish in daylight.

i have caught them at night but I haven’t during the day.

 

during the day I’ve caught them on:

pencils, poppers, Danny’s. Swimmers, jigs, tins and sluggos but I just realized that I haven’t caught anything with needles.

 

my retrieve has been a simple cast it and then steady retrieve it.  The steady retrieve definitely works at night.

 

do you guys have any thoughts for daytime needles.  I fish from shore mostly Eastham (coastguard beach) and the beaches down to race point.  And lately down Mashnee when I visit a friend.

 

I have caught on an afterhours needle during the day but that was quite a while ago.  Last season or possibly 2 seasons ago I was with @shark lobster and he got a couple bass on needles at daybreak.  He's the needle guy!

There are so many different styles of needles and everyone wants a certain needle as far as size/weight/sink rate..

@Punch63 makes some very nice  needles. 

troll #122  <*)))<

 

 

 

 

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The old rule of thumb for fishing needles was if you are having fun, you are doing it wrong. They take a little bit to get the hang of but under the right circumstances it’s an extremely effective lure. My best results have been a fast sinker on the bottom or an almost neutral buoyant worked painfully slow.

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4 hours ago, Thirteen said:

The old rule of thumb for fishing needles was if you are having fun, you are doing it wrong. They take a little bit to get the hang of but under the right circumstances it’s an extremely effective lure. My best results have been a fast sinker on the bottom or an almost neutral buoyant worked painfully slow.


^^ This. I was teaching one of my buddies to work night time late fall last year with a few plugs and needle fish and I noticed that whenever I talk to people about fishing slow (dead slow), they are still going way too fast. 

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I had a few awesome afternoons a while backs, working a sinking SS like you’d work a spook, but with no pauses.  I was twitching  it in the whole way just a hair below the surface, and the eats were amazing.  Had a few fish around 35lbs and a handful lost that I still remember.

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