I have just recently discovered the effectiveness of the needlefish when surfcasting Cape Cod at night for striped bass.
Of course I knew all along how effective needlefish can be. For example my friend Danya Mahota even blogged about needlefish last year here on MFCC.
Yet this season I have been casting needlefish with more regularity, and in particular, needlefish designed by the late Cape Cod surfcasting legend Tony Stetzko.
This past Friday night was one of those nights where it was all striped bass, and no bluefish. During the outgoing tide several schools of stripers had "stacked up" along a shallow bar with a swift current.
The fly fishing earlier in the day had been stellar, with stripers on nearly every cast. Now that it was dark I figured I might be able to cull out a "keeper" from amongst the schoolies by switching over to a needlefish.
With so many fish holding on the bar, I was not the least bit surprised when I got a hit on my very first cast with the needle.
You bet it can pay to experiment, and I am sure several people reading this have their own unique technique for retrieving needles (let us know yours by commenting below).
However the following video depicts the super simple needlefish retrieve which worked pretty well for me this past Friday night.
One more detail worth mentioning is to crush the barbs on your hooks when you are catching schoolie after schoolie.
I feel there is really no need to keep the barbs on your hooks (especially on treble hooks) unless you are targeting trophy stripers.
For those reading this who are not sure what I mean by "crushing your barbs", please watch the video below for a quick demonstration.
Today there are many different types of needlefish lures on the market. Yet I feel the ones designed by Tony have some "special mojo" which makes them more effective.
Of course the only proof I have is the confidence I feel when I snap on one of his needles. At the moment my favorite Stetzko needle is the bone white "Nantucket Needlefish" which I found at fishermansline.com.
Currenly I am not sure if anyone has Tony's needles left in stock. If you get lucky you might be able to pick a few up on Ebay, or from a Cape Cod yard sale.
Just make sure to put them away when the bluefish move in...
Tight lines and take care,