In the September Issue of OTW, with the help of a few surfcasting luminaries, I wrote an article on how to catch more fish with needlefish. While I mentioned a few of my favorite needles in the article, in the space allowed, I could only scratch the surface. A big number of craft and professional plug builders make very good needlefish that catch stripers. Here are a few more good needlefish, and if I missed any more, let me know in the comments section below.
The Choopy Needle was one of the first needlefish I ever bought, right behind my first Super Strike and Gibbs needles. The unique head shape gave the lure a bit of a swing on the retrieve that had a bit more action than the traditional needlefish.
I’ve long liked the darters made by L.I. fish in V.T., but didn’t know they made a needlefish until recently. At 6 inches and 1 ½ ounces, this plug is right in the sweet spot for a great all around needlefish. And if they are half as good as the L.I. fish in V.T. darter, they are one excellent plug.
Lemire’s Plugworks has their own twist on the needlefish, adding a small flare at the back end to send off more disturbance as the plug is retrieved. Also appealing about these needlefish are the color patterns. Their sand eel color looks deadly.
The Salty’s Needlefish gets a lot of press from Captain Terry Nugent who has great success imitating sand eels with this lure from his boat. With the lures working that well from a boat, I imagine they must work well in the environment they were made for—the surf.
Rhode Island Poppers produce a floating and a sinking classic needlefish plug. Both models have proved themselves time and time again in the surf from New Jersey to Cape Cod.
As far as I know, the Guide’s Secret Needle Stick is the only other plastic needlefish on the market besides Super Strike. Shell Caris of Shore Catch Guide Service has a hand in designing this needlefish. It’s relatively new to the market, but looks promising.
Tom Bozan of DT Lures handed me one of his Stubby Needlefish at the Asbury Park Flea Market a couple years ago. Since then it had been a great producer of schoolie stripers up to about 32 inches. Given the small size, I had little confidence in the lure (or in any stubby needlefish) as a big fish producer until a 38-pound striper ate my DT Needlefish one night this summer. A few casts later another big fish ate the needle, but broke off (always check your knots after landing a good fish). The size and profile of the DT Needle are great, and if you can get your hands on one, it’s a needlefish well worth fishing.
Though I’ve never been able to get my hands on one, the DMag needles are a hot commodity in New Jersey. The plugs are only available at a few flea markets over the winter, and they sell out fast. Those lucky enough to snatch one up catch good numbers of bass on them throughout the Northeast.