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 - too small for even the size 26 fly hooks. The size of the tanago hooks, and also the shape of the hooks, makes them much more effective for extremely small fish, but perhaps less effective for larger fish. I have caught small trout and modest 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.


Midge Hooks


Daiichi 1110 midge hooks

Here in the US, tanago hooks have not been available so people have resorted to using midge hooks. The smallest fly hook is a size 32, made by Tiemco. I carry Daiichi rather than Teimco, and the smallest that Daiichi carries is a size 26. That is still a mighty small hook, and will not be too large for most micro fishing.

Obviously, it can be used for flies, either midges, midge larvae, micro caddis or even small ants. Many (probably most) micro fishers use bait, often just the tiniest bit of worm to cover the hook point and barb.

If you wish to use flies, though, and many very small fish do eat very small flies, these would make good micro fishing hooks.

The Daiichi 1110 size 26 is described as a wide gape dry fly hook, model perfect bend, oversized straight eye, 1X fine wire, mini barb. Mini barb? Everything about the hook is Mini.

Daiichi 1110, size 26, 25 hooks - $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.

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 may attaching the snelled hook to your line quick and easy. Try them!


I have packages of both loose and snelled tanago hooks, and both are the same price - you just get more hooks if you buy them loose rather than snelled. The snelled hooks have a 45cm snell, almost 18", of 1.2# test red mono (Japanese line size .3, where size 1 is 4# test).

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Owner Tanago Hooks (New Half Moon) loose, 21 hooks - $4.50
Owner Tanago Hooks (New Half Moon) snelled, 10 hooks - $4.00

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. I got in another hook, and this one's a bit more extreme (at least to my eye) than the New Half Moon. I think this hook is called "Smallest."

The length of the point on the "Smallest" hook appears to be a bit shorter than the New Half Moon (although the millimeter marks on my rule are not nearly fine enough to tell). 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.

If you are going to use bait, and most micro fishers do, you won't find better micro fishing hooks in the US.

Tilleggsporto er nødvendig for forsendelse til Norge.

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Owner Tanago Hooks (Smallest) loose, 21 hooks - $4.00
Owner Tanago Hooks (Smallest) snelled, 10 hooks - $4.00

Gamakatsu "Ultimate" Tanago Hooks

Truly hard core Japanese tanago anglers grind down the points of their hooks with jeweler's 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 pack of hooks may be one of the least expensive but most important expenditures for the entire trip.

Tilleggsporto er nødvendig for forsendelse til Norge.

See International Shipping section below.

Gamakatsu "Ultimate" Tanago Hooks - $7

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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.

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International shipping is via USPS International First Class mail (2-5 week delivery). Additional postage is required but is not added automatically. Please click on the button below to add international postage. Postage is based on weight, so please add postage for the largest or heaviest item.

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