Micro Fishing Trip Report

Fishing a warm water stream in New Jersey, I started out catching a few bluegills and rock bass, a smallmouth and lots of green sunfish and redbreast sunfish before I finally saw some micros. A school of minnows of some kind swam past and were milling around in the shallows.

I discovered that if you are fly fishing for micros, you should use the lightest line you can possibly cast. I'd gotten my first hint of that a few weeks ago when I caught a blacknose dace while fishing for brookies. I was using a size 1.2 line and it was light enough to register the strike of a 2 1/2" fish.

On Sunday (Sep. 1), I was using a size 2 line and 6X tippet, and the minnows just went crazy for the knot at the end of my line where the tippet was attached. Every cast, they would repeatedly try to eat the knot at the end of my line. Also, the line was just heavy enough and just long enough, and the fly was small enough, and the water calm enough that I couldn't keep the end of the line off the surface. And as soon as it hit the surface, the water almost boiled around it.

I switched from a size 2 line to a 4# test fluorocarbon spinning line, which is about size 1.5, and deviated from my normal tippet to line attachment (figure 8 knot at the end of the line and tippet tied around the line then snugged up against the figure 8 knot). Instead, I tied the tippet directly to the line with a double surgeon's knot. The resulting knot was much smaller (and wasn't bright orange) so it didn't attract much attention. As light as the 4# fluorocarbon is, with a relatively short 9' line and good casting form, it actually casts relatively well.

Pheasant tail nymph tied on a size 26 hookSize 26 pheasant tail nymph
Creek chub caught with the size 26 pheasant tail nymph

I had a spool of 9X tippet that I'd bought at a fly tying demonstration a bit over a year ago, and I threw it into my backpack to use with the small flies in case I saw any micros. Unfortunately,  I found out that there was only about a foot and a half of tippet left on the spool so I had to use 6X, which looks way too thick for a size 26 fly.

It seems creek chubs aren't all that leader shy. Maybe not many fish are leader shy when you use 6X tippet, but compared to the size of the fly it still seems too thick.

In addition to the pheasant tail nymph, I also tried a size 26 Killer Bug tied with some of the blue yarn. It seems creek chubs like blue. Who knew?

Creek chub in Micro Photo Box

I also found that if I cast a small fly into the middle of the school of minnows, one of them would hit it immediately. I didn't even have to wait for the line to register the tap. I ended up catching quite a few, and not all of them were creek chubs. Some were either spotfin or satinfin shiners. My photos weren't quite clear enough to get a positive ID, but based on the number of rays on the anal fin, the fish I chose to photograph seems more likely to be a satinfin shiner. Either one is a new species for me.

Satinfin Shiner in Micro Photo Box

We then drove to a different spot on the stream and found different fish. As soon as we got there, I saw some micros in the shallows. They did not swim away as I approached, and almost lined up like small sunfish, as if asking if I was going to feed them.

Banded Killifish in Micro Photo Box

It turns out they were banded killifish, another new species.The vertical bands are the fish. The spots are parasites. There were lots of the banded killifish and I caught several in each of a few different locations on the stream.

Spottail Shiner in Micro Photo Box

The last fish of the day was another new species, a spottail shiner. It was also caught by casting into a small school of the shiners and immediately "setting the hook" before any indication whatsoever of a strike. The fish are unbelievably fast and attacked anything that fell into the water and was small enough for them to take.

TenkaraBum Home > Micro Fishing Trip Reports > Micro Fishing Trip Report 9-1-13

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