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The strange world of micro-fishing

By Skip Clement

Micro-fishing is the pursuit of small commonly overlooked fish that are usually less than 6-inches in length. This type of fishing requires innovative and unusual angling tactics

The goal of a micro fisher is catching as many different species as possible, and the smaller the better. That would not preclude catching a salmon, steelhead or an unscaled threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). They are all equal… as long as they’re “tiny” – 6-inches or less is attainment.

Micro-fish caught by Ben Cantrell: (top row) bleeding shiner, knobfin sculpin, (bottom row) plateau darter and bantam sunfish. Photo by Ben Cantrell.

The micro-fishing manifesto, if that’s what it is, states:

“Micro-fishing is the pursuit of small commonly overlooked fish that are usually less than 6-inches in length. This type of fishing requires innovative and unusual angling tactics as many species rarely exceed two inches as adults. Understanding methods of micro-fishing open the angler up to a wide variety of new species of fish often overlooked with conventional tackle.” – Tenkarabum

According to micro-fishing enthusiasts, . . . you can catch hundreds of species of fish as compared to a typical fly or conventional tackle angler who catches less than twenty species of fish in a lifetime.

Finding the micro-fishers

Micro-fishers have their websites, but when you inquire about the rods used you are reintroduced to Japan’s history of tenkara fly fishing… sort of.

“Micro fishing is not just Japanese, but now an American pursuit. There are also South African, British, and Scandanavian devotees . . .” – Tenkarabum (excerpt)

A tenkara devoted website, Tenkarabum, has a story titled “Micro Fishing Rods.” The story circuitously provides the reader a sense of just what micro fishing means to some, the rods that are used, and of other related information.

The primary rods used in micro-fishing in Japan are called TANAGO rods – four piece and about 20-inches long. Tanago is a type of fish indigenous to Japan.

 Featured Image is a golden shiner. Photo Micro-Fishing Indiana.

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