by Thorne Whitewater
In the warm and vibrant waterways of South Florida, micro fishing enthusiasts find a unique and diverse playground. Amidst the mangroves and clear waters, a variety of small fish species, growing to less than 8 inches as adults, offer exciting opportunities for anglers. Here are the top ten sought-after micro fish species in South Florida for hook and line catches:
Least Killifish (Heterandria formosa):
- Description: One of the smallest fish species in the United States.
- Habitat: Freshwater ponds, swamps, and slow-moving streams.
Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki):
- Description: Small, sturdy fish, known for their appetite for mosquito larvae.
- Habitat: Freshwater habitats, including ponds, streams, and marshes.
Sailfin Molly (Poecilia latipinna):
- Description: Recognizable by their large dorsal fin.
- Habitat: Fresh and brackish waters, including marshes and springs.
Flagfish (Jordanella floridae):
- Description: Colorful, with a distinctive “flag” pattern.
- Habitat: Freshwater habitats, including ponds and slow-moving streams.
Bluespotted Sunfish (Enneacanthus gloriosus):
- Description: Vibrant blue spots and a compact body.
- Habitat: Freshwater ponds, lakes, and slow-moving streams.
Everglades Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma evergladei):
- Description: Small, with a dark pattern on the body.
- Habitat: Freshwater habitats in the Everglades region.
Mangrove Gambusia (Gambusia rhizophorae):
- Description: Small and adaptable to various water conditions.
- Habitat: Brackish waters, especially in mangrove areas.
Pygmy Killifish (Leptolucania ommata):
- Description: Small, with a translucent body and subtle coloration.
- Habitat: Freshwater habitats, including slow-moving streams and swamps.
Bluefin Killifish (Lucania goodei):
- Description: Blue fins and a slender body.
- Habitat: Freshwater springs, streams, and marshes.
Golden Topminnow (Fundulus chrysotus):
- Description: Golden scales with a sleek body.
- Habitat: Freshwater habitats, including ponds and streams.
Invasive Fish in Florida:
Florida’s waterways are also home to various invasive fish species that have been introduced often unintentionally into the wild. These non-native species can have detrimental effects on the local ecosystem outcompeting native species for food and habitat. Some examples include the Jewelfish, Platys and Swordtails, and Acara Cichlids. While micro fishing anglers may encounter these species and should be aware of the detrimental role they play in Florida’s aquatic ecosystems. In a future article anglers will read about the invasive expedition to catch Florida’s Top Ten Micro Fishing Aquarium Invasives.
Tips for Micro Fishing in South Florida:
- Research: Understand the behavior, habitat, and identification of each species.
- Gear: Use appropriate micro fishing gear, including small hooks and light lines.
- Location: Explore diverse water systems, from freshwater to brackish waters.
- Regulations: Adhere to local fishing regulations and guidelines.
- Conservation: Practice catch and release to ensure the sustainability of these species.
Micro fishing in South Florida offers a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse array of small fish species. Anglers can enjoy the challenge and the beauty of the region while ensuring the preservation of these delicate species for future generations. Happy micro fishing in the beautiful waters of South Florida!