Marc Cowling/TC Lures ‘ZIPP WAKE’

Marc Cowling/TC Lures ‘ZIPP WAKE’

Where do I start with this one! Well, ever since we first started working together, and especially once we’d successfully released the ‘Signature‘ MC Needlefish, and later, the Magnetic Weight Shifting (MWS) version, Tom Cooper (TC Lures) and I have had numerous conversations about creating a surface lure…

Having considered various concepts and ideas that we have bounced off one another in this respect (including the actual construction of a separate prototype that may yet see some water time), the overriding notion/realisation that struck us both was just how effective, in terms of manoeuvrability, visual appearance, casting prowess, and of course, bass catching capabilities the original shape and profile of the MC Needlefish has proven to be with bass lure anglers all over the country.

The ‘level-sinking’ MC Needlefish (in the MWS guise here) built by TC Lures – the inspiration for the ‘floating’ ZIPP WAKE.

Eureka moment

Many, many times when I had been retrieving and then ‘working’ the MC Needlefish – particularly when I’d been ‘tapping/flicking my wrist’ through the blank and rod tip much like I would whilst working a surface lure and therefore ‘walking the dog’ as it were, I’d noticed how well the plastic lure would slalom and zig-zag just under the surface. Keep the rod tip high and retrieve a little faster, and (especially with the original version) I could easily make it ‘wake’ along the surface layer as well – maybe this has mileage were my thoughts… as the potential eureka moment stirred in my bass-crazed brain…

“Tom, do you reckon you can ‘play around’ (was my way of being technical, which clearly I’m not as I leave all that kind of stuff to the man who can actually build these things!) with the MC Needlefish design to see if you can make it buoyant?” This was my first request, followed by asking him to work out the formula whereby the lure would obviously float and then ‘sit/rest’ in the water very slightly ‘arse down’ (see, I do not deal in technical speak!).

More moulds!

As well as being a passionate sculptor and consummate lure-building professional, Tom understands and ultimately ‘gets’ what I’m saying when I am ‘talking lures’ (courtesy of him being a superb bass lure angler). Plus, and critically so, he also has the technical capability, knowhow and skill to actually bring a concept or creation to life. Moulds!!! Not exactly a riveting subject or topic of conversation granted, but it is one that Tom and I have had to have over and over again, as it costs money (that we’ve had to stump up and invest ourselves) to have multiple moulds created to enable him to build the prototypes for us to then test and perfect.

Version No. 1, and one of the first prototypes to ever get wet ! I vividly recall this one accounting for 7 (admittedly small) bass in about 20 minutes as a client very kindly allowed me to ‘have a go’ with it as he remained fishless beside me – I had to put it away in the end! Thank you and sorry Jon!

Even with his magic touch when it comes to working out the numbers involved to find the ‘buoyancy balance point’, you are talking about fractions here when you’re attempting to manipulate what was a sinking lure design into one that floats, whilst retaining and actually enhancing the overall manoeuvrability and zig-zagging capabilities of the lure – all the while with a close eye on ensuring that it can be cast effortlessly and with the trajectory of a missile – a key feature and standout component of the original profile.

One of 7 little bass that wanted the prototype badly!


I was even more excited than usual on what was on a blissfully calm evening, as Tom and I walked out onto a sheltered estuary mark of mine, primarily because I knew he’d brought along the version of the currently ‘nameless’ surface lure for me to test, directly alongside the ‘Spittin Wire and Patchinko gang’. I already knew that the 15g variant we had settled on would cast well, but please, please do not think that I am exaggerating when I recall the next event…

With Tom’s 9ft 7″ Shimano Exsence Genos S97MH 8-48g lure rod, Shimano Stella 4000XG reel and Xorus Patchinko 125 versus my comparatively puny 8ft 8″ Major Craft Sea Bass Custom 88M 7-35g, Shimano Vanquish C3000MHG and with the all-new MC/TC Lures prototype surface lure attached I was astounded to see the 15g ‘cyclops surface lure’ land within a metre of his ‘Patch’ as we made our respective casts in tandem with each other. You read that correctly – the ZIPP WAKE will cast almost as far as a Patchinko 125 that weighs almost 3g more…

With the precise amount of weight now added within the tail section of the lure, and the internal dimensions of the prototype confirmed (you actually require two moulds in essence, to construct the two halves of the lure, before the process of joining them together begins) the next step was to commission the actual mould(s). Once Tom received this he set about perfecting the overall process via further prototypes of what would soon be the finished article.

Version No.2. This model was constructed in what is the confirmed ZIPP WAKE mould. The name really did pop into my head one day while I was out testing it while guiding one of my clients! There were others bandied about by Tom and I – the ‘Zipper’ or ‘ZIP-R’ being a couple of them, although we both quickly came to the same conclusion that it sounded rather rude!

The images below form a gallery of the catches I achieved on the prototype above (I had to be very careful not to lose it as it was the only one I had!) from a variety of settings: beaches, rocks and estuaries, both in daylight AND darkness. Moreover, you’ll no doubt notice the internal ‘Flash Plate’ that I insisted should be a distinct characteristic of the lure (although not all the models boast this for reasons that I will elaborate on later in this post) which is something Tom worked exceptionally hard on to incorporate.

Concept, Usage and Technical Information

So that’s the background to how this all-new top-water, surface ‘sliding’ lure, the ‘ZIPP WAKE’ came to be. Granted, at first glance it may appear that what reached production stage may ‘look’ just like the MC Needlefish, but I can assure you it does something completely different! A simplified breakdown of the technical information, what this lure does for the bass lure angler and how to make it do it, in addition to the types of locations and environments in which it is ideally suited can all be found below.

The current range (a Lemon Back/Flash may be added…) from top to bottom: Frost/Transparent Flash, Blue/Flash, Green/Flash, Brilliant White and Transparent/Translucent (you can clearly see through the body of this pattern).

Technical Information

  • Length – 125mm
  • Weight – 15g
  • Very long casting (45m+).
  • Recommended hook size: Size 4 (Trebles), Size 1/0 (Singles).
  • Recommended split ring size: Size 6 or 7.
  • Bait fish inspired ‘Flash Plate’ inserted/incorporated into the Frost/Flash, Blue Back/Flash and Green Back/Flash patterns.
  • Attachment rings made from 316 Stainless Steel.
  • Body made from ultra-tough, impact resistant Polycarbonate
  • Same proven shape and profile as MC/TC Lures Needlefish, but created by injecting the polycarbonate into a bespoke ‘TC Lures Designed’ mould.
  • Large, centrally-positioned ‘Strike Point’ eye.
  • Subtle Zig-Zagging’ action on a slow to medium-paced ‘walk-the-dog’ retrieve style – creating an inviting, yet subtle ‘Wake’ that a hungry bass can easily ‘lock on’ to!
Beautiful detailing as you’d expect on what is, quite remarkably. a hand-made lure by TC Lures.

Suggested Usage (what the lure has been designed for)

  • Ideal for use in mirror-like, and very calm to ‘slight chop’ seas states such as those routinely found in creeks, sheltered estuaries, quiet bays and tidal lagoons.
  • Especially effective where tidal currents are encountered, due to the lack of ‘drag’ the lure creates on the surface – aiding that subtle, bait fish being overpowered, bass attracting movement.
  • Although developed primarily as a sliding surface lure, the ZIPP WAKE can be ‘popped’ or gently ‘dragged’ across the surface layer and then ‘left for dead’ – a tactic that has been the downfall of many bass in testing also.
The ZIPP WAKE has been deliberately designed to sit neither horizontally on the surface, nor vertically, but instead, somewhere just in between.

 Available Colours

  1. Translucent/Transparent
  2. Brilliant or Pure White
  3. Green Back/Flash Plate
  4. Blue Back/Flash Plate
  5. Frost/or Transparent Flash Plate
  6. *A Lemon Back/Flash Plate may be added to the range soon as it proved so effective in tests!*
Many times in the 4 years since becoming a full-time pro-guide, in much the same way as introducing a top-water lure with an internal flash, there have been numerous occurrences when a translucent or transparent surface lure has garnered a far more positive attack over a surface lure being used only metres away by a different client/angler. I believe this is because the bass, in that instant, may only be able ascertain the ‘disturbance’ rather than the outline or immediate profile above their heads, which in turn taps into their predatory instinct – essentially, the more doubt you place in their mind, the more positive they will be.

The Sales Pitch!

A concept by UK professional bass lure fishing guide and author Marc Cowling, further designed, developed and constructed by Tom Cooper at TC Lures, the ZIPP WAKE is a subtle, floating, surface sliding lure from the team that brought you the proven Signature and Magnetic Weight Shifting (MWS) Needlefish. Although the shape and profile of the Needlefish inspired this all-new, UK made and hand-built, ‘walk-the-dog’ lure, the buoyancy has been achieved through the development of a completely bespoke mould. 

Maintaining the classic centrally-positioned eye as an obvious ‘Strike Point’, the introduction of ‘Bait Fish Inspired’ internal Flash Plate on the Frost/Transparent Flash, Blue Back/Flash and Green Back/Flash patterns will switch the predatory bass onto them in double-quick time, with the Brilliant/Pure White version ideal for murkier seas, and conversely, the Transparent/Translucent version the perfect choice for when the bass are being particularly wary under those exceptionally bright sky and/or clear water conditions.

The ZIPP WAKE has been designed and extensively tested with lure fishing in mirror-like, and very calm to ‘slight chop’ sea states and settings in mind – the type of which the lure angler will likely encounter within creeks, sheltered estuaries, quiet bays and tidal lagoons. Moreover, the ZIPP WAKE has proved exceptionally effective where strong levels of lateral current have been observed, both in very shallow (6″) to relatively deep (15ft) of water, whereby the lure’s overall shape, weight and sleek design helps it to retain a very subtle, yet equally inviting presence on the surface

ZIPP WAKE – The Video!

Want to see the ZIPP WAKE in action? One of Tom’s friends Nath (aka Slippy Limpets on You Tube) has very kindly put together a short film highlighting not only the action of the lure, but also its bass attracting attributes via actual drone footage of bass tracking and then smashing the lure – how bloody exciting is that! Enjoy!

Available From

As it displays in the final seconds of the video above. the ZIPP WAKE can be purchased from the following online stores for £22.99.

Lure Fishing For Bass

Veals Mail Order

Mr Fish (Jersey)

NOTE: Hooks and split rings are not provided.

Thanks for reading

Marc Cowling


  1. Marc, its a really interesting looking lure and and different from allot of the others on the market I have taken the plunge and ordered one. I really like your comment about “the more doubt you put in their minds the more positive they will be” (gotta be a blog in itself). In lure design (and fly tying for that matter as well) we often all go for the very life like imitations, but as you say maybe a bit of doubt does no harm ? I have heard people swear by clear surface lures before today and always been a bit sceptical, however with doubt in mind I have gone for the frost flash colour be interesting to see what happens.


  2. Great looking lure and one for my lure box that will get lots of swim time in the locations I fish, I’ve often thought the shape and eye placement of M.C Needle fish could make an interesting top water.
    Nice to see small scale precision moulding and manufacturing still alive in the U.K, I spent many happy hours as a kid in my dads mould workshop as he was a “master moulder” – that was his proper job title. Keep it up T.C lures and M.C.


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