The MC Magnetic Weight Shift ‘Surf’ Needlefish.
Well I’ve certainly dropped enough hints about the forthcoming release of the Marc Cowling Magnetic Weight Shifting (MWS) ‘Surf’ Needlefish! Additionally, I’ve posting up and written about some of the catches I’ve achieved (here and here) on the ‘white’ prototypes that have proudly nestled inside my ‘experimental’ lure box – set free to torment the bass whenever I’ve had the opportunity.
Below is a gallery of some the bass that I have caught on the MWS version over the past few months, as well as a couple that my fishing companion has landed when I’ve entrusted him with one – he has a knack of losing my lures you see!
In case you haven’t used a needlefish lure before, one of their primary attributes is the capability to present something (be it a squid, cuttlefish or inactive prey fish) that is both very subtle and naturally appearing – very much like you’d be able to achieve with a weightless soft plastic lure (such as a senko (Wave Worm Bamboo Stick), soft stick bait (OSP DoLive Stick) or hybrid shad/stick bait (Albie Snax). However, what you gain over these soft lures with the hard needlefish are enhanced levels of constancy when underwater due to their overall density (useful in turbulent seas or extreme tidal conditions), in addition to increased levels of stability in the cast, thus enabling greater distances to be achieved.
But before I unleash the full description and specification to the all new MC MWS ‘Surf’ Needlefish, if you’re one of the many anglers (and/or clients of mine judging by the amount I’ve spotted in various lure boxes this year!) who purchased and have caught bass on the original ‘Signature’ Needlefish released back in March, then you might be wondering why I asked my friend, expert sculptor and lure maker Tom (of TC Lures) to build what is essentially an ‘improved’ Mk2 version?
From almost the very first night when I was ‘allowed’ to go fishing again (13th May), the way that the tides, light levels (darkness) and the weather patterns combined, meant that open beaches, fished a few hours either side of low water formed the mainstay of my approach during these initial forays. And in my neck of the woods, many of the beaches are shingle on the mid to high-tide line, running down to either reef, or reef and then pure, flat sand – a mini surf beach in essence for a short period if there is any ‘swell’ running or wind behind the waves and therefore in your face…
The above is hugely significant, as although I knew, from all of the testing and the previous catches that have been achieved (courtesy of all you bass lure fishing enthusiasts out there!) on the ‘Mk1’, that this needlefish was more of a ‘finesse lure’ ideally suited to being ‘fished’ in shallow water, over a multitude of underwater terrains and primarily within calmer sea conditions (all of which you can read in the post I wrote introducing the initial release of the Mk1 here). But once we stared ‘hammering out’ bass in what were some pretty lively conditions (breaking waves forming surf tables and a powerful undertow) I felt I was onto something…
A couple of months into what was obviously a ‘delayed’ start to the season, I received a message from a fellow angler who said he’d been catching bass on the MC Signature Needlefish in the surf, but in the daylight. Intrigued, I asked him if he wouldn’t mind sending me a couple of photographs, both of the fish he’d landed and the sea conditions in which, as it transpired, he was fishing whilst waist-deep. Below is what he very kindly sent me.
From this moment, my mind started whirring about the possibility of a larger, heavier, longer casting MC Needlefish and something of a powerhouse for use exclusively in the surf. Further, it would retain the shape, movement, etc but would just be, overall, more substantial in size and weight. However, you may recall that part of the reason I’d developed a needlefish with a shorter at 125mm (and with a wider girth so to retain that level sink rate), was because I suspected one-in-three of the bass we were hooking and subsequently losing were possibly using the length and rigidity of the lures to ‘lever’ themselves off of the hooks. Back to the drawing board then…
I started to look again very closely (as I did when designing the original) at some of the ‘better casting’ hard lures I possessed, and in particular those with an excellent size/length-to-weight ratio, in conjunction with a moving internal weight of some description – lures like the Tackle House Feed Shallow 105 and IMA Hound Glide for example. Most modern lures have them of course, but in my view, some are just more effective than others.
However, something that I didn’t want to entertain, and that was a definite barrier initially, was the thought of asking Tom to build the lure with an inner ‘knocking’, constantly moving ball-bearing, or indeed, going down the relatively basic ‘static weight held within the tail section’ route… Nope, for me, this would have removed two fundamental characteristics of the MC Needlefish – its silent, ‘ghosting’ subtleness (as it would have been noisy underwater) and its ascertainable, level sink rate (it would have descended tail first).
With a very challenging objective set, Tom went to work on what had to be a custom-designed internal ‘capsule or pod’ specific to this lure. His Magnetic Weight Shifting (MWS) system was born, but just like the MK1 Needlefish, a significant amount of time, testing and tweaking was completed until we were content to release the finished article.
Increased distance to the tune of an additional 20-25% or 15-20m! This is what Tom’s MWS system brings to the party, to the extent that the 4x 6mm steel ball bearings ‘slide/shift’ by 70mm – the force of which creates the equivalent of an additional 4g of weight being shunted towards the tail section of the lure during the cast. Upon impact with the water, they are instantly and magnetically drawn back towards the nose where they remain, so to ensure that the needlefish ‘level sinks’ – a deadly motion in itself that has accounted for many of my personal bass catches, and yet another feature prevalent in the weightless soft plastics I’ve mentioned (not so much the Albie Snax it has be said).
Something that you would of noticed of course, is that a couple of two-tone patterns have been added to the collection – Cool Green and Baby Pink. From my point of view, the thought process here is that both chartreuse type colours and ‘pinks/purples are popular colourations on the Striped Bass scene. In the UK, Chartreuse patterns are evidently synonymous with anglers catching bass, and I vividly remember a very good bass lure angler (who is local to me incidentally) describing how a pink-tinged needlefish, utilised in darkness, enabled him to completely out-fish his mate who was using the same type of needlefish lure, but a white version, only a few yards along the beach.
Moreover, I cannot help but applaud and admire the catches that Keith White and his brother achieved in Jersey when they effectively introduced needlefish lures to our bass fishing – when Greens, Pinks and Yellows alongside their novel approach brought them consistent success. Hmmmm, yellow…
Something else that Tom has been working extraordinarily hard on is the reflective finish on the Silver version of the MWS Surf. I know from our regular conversations that this isn’t easy to perfect, but he’s nailed it on these as you can see below – brilliant.
Please find below the full list of specifications in regards to these lures (this is what has been forwarded to the on-line stores who will be stocking them:
- Designed by professional bass lure fishing guide and angling journalist Marc Cowling (South Devon Bass Guide) and built by Tom Cooper of TC Lures.
- Original White and Black patterns, in addition an improved highly reflective Silver/Chrome configuration.
- Two new ‘two-tone colours have been added to the series – Cool Green and Baby Pink.
- ‘Custom Designed’ (by TC Lures) Magnetic Weight Shifting (MWS) system incorporates 4x 6mm high impact, steel ball bearings.
- Extreme casting range – 65m+ in tests.
- Length – 125mm
- Weight – 20g
- Controlled 30cm per second, level/horizontal sink rate.
- Dense, polyurethane body construction (D72 on the shore hardness scale).
- Marine Grade 1mm 316 stainless through wire for robustness.
- Hand cast (precision moulded) for uniformity and durability.
- Highly reflective 10mm 3D eyes.
- Four coats of ultra-clear, hard and flexible top coat.
- From casting the lure body, sanding, painting, logo and signature has been done ‘by hand’ to provide the best finish possible.
- Split Rings recommended -7mm.
- Treble Hooks recommended -Size 4.
- Single Hooks recommended -Size 1/0.
The Marc Cowling Magnetic Weight Shifting ‘Surf’ Needlefish can be purchased from the following on-line stores for £24.99.
PLEASE NOTE: I do not sell them directly, and the hooks and spilt rings are not included:
Furthermore, TC Lures stock their own 160mm Needlefish with Tom’s MWS system now incorporated into the Ghost White and Silver patterns (below).
Thanks for reading.
Great read Marc. Well done lads top effort on designing and building this lure, all the best guys.
Thank you Lee – really appreciate the comment.
Look Marc, please stop! I’ve got to change my Christmas list again because of these lures !! Seriously it’s fantastic to read the thought processes , development and the reasons behind the existence of a great lure so thanks for sharing them ! And to Tom, such awesome skills to make them from scratch and by hand , top work !
Now off to beg, I mean speak to the wife 🤣🤣
Ha ha ha! Thank you Dave. I always like to reveal the method in my madness. Thankfully, Tom understands my ramblings!
Hope to see them in your collection next year!