Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Needlefish Sink Test

I sometimes get questions about how fast my needlefish sink. I am never quite sure how to respond and I just make comparisons to other needlefish and my experiences. I know a lot of people consider them floaters or slow sinkers, and I have never really agreed with that. I think they plane to the surface fairly easily and quickly, which makes people think they don't sink much. I generally would call them moderate sinkers.

As a way to try and figure out some sort of classification for them, I decided to run a little bit of an experiment. I have a clear plastic tub that has 12" of water, some needlefish, a video camera and a stopwatch. I threw on my safety glasses and lab coat, and pretended I was a rocket scientist.

So here is the video of how they came out. They are in a controlled environment and all the wild cards of nature like waves, current, the velocity of how the lure lands from the cast, the momentum that is stopped from the friction of the lure hitting the surface, etc. are all ignored in this little test. So I don't necessarily see it as a true guide on how they fish.

So in case you missed it at the end of the video, here are the results:

Name Sink Rate
5/8 oz. Needlefish1.6 seconds per foot
1 1/2 oz. Needlefish1.4 seconds per foot
2 oz. Needlefish1.1 seconds per foot
1 oz. Stubby1.0 seconds per foot
1 1/2 oz. Sinker Needlefish0.8 seconds per foot

Previously, I never would have been able to put a number to how fast that they sink, but I think some factual number based comparison will be helpful to a lot of people as well as the visual in the video.

I was able to look at them with a different perspective than you do standing on a bulkhead, jetty or sand while testing or fishing them. I was a bit surprised by angle in which the 1 1/2 oz. needlefish sank. It fishes much more horizontal and I think it has to do with how quickly it comes to the surface. I think that is a difference that will set the new 1 1/2 oz. Sinker Needlefish apart from the rest of the line-up. You have to try much harder to get it off the bottom, which is a good thing.

Now a little bit about how I like to fish each style of needlefish. If you want a more detailed look at the different types of structure, I wrote something here: How I fish Needlefish

5/8 oz Needlefish
I fish this lure on the sand mostly. It sinks slowly and will get pushed in the white water when you want it to, but will drag in the sand on the bar just like the fish like it as well. Its good in low water from the bottom of the tide till mid tide and the reverse. It will sit on top, or you can let it sink and fish it in the middle or bottom of the water column, depending on its depth. It can also be used around the high tide casting them into the shallow water coming over the bar. I will also use them on rocks when I feel the fish are sitting tight the structure and want something pushed across the structure.

1 1/2 oz Needlefish
This is more general condition needlefish. Works well on the sand and in the deeper waters around jetties. It holds better than the 5/8 oz in more moderate waves or turbulent waters and fishes a bit better around the top of the tide. It will sink faster than the 5/8 oz. It casts well and should reach the bar when you need to.

2 oz Needlefish
I fish theses from jetty's and in current. I will also use it on the sand when the tide is up and I want to reach the bar, or the other side of it. It sinks faster than the other ones, so it holds better in the current across the jetties, or when the water is deeper.

1 oz. Stubby Neddlefish
This needlefish will work well on jetties or fishing the beaches when the water is a bit more turbulent. It is tail weighted a bit more, so I will fish in in conditions where the 5/8 oz Needlefish is getting pushed around and I still want the same basic profile.

1 1/2 oz. Sinker Neddlefish
This needlefish will work well fishing the beaches when the water is a bit more turbulent or there are deep cuts and troughs. I cast and let it sink to the bottom. The start a slow retrieve keeping it 6" to 12" above the bottom. I find that pauses that let it sink, and twitches that make it skip over or through the sand often induce the fish to strike. Since the 1 1/2 oz Sinker comes to the surface quickly if you don't let it sink, I also like fishing it in boulder fields and jetties.

So here is the data and some examples of how I fish them. I still don't know if they should be considered slow, moderate or fast sinking needlefish. I will have to get in touch with International Neeldefish Anglers Society and check their guidelines. Lets hear how your experience matches or differs from the video. Please leave a comment below, I would love to hear what you guys have to say.

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