I almost subtitled this report Reversion to the Mean. Yesterday I returned to the Beaverkill. And yesterday, my results returned to my average catch on the Beaverkill. Not a single, solitary, stinkin' fish.
For years I have very happily fished the New York City suburbs, where a series of small tailwaters running between several nearby water supply reservoirs provide surprisingly good fishing. They aren't nearly as well known as the legendary streams of the Catskills, but when fishing nearby I almost always catch more fish and see fewer fishermen.
I'd been pleasantly surprised on my last few trips to the Farmington, so I thought I'd give the Beaverkill another chance. I went up a week ago and did much better than usual, despite shockingly low water levels. Following the this past week's rains (nothing close to what they got in the Southeast) I thought with the streams closer to normal levels fishing should be even better. Better, no. More normal, yes.
The one thing that was not normal was the number of micros that were swimming around my boots. In general, I have not found micros to be as skittish as trout, but I have never had them happily swimming all around me. In several spots on both the Willowemoc and the Beaverkill, there were at least two different species swimming within inches of where I was standing. When I took a few steps, they didn't follow, but there were others at the new spot that were equally oblivious to my presence.
Of course, a few weeks ago I decided I was carrying too much stuff on my fishing trips so I separated the tenkara and the keiryu and the micro fishing stuff and only took what I knew I was going to use. Yesterday was not planned to be a micro fishing trip so the smallest hook I had with me was a 14. Needless to say, I didn't catch any micros either.
I didn't - you don't - have to take all the gear with you. But for Pete's sake (that would be St. Peter, the fisherman, of course) a pack of tanago hooks takes virtually no space whatsoever. There is no reason NOT TO have them with you anytime you go fishing. They would have very likely saved the day from being a fishless trouting day and made it a successful micro fishing day.
The shortest rod I had with me was 5.4 meters, not really a micro rod by any stretch of the imagination. However, I once saw a Youtube video of guys micro fishing while wading - I think maybe in a bay somewhere in Scandinavia - with what looked like a windowpane or glass-bottomed box to cut the surface glare and a rod that could not have been two feet long (and was probably closer to one foot than two). They were essentially fishing at their feet or a foot or two ahead of them.
Recalling that video yesterday, I thought I could easily just remove the tip section from one of my rods and use it with a bit of tippet, a #6 shot (which I did have with me) and a tanago hook (which I didn't) to catch the 2-3" fish at my feet. I certainly wouldn't want to risk catching even a creek chub with only a rod tip for a rod; but sight fishing for the black nose dace at my feet? It would have been ideal.
Before long I will have new tanago rods in stock. I did not order them in response to yesterday's fishing, though. A month or so ago a customer wanted a short rod rod for micro fishing in streams where the catch could be a creek chub or small trout as easily as a shiner. When the rods came (I ordered two just in case) I was quite impressed and ordered more.
I once caught a 6-7" brookie on a tanago rod and I truly thought the rod would break. These rods are more substantial. More rod than necessary for shiners and dace, but able to handle a small trout or good sized creek chub or sunfish or even a small stream smallmouth bass - a tanago rod rated for 6X tippet! Even better, they'll easily fit in a Small Rod Case, so you could keep it in a daypack (or Zimmerbuilt Sling Lite or Guide Sling).
Even without the new rods, though, take some micro fishing hooks with you. There are micros everywhere. They could save a trip.