What Gear Do I Use for Microfishing?

What Gear Do I Use for Microfishing? Microfishing is a bit different than what most people would consider recreational fishing. Microfishing uses more unique, and often more limiting, tackle. Tiny hooks and light rods rule the roost when catching fish shorter than your pinkie finger.

Here is the answer to “What gear do I use for microfishing?”

I had been fishing for decades before I was introduced to the art of micro fishing fishing throughout the United States and some of Canada. I had racked up a life list of 248 species that I could document through journal entries and pictures. Almost all of these were the result of fishing for game species like bass, bluegill, or red drum. I had never targetted any of the small species before aside for bait purposes and that was with a net or trap.

Many people simply don’t get the idea of micro fishing or life listing. Quite often people will question what I am doing poking about with a tiny rod or a small hand reel. Usually, it ends with “I’m catching bait,” and they shrug it off to me being a simpleton. The jokes on them though, as they will likely never see the array of small, colorful little fish teeming at our feet.

Get the right tackle to make micro fishing more fun and productive!

The line should be light and suitable to tie to the hook. Some of the smaller hooks have small eyes so a light flyfishing tippet leader can be used as a mainline. Match your line to the quarry you are after. Heavy fishing lines can kill any chance of catching some wary species. Unnatural presentations can make or break a fishing session.

Tadpole Madtom Tim Aldridge

Rods can be improvised and often tip sections of longer rods are modified. Broken tip sections can have a handle added either DIY style or a rod builder can install a butt. The Art of Micro Fishing offers several suitable rods available commercially now as more and more micro fishing anglers hit the tiny streams and holes.

Telescopic fishing rods are a convenient piece of gear to have, especially if you are prone to fishing new spots randomly. There are some compact telescopic rods that are relatively short when opened and closed. Open them one section at a time and don’t whip them open like Zorro or they won’t be easy to close up. Some spots one can cover better with a longer telescopic fishing rod and B&N makes some longer poles meant for crappie fishing but will work very well with a long or short leader.

Here are some of our favorite rod types for microfishing!

Sabiki rigs are another excellent way to catch micro fish. Sabiki rigs have multiple tiny flies on one mainline used primarily for catching bait. In some instances, cutting the sabiki rig in half can be more productive and produce fewer snags, especially when fishing shallow water or spots with a lot of cover.

Whatever route an angler takes be sure the action is light enough to feel what’s going on at the business end of the line. Heavy rods can kill any feeling and most bites can go unnoticed. Telescopic rods can also close down to fit small bags so that fishing can easily be enjoyed anywhere, even on a lunch break.

There are some additional items that can help make a fishing session more productive. Articles like knot tying tools and leader keepers can speed up retying from break-offs. Knot tools can help make tying tiny hooks much faster, and forceps for removing them too.

  1. Small forceps for removing hooks.
  2. Knot tying tools can help with small hook knots.
  3. Leader keeper to store pretied leaders to make retying faster in the field.
  4. Small glass or plastic container for photographing fish you’ve caught.

Micro Fishing Tackle is Quite Varied!

Fishing rod, floats, and basket. Photo:Dony Surahman
Fishing rod, floats, and basket. Photo: Dony Surahman

Compared to other types of fishing micro fishing can be fairly inexpensive to get into. For the price of a few beers or lattes, one can get started properly. Hooks and lines are the most costly if bamboo poles are utilized.

Many people make their fishing tackle. To the right, you can see Dony Surahman has made a rod, line holder, and a kit from local materials. Handmade and custom articles do not have to look as nice as his (and mine don’t because I don’t possess the skill to do so).

Once the life listing bug has bitten the expenses can begin to add up. Once all the fish species from the local waterway have been exhausted new fishing grounds are coveted. Planning them and taking the trip is where most of the expenses will come from but it’s well worth the time and effort.

Overall there’s a ton of gear any aficionado could gather and add to the collection but it isn’t necessary. Tiny colorful little killifish can be caught on the cheap.

How can one put a price on experiencing the quiet and solitude of a small ambling spring-fed stream coming to life at dawn?

You can’t and it won’t likely be something soon forgotten.

There are a few flies made for tanago and even trout fishing that are suitable for micro fishing. Berkley even makes some artificial maggots that can be used when live bait can’t be found. Generally though, live bait is where it’s at for catching micro fish.

One of the best accompaniments that a micro angler can obtain is the Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes, Second Edition.

Many anglers take photos of their catch to document their species list. There are instances of misidentified fish or fish being split into a new species. Photographs help keep track of these types of things. Using an aquarium sick tank as a photography box is helpful. One day the photos will come in handy. There are other higher-quality boxes available for taking photos of fish.

If you haven’t gotten into micro fishing yet there’s no time like the present. Grab some micro fishing gear. You might be surprised how taken up one can become once one is aware of the hundreds of fish swimming at your feet that have been overlooked because of a bigger quarry. It’s a fun and rewarding way to enjoy the outdoors.

Handmade tackle image: Dony Surahman
Article: Edward Johnson

About Edward Johnson

Edward Johnson created The Art of Micro Fishing in 2019. The platform was created to provide a place for beginners and seasoned micro anglers to come together to learn and share. You can also join the group on Facebook.

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One comment

  1. Microfishing is usually pretty simple to get into. You don’t need a lot of expensive gear. One rod and some small hooks like the Onwer Smallest is good. Use worms and some sinkers and you are good to go.

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