Needles rank as one of the most versatile plugs in the surf casters arsenal, and they are simplistic in design.
For all intents and purposes, a needle is simply a weighted, tapered plug of wood or plastic, with no inherent or inbuilt action.
This lack of any existing action is what makes the needle so deadly, and so versatile as a surf plug. The angler has complete control over the plug, which means that needles can be a great choice in a variety of situations.
Sinking vs. Floating
Most needles sink, either at a slow, moderate, or fast rate of speed-depending on the build and style. Some plug builders also make floating variations of the needle, an option that can be deadly in certain conditions (for instance when fishing a shallow-flooded boulder field with moderate sweep).
That said, sinking needles are generally the most versatile choice for most surf anglers. Luckily for us the number of builders and styles of needlefish plugs on the market means that there is an option for almost every condition, from shallow boulder fields, to deep outflows, to casting into heavy onshore winds and big surf.
The trick of course is in choosing what needle to toss in a particular situation. I generally find slow or moderate sinkers to be the most versatile from most beaches and boulder fields.
Heavier, fast sinkers are a good choice when targeting deeper waters, or when extra long casts are necessary to reach the fish or structure. Stubby weighted needles are my go-to when casting into sloppy conditions, or when it’s necessary to cut through the wind.
Different Needlefish Retrieves
When fishing a needle I’ll usually start with a slow steady retrieve, with the occasional pump or twitch of the rod tip. This slow and subtle approach is often all it takes to get the job done......
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