One of the sites I frequent is called Non Traditional Fishing. The forum on this site has about 100 members interested in many different facets of fishing. One increasingly popular interest discussed there is fishing for fish that do not grow to over 16 ounces, or a pound. The term Micro Fish has been coined to reference them. These fish are traditionally overlooked when the topic of fishing arises….and then usually only as bait! The pursuit of these Micro Fish has a growing following, though still small (minute!) in comparison. Though the numbers who fish for them are small, the number of fish species that fit the Micro definition are great. Some are easy to catch but very many are difficult to locate and they often have very specific habitats and unique feeding behaviors. One of the big challenges when catching them is actually identifying them…..because “all minnows look alike!” Often one must resort to counting fin rays or lateral line scales and many times it requires researching geographic range information to eliminate what you thought were potential candidates for identification. Obviously, digital cameras with good Macro capabilities are a must! I recently built a small photo tank to assist in getting clear pictures for identification.
To satisfy the competitive nature of many of these Micro-fishermen and bring more recognition to the sport, Aaron, who originated the Non Traditional Fishing site, organized a three month competition called Micro Madness. During the months of May, June and July, the registered competitors scramble to catch as many different species of Micro-fish as they can….all for bragging rights!
I made a quick trip this morning to a spot on Negro Creek, which is part of the Blackwater River drainage, to try and find the Blackbanded Darter that I have caught there before. They were nowhere to be found, but I did manage to find some hungry Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) – male below and female above. These Mosquitofish must have been doing their job quite well as I didn’t have too much trouble with mosquitoes, but those biting Yellow Flies drove me nuts!