Micro Fishing Hooks

Micro fishing hooks are either hooks specifically designed for small fish, like the tanago hooks used in Japan, or fly tying hooks intended for very small flies but useful for very small fish as well.

The tanago hooks are specifically designed for fish that have very tiny mouths. The size of the tanago hooks, but even more the shape of the hooks, makes them much more effective for extremely small fish - particularly when fishing the way they do for tanago - with a small float, a very small weight and an even smaller bait.

I have caught small trout, bass and sunfish on tanago hooks - and I've caught shiners on tiny flies tied on the size 26 midge hooks. As with most fishing, matching your tackle to your target species is probably the best advice.

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Midge Hooks


Tiemco 518 #32

The Tiemco 518 #32, to the best of my knowledge, is the smallest fly hook made. It is seriously small - not quite 4mm long with a gape of about 1.5mm. I'm not a midge fisherman, but I do fly fish for micros and I've had more than a few situations where the Daiichi 1110 #26, which used to be the smallest hook I carried, was just too big for the fish to take.

It seems midge fishermen have been looking for these hooks for a while now - ever since the US distributor stopped importing them. I don't know why they stopped, but I now import them directly from Japan.

Straight eye, 3XF, variable wide gape / short shank, micro barb, bronze.


Tiemco 518 #32, box of 20 - $9.50

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Varivas 2300 #30

The smallest hook Varivas makes is a size 30. Compared to the Tiemco 518 #32, the Varivas 2300 Ultra Midge #30 has a noticeably wider gape (although still less than 2mm) but also a noticeably lighter wire and slightly shorter point. If you are tying dries, it may be easier to keep a fly tied on this hook floating. I have often seen shiners taking flies on the surface but I haven't tried fishing dries for them - yet.

4X Fine, micro barb.




Varivas 2300 #30, box of 30 - $7.00

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Daiichi 1110 #26

Daiichi's smallest fly hook is the 1110 size 26. Hook sizes are not standardized across different manufacturers. The Daiichi 1110 #26 has a longer shank and longer point than the Tiemco 518 #32 or the Varivas 2300 #30. The gape is actually pretty comparable with the Tiemco and is smaller than the Varivas.

Most micro fishers use bait, often just the tiniest bit of worm to cover the hook point and barb. Many micros take flies, though, and if you are tying a midge larvae, a micro Killer Bugger or even a small ant, the longer shaft length of the Daiichi 1110 may give you the profile you are looking for.

Wide gape dry fly hook, model perfect bend, oversized straight eye, 1X fine wire, mini barb.




Daiichi 1110, #26, 25 hooks - $5.00

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Daiichi 1130 #24

The Daiichi 1130 is a continuous bend, down-eye, 1X fine, 1X short hook. Size #24 is the smallest it comes in. Use it for micro scuds or caddis pupae.




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Daiichi 1130 #24 - $5

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Daiichi 1130 #24 - $5
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Daiichi 1140 #22

The Daiichi 1140 is a continuous bend, up-eye, 1X fine, 1X short hook. The up eye doesn't close off the gape, so it should be easier to get solid hookups. It looks like it will be a great hook for tiny soft hackles. Starling skins have hackle small enough for this hook.




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Daiichi 1140 #22 - $5

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Daiichi 1140 #22 - $5
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Tanago Hooks


Owner "New Half Moon" Tanago Hooks

Midge hooks were designed for small flies, but they were also designed for large fish. The gape is small because it is a small hook overall, but the length of the hook point is too great for the smallest fish. This is particularly true if the hook is hanging vertically, as it would if you are fishing under a float.

In Japan, where people fish for small fish, they use hooks specifically designed for catching small fish. And by small fish, I mean really small fish. There seems to be a general goal to catch a fish that will fit on a 1 yen coin. A 1 yen coin is 20 mm in diameter - about 3/4". The hooks used to catch these small fish have a very different shape than fly hooks. Although the overall length of the tanago hook is longer than the smallest fly hooks, the point of the hook (which is the only part the fish takes into its mouth) is much shorter.

The hooks are shaped so that the point of the hook is taken into the fish's mouth and the hook is set with the slightest tightening of the line. These are bait hooks, and you only need enough bait to cover the point of the hook - either the smallest bit of worm or a tiny bit of dough. When my wife was a girl, she fished for tanago with a single grain of rice for bait. With these hooks even an eighth of a grain would do.

Tanago hooks are available both loose and snelled. Snelled hooks are not popular in the US but the tanago hooks do not have eyes. Thus, if you do not buy them snelled you'll have to snell them yourself. The Stonfo Hook Tyer does make snelling the hooks easier, though.

The only complaints I hear on the various micro fishing forums about the snelled hooks is that it is difficult to tie the very thin snell onto their main line. That is the reason I carry the "tippet connectors" which I highly recommend. They make attaching the snelled hook to your line quick and easy. Try them!

I have packages of both loose and snelled tanago hooks but you get more hooks if you buy them loose rather than snelled. The Owner snelled hooks have a 45cm snell, almost 18", of red mono (Japanese line size .3, which is equivalent in diameter to 8X). The Gamakatsu snells are shorter.


Owner Tanago Hooks (New Half Moon) loose, 21 hooks - $4.50

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Owner Tanago Hooks (New Half Moon) snelled, 10 hooks - $4.00

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Owner "Smallest" Tanago Hooks

Just like there's more than one shape of fly fishing hooks, there's more than one one shape of tanago hooks. The Owner "Smallest" hook has a more extreme bend, but appears to have a slightly shorter point.

I think this is the shape that the extreme hard core tanago fishermen grind down with a microscope and jewelers' files, shortening the point even further, so that it can be taken by the smallest of fish.


Owner Tanago Hooks (Smallest) loose, 21 hooks - $4.00

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Owner Tanago Hooks (Smallest) snelled, 10 hooks - $4.00

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Gamakatsu "Ultimate" Tanago Hooks

Truly hard core Japanese tanago anglers grind down the points of their hooks with jewelers' tools and microscopes so that the hook points are short enough to fit in the mouth of an extremely small fish.

The Gamakatsu "Ultimate" tanago hook was created to eliminate the need to grind down hooks. The hook point is less than a millimeter long.

The hooks are snelled although they are snelled to thread rather than mono. The snells are about 1.25" long and end in a loop for easier attachment to your line or tippet.

I see these hooks as a specialty item - a niche within a niche. For many fish, even many micros, they are probably actually a bit too small. For juveniles, or for the smallest species, or that fish that fits on a penny, these are the hooks to use, though.

They are not cheap at $7 per package of 5 hooks, but then again, microscopes and jeweler's tools aren't cheap either. Besides, if a smaller hook is the only thing that stands in the way of catching a species you've spent hours planning and traveling to catch, a $7 pack of hooks may be one of the smallest but most important expenditures for the entire trip.


Gamakatsu "Ultimate" Tanago Hooks, package of 5 - $7

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Gamakatsu "Smallest" Tanago Hooks

This is definitely a case where something got lost in translation. The Gamakatsu "Smallest" tanago hook, on the right, is much larger than the Owner "Smallest" hook and much, much larger than the Gamakatsu "Ultimate" hook. It's not so much the size of the hook itself, it is the length of the point.

The whole point (pardon the pun) of the Ultimate hook is that the smallest fish have very small mouths and can't take a hook with a long point. The Ultimate hook has a very short hook point, producing in a factory hook what obsessed Japanese tanago anglers do at home with a microscope and jewelers' files.

Gamakatsu "Smallest" and Green Sunfish

However, one thing that I've found from my own micro fishing is that most of the fish I catch don't have such tiny little mouths. (Maybe I only catch the easy ones.) Most shiners and chubs and young sunfish can pretty easily take a larger hook. In fact, the hooks with extremely short points don't hold "larger" fish as well as some micro fishermen would like. A "larger" fish might be 3.5 inches as opposed to 1.5 inches, but it turns out that the Gamakatsu "smallest" hook is pretty well suited to catching, and holding, the larger micros. It is very well suited for catching small sunfish.

For that matter, it looks enough like a scud hook that I'm going to try tying some tiny flies on them.

Gamakatsu Tanago Hooks (Smallest) snelled, 10 hooks - $4.50

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Domestic Shipping

Domestic shipping  is via USPS First Class mail (2-5 day delivery). The $3 charge is automatically added to each order. Most small items can be combined and shipped together without additional charge.

International Shipping

International shipping is via USPS International First Class mail (2-5 week delivery). Additional postage is required but is not added automatically. Postage is based on weight and hooks don't weight much. If you purchase a heavier item on other page, please add the postage on that page, not this one.


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