I was invited to fish with my cousin Jack yesterday afternoon after work – one of the benefits of daylight saving time! Jack likes to fish for Speckled Trout and usually does well. We fished the lower stretches of a local river that drains into Mobile Bay for a couple hours but the Speckled Trout didn’t cooperate. We have received a lot of rain recently so one possibility for their absence is that the freshwater has begun to move them into the bay where they are found during the summer. Ironically, I did catch a Ladyfish, that relative of the Tarpon, which are usually found while fishing the saltwater beaches. I tried to grab a quick picture – with questionable success – before releasing the lively lady.
Over the last few months I have been reading about and researching existing techniques and equipment for micro-fishing. In my typical fashion, I got sidetracked several times on interesting related subjects. One of these subjects is float fishing. Not having done much bait fishing, I’ve never really gotten into the technical side of float fishing. When I was a kid, the red and white plastic bobber was it! Having a couple different sizes was probably as technical as I got. My quest for information took me to the Japanese Tanago fishermen, who might be labeled the original micro-fishermen. They have created a sport of their pursuit of the various species of the small bitterling. This is a beautiful fish when in nuptial dress and several beautiful photos are available from various Japanese Tanago blogs.
In viewing the equipment used by these Japanese Tanago fishermen, I decided I could probably make floats very similar to the ones developed for their techniques. This was the inspiration for most of the un-stemmed floats pictures. I created various different shapes to see if any have advantages to the way I will use them. The stemmed floats are small versions modeled after various traditional European floats. I will have to determine how they have application to my micro-fishing. All of these floats are turned from small bamboo skewers and balsa wood.
Remember when you were young and it was fun to catch Bullheads, Yellow Perch and small Sunfish with a cane pole? That creek probably also had some minnows in it and the challenge of catching them consumed hours. This was before you were “educated” to understand that proper fishing was for Trout, Large-mouth Bass and Walleye! Oh, and it is understood that you should use the finest carbon rods and billet aluminum reels if you wanted to be accepted as an accomplished angler…..and the fish have to be BIG!
Now I really enjoy fishing for big Trout and such, and also have a few pieces of fine equipment which I value and love to use, but there is something to be said for the endeavor and pursuit of all the other fish out there. The enjoyment of researching the habits and habitats of the Suckers, Chubs, Darters or Shiners of the world to actually catch them, often with simplified equipment, can be a big part of the overall experience. Discovering an obscure fishes behavior and biology and then learning how, when and where to present your bait or lure to them can be a very satisfying challenge.
Part of my enjoyment is also learning techniques, equipment and traditions from earlier periods of time and other cultures that don’t hold these fishing biases. The Japanese simplified method of fly fishing, Tenkara, used in small mountain streams, and their traditions and equipment used in the pursuit of a series of small fish species, the Bitterling or Tanago are a source if inspiration. Making some of my own equipment is always an interest of mine as well.
I’ve created this site – …those other fish – so I can share my experiences in the preparation and execution of my current fishing whims, whether they be Salmon or Shiners, traditional or non-traditional. No matter what end of the spectrum of fishing you find yourself, something here will hopefully be of interest and probably fit your definition of …those other fish!
Arlan Ten Kley