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Punching My Tanago Card----Finally!

by Alan Luecke
(Overland Park, KS)

Orangethroat Darter

Orangethroat Darter

I love multi-species fishing. I was attracted to fly fishing because I figured lots of fish species would like those buggy little flies. I've been an enthusiastic participant in Chris's species contests and have been keeping a life list. I have owned Tanago micro fishing hooks for years, but to my great shame, I've never actually used them.

My sad situation is a product of procrastination, consternation, impatience and sloth.

It's easy to put off dealing with strange, new tackle when I have a box full little flies that work just fine. My several futile attempts to rig Tanago hooks ended with either a hopelessly tangled ball of spider webs or the sudden and complete disappearance of the hook when dropped in the gravel at my feet. And finally there is bait. Bait must be found, prepared and kept viable, all of which takes time and effort that could be spent fishing.

A light rod with a light line and a size 26 White Killer Bugger(WKB)has been my quick and easy go to micro setup and with good success. My comfort with the WKB has made it hard to admit it's limitations. It's great for Shiners and Chubs and other aggressive fish that will chase prey, but a fly seldom works on a fish under a rock. Also, even the smallest fly hook is too wide for most fish under two inches.

My conversion was the result of coincidence. With this years' travel limitations my focus has been on small local streams with, hopefully, some new local fish. Probably small, probably just right for Tanago. The seed was planted.

Then a week ago I met a guy from Ukraine who was seining plankton (microscopic shrimp, etc.) out of a city park pond. He dried it and added it to various bait recipes for everything from carp to trout. Said it was the bomb. I love weird stuff like this. I then remembered Chris mentioning an egg and flour micro bait recipe in an article. To top it off I'd just purchased some dried ground shrimp as a stir fry ingredient. Obviously this was all too auspicious to ignore.

Egg plus flour plus vanilla plus shrimp = bait. Kyotaki 18 plus level line plus tippet plus Tanago and a shot = micro rig. I was off to Kill Creek Park west of Kansas City. A nice asphalt trail parallels a small creek that runs through mostly pasture land. It's fairly clear and very healthy with lots of tadpoles and crayfish scooting around.

The first issue with a new species expedition is to not catch sunfish on every cast. The second, in this case, was to catch something other than tiny Creek Chubs. I was so excited to see all these little fish in the riffles. Visions of new tiny shiners danced in my head. Alas, they were all chubs, no matter how small, all chubs. I did find a school of Red Shiners. They are very common around here and I've caught them before. Luckily they were in spawn and I caught two males in full regalia.

With the open water monopolized by the sunfish and chubs I started watching the rocks. I spotted a darter and was able to lay the bait on the sand in front of it's rock. To my utter joy and amazement it just came out and ate it, no muss, no fuss. As a grown up old guy it's a little embarrassing to admit how excited I was (am!) to finally catch a darter. In the past I have actually bonged them on the head with a WKB to no avail. I also caught a Bullnose Minnow which was hanging out under a rock acting like a darter.

Next week I'm planning a day trip to Missouri, there's a stream with 42 species.

Comments for Punching My Tanago Card----Finally!

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Jun 28, 2020
I am envious!
by: BKCooper

I so want to fish for those fish! I keep wanting to get some tanago hooks and give it a try. Seems like every time set my mind to order them something happens and I can't. I will though one day! I swear it!

Jun 28, 2020
Good fishing for micros!
by: Mike Schelp

I live in Gladstone, MO, and my MO is walking along the little creeks in the northland. I use a Kiyotaki and have a BLAST catching the little guys. I’ve caught mostly Chubs, Bluegill and Longears but have got a few Red Shiners and even some small Bass in the 2-3" range. I might have to get my tanago hooks out and try for a Darter! Tight lines!

Jun 28, 2020
Great Micro Madness
by: bill piatek

Hey Alan, nice post. With all the little drains and potholes along the Rio Grande I should try that some time. Look forward to continued micro posts from you.

Jun 29, 2020
Ton of Fun
by: Terry Farmer

I've had a blast angling for Mosquito Fish in the local drainage and irrigation ditches around here. One time I even caught an insect (back swimmer) with the tiny Tanago hooks. Also, the smiles and laughter of folks asking what I'm up to is priceless. Micro is a hoot!

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.

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