“Go small or go home”
Sometimes it’s nice to change things up. Recently, while out fishing with Chris (www.fatfingeredflytyer.com), he hipped me to one style of warmwater fly fishing that I hadn’t really tried yet: micro-fishing, or fishing specifically for smaller fish by using smaller flies. I have caught tiny fish before, using small-ish flies (size 14 and up), but had never tied on a size 18 or 20 to directly target small panfish (or anything big enough to fit the hook in its mouth). Having my eyes opened to this possibility, I raided my trout fly box for some small Rainbow Warriors, and tied up some simple soft hackle flies; basically just dubbing or a thread body, and a Cul de Canard (“CDC”) wing, tied on some 5x tippet to my 4 weight set-up and ventured to a local wildlife area with a few ponds.
The trick to this type of fishing is being able to detect a strike. With a fly this small, an army of tiny fish will swarm your fly when it hits the water, but most either can’t fit the hook in their mouth, or bite and release before you can feel the strike and attempt to set the hook. I have found that keeping tension on the line by slowly raising the rod tip to retrieve is helpful, but even more helpful is fishing close to the bank and setting the hook when you can see the strike.
Over the last week or so I have been trying this method and have had good success, catching some new species for the year, and for the Red Stick Fly Fishers’ 2022 Jambalaya Challenge. Below are some of my PWs or “Personal Worsts” from the past week.