Tango fishing is a pretty small niche within a country that is crazy for fishing, but some tango anglers are as fanatical as any trout or bass fisherman. Basically sitting alone on a stool beside a ditch or canal, holding a short bamboo rod almost as if it was a single chopstick, and catching fish so small that some bass fishermen wouldn't even use them for bait.
A couple of people have cautioned me not to become overly fixated on tango. There are many species of small fish here in the US that would make for very interesting quarry.
Some are abundant to the point of being almost ubiquitous, some are rare and only thrive in a few watersheds. A few seem to be incredibly challenging catching, requiring careful planning and a trip across the country.
Are we as a country so taken by the “bigger is better” mantra that we can't see the small fish in the neighborhood ponds and brooks as worthy? Ultralight spinning rods and reels are really intended for much larger fish.
A creek chub puts up a good fight when caught on a light rod. Even Ankara rods are not really sensitive or soft enough to feel the fight of tiny fish.
Black nose Dace caught with a half grain of rice. There are a lot of micro fishermen, though, who like me are not formally pursuing a life list.
To them, micro fishing is new, is a surprising amount of fun, and is something they can do locally. It was stocked with trout each year for the town's annual “Huck Finn” day, in which all the kids dressed up as Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer or Becky Thatcher and paraded down Main Street.
I'm not a big stickler for formal definitions, so this section of TenkaraBum will be about catching small fish, whether technically micros or just juveniles of fish that get too large to really be micros. And while micro fishing will probably be the main focus, it won't be limited to the dace and the darters.
As the mummichog pictured above shows, brackish and salt water yields micros, too. Seriously, anybody of water that doesn't dry up in the summer or freeze solid in the winter, and isn't horribly polluted, probably has fish of some sort.
I don't know about you, but I cannot drive over or past a body of water and not wonder “what lives there and how do I catch it?” That was nowhere more true than one afternoon driving through north central Arkansas where I happened to cross little more than a trickle of water going over the road.
During escape, puffer fish use their highly elastic stomachs to quickly ingest large amounts of water (and air when necessary) to turn themselves into a virtually inedible ball several times their normal size. A predator that manages to snag a puffer fish before it inflates won’t feel lucky for long.
It can only be prepared by trained, licensed chefs who know that one bad cut means almost certain death for a customer. Some puffer fish crack open and eat clams, mussels, and shellfish with their hard beaks.
Poisonous puffers are believed to synthesize their deadly toxin from the bacteria in the animals they eat. The young fish are protected by their hard eggshell, which of course, cracks as soon as they’re ready to hatch.
After leaving the egg, young puffer fish swim toward the reef’s community. Symptoms generally occur 10-45 minutes after eating the puffer fish poison and begin with numbness and tingling around the mouth, salivation, nausea, and vomiting.
Symptoms may progress to paralysis, loss of consciousness, and respiratory failure, and can lead to death. Artificial respiration may keep the person alive until medical attention is achieved in a hospital’s emergency department.
Saltwater Traps and Debris Removal Anglers catch hundreds of brawny, beautiful and delicious species in teeming estuaries, off gorgeous beaches and in the deep blue oceans surrounding the Florida peninsula.
So close that you giggle as a pod of dolphins plays in your bow wave in the Indian River Lagoon, near Stuart, Sebastian or Titusville. Or, catch bass species that thrive only in North Florida rivers such as the magnificent Suwanee, where class III rapids add serious excitement to a fishing trip on the river between White Springs and the Town of Suwanee, where the river passes through the Lower Suwanee National Wildlife Refuge, pouring out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Whether it’s a red snapper caught off Destiny, speckled trout from Tampa Bay, or a mess of crappie from Tallahassee ’s Lake Alcuin, there’s not much more satisfying or delicious than eating fish you caught yourself. Most places you can find a restaurant that will cook your catch to order.
Florida ’s the place to fire up a young angler’s inner fishing fanatic. Spring break or summer vacation are both great times for feisty, delicious easy-to-catch fish.
The biggest sea trout on record came from Fort Pierce. Sometimes called the “silver king of sport fish,” the tarpon is highly prized for its fighting ability but not valued as food.
Florida ’s official state saltwater fish, this tackle buster inhabits tropical and subtropical waters. Commonly known as speckled trout, it's a schooling species usually found in the shallow waters of bays and estuaries.
It has two large canine teeth in the upper jaw and feeds mainly on shrimp and small bait fish in grassy areas. One of Florida ’s most popular sport fish, spotted sea trout will hit everything from top water plugs to saltwater flies.
Great sport on light tackle, shook are a cagey prey but well worth the time it takes to catch them. The king of the lakes and rivers, a big bass will eat just about anything, even squirrels or baby ducks.
Anglers typically “bottom fish” for these species, but during the cooler months, they can be caught in shallow water by trolling artificial lures. Juvenile red snapper once died by the millions in shrimp trawls, but new regulations have helped this species bounce back.
Red snapper are considered one of the finest food fish found in Florida waters. These fish can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Maine to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and into the Gulf of Mexico.
One of the state’s top ocean predators, king fish are the favorite target of tournament fishermen. They were once used by fishermen in many parts of the world to keep their fishing nets, as well as longlines or drop lines, afloat.
Large groups of fishnets strung together, sometimes 50 miles (80 km) long, were set adrift in the ocean and supported near the surface by hollow glass balls or cylinders containing air to give them buoyancy. These glass floats are no longer used by fishermen, but many of them are still afloat in the world's oceans, primarily the Pacific.
The glass float was developed through cooperation with one of the owners of the Had eland Glassier in Norway, CHR. The earliest mention of these “modern” glass fishing floats is in the production registry for Had elands Glassier in 1842.
By the 1940s, glass had replaced wood or cork throughout much of Europe, Russia, North America, and Japan. After being blown, floats were removed from the blowpipe and sealed with a 'button' of melted glass before being placed in a cooling oven.
Glass floats were blown into a mold to more easily achieve a uniform size and shape. Sometimes knife markings where the wooden molds were carved are also visible on the surface of the glass.
It flows past Japan and meets the arctic waters of the Fashion Current. Occasionally storms or certain tidal conditions will break some floats from this circular pattern and bring them ashore.
A few floats are also trapped in the Arctic ice pack where there is movement over the North Pole and into the Atlantic Ocean. Many glass floats show distinctive wear patterns from the corrosive forces of sand, sun, and salt water.
To accommodate different fishing styles and nets, the Japanese experimented with many sizes and shapes of floats, ranging from 2 to 20 inches (510 mm) in diameter. Most floats are shades of green because that is the color of glass from recycled sake bottles.
Other brilliant tones such as emerald green, cobalt blue, purple, yellow and orange were primarily made in the 1920s and 30s.