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Since the vaccine for Covid-19 became available, there has been controversy over whether you should “get stuck” or not “get stuck” with it. Well, I am not here to give my opinion on vaccines, or anything else related to the pandemic, but I do have a few opinions about needles- the needle fish lure that is. This lure is one you always should make sure is in your surf bag. As a matter of fact, it is one lure you don’t want to be “stuck” without.

Year after year, the needle fish continues to be one of the most productive lures in my surf bag year. It has played a major part in some of my best nights of fishing. It has also produced some of the biggest fish I have landed, and that holds true for back bays, outer beaches, and inlets. The consistency with which this lure produces fish is matched by very few other lures on the market today.

What makes the needle fish so productive? Let’s begin with the profile of the lure. Its slim design gives it a lot of versatility. The profile matches many of the slim, smaller baits present during the spring and fall runs, and in some cases, throughout the season. This is a perfect “go to” lure for a “match the hatch” approach to fishing, which is always a key to having consistently successful trips. Another reason for the versatility of this lure is the ability to fish it in all kinds of surf and weather conditions. This lure can be cast for good distance even when the wind is blowing hard in your face making many other lures unfishable. This is essential for getting into the strike zone and staying in the strike zone as long as possible, thereby increasing your hook-up percentage.

So what is the best way to work the needle fish? There are a few ways to work this lure but, no matter what approach you take, it is necessary to be in touch with the lure at all times. Slack in your line while fishing a needle fish will result in missed hook sets. The way I like to work a needle fish is similar to working a bucktail. I cast out the needle, get in touch with the lure, and begin a slow retrieve. After about 3 or 4 turns I give the rod tip a lift (not a snap) of the tip and continue the slow retrieve throughout the cast. If, after a number of casts using this method, there are no hookups, you should then vary the cadence of your retrieve to create a different “look” which could make all the difference needed to hook up


Another method which has been very productive, especially at night, is the pencil popper method. With this method you cast the lure out, get in touch with it right away, and proceed to work the lure just like you would a pencil popper. The splashing on the top of the water always seems to get something interested. When I use this method I either do a constant popping retrieve or I do a pop and stop. Both have been productive for me on numerous occasions.

The two methods mentioned have been very productive for me over the years. However, it never hurts to try other techniques recommended by other anglers, or to even develop some techniques of your own. As the old saying goes, “Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.” The only way you learn is to do- so figure out what works and figure out what doesn’t work, and remember: No matter what you do, make sure you are never “stuck” in the suds without the needle. #LiveAuthenitic, #LiveThePassion! features a monthly surfcasting blog from Bernie Hoyt , a NYS Certified Fishing Guide with over 30 years of experience fishing the legendary waters of Long Island. He is well known for his informative seminars at saltwater shows in the Northeast, and now he has a podcast HOOKED ON SURF FISHING WITH BERNIE BASS where he offers his listeners the latest in gear reviews and techniques for the surf fishing scene. Contact Bernie for details on Facebook through Bernie Bass Surfcasting Services, on Instagram @Bernie_bass, and through his website at


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