Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It takes two to tanago.

Yesterday I went out to try and catch a tiny little fish. Armed with some #26 hooks and a little 0.15g dibber float I visited Yellowcraig Beach in East Lothian and after an hour of staring into over a dozen intertidal rockpools, trying to see through the ripples being produced on the surface by the light rain that was constantly falling, I finally located my target, a two spotted goby.

Here's a two spotted goby I caught last November from a rockpool in East Lothian.

It was suspended fairly high up in the water and only its head was visible, its tail nestled into some weed on the side of the rockpool wall. I'm not sure how I even managed to see it but I was relieved I had and the "fun" could begin. The fish was even smaller than the one above at roughly 20mm long so I knew catching it was going to be very tricky. Hastily baiting the very tip of my tiny hook with a tiny piece of Angleworm I lowered it in well away from the fish and slowly pulled it back into range. Straight away it eagerly came out from its hiding place and attacked. Rather than wait for the float to move I watched the tiny bait and as soon as I thought the fish had taken it into its mouth I lifted my rod tip with a short sharp tug. This was repeated multiple times over the next half an hour or so until the little fish got bored and began to completely ignore my efforts. I was surprised the fish had been so persistent and whilst it had been quite frustrating, in a kind of twisted masochistic sense, I actually enjoyed the challenge of trying to hook it. By this point I was rather wet and whilst I did attempt to locate another two spotted goby to annoy, I failed to do so, resigned myself to a blank and headed home. When I got in I went straight online and ordered myself some snelled Owner Smallest Tanago hooks and a few Owner Micro Floats. Tanago is what the Japanese call bitterling and in Tanago fishing the objective is to catch the smallest bitterling you can. In fact the aspiration of many Japanese Tanago fisherman is to catch one that will fit on a one yen coin.

A bitterling. Another little fish I caught last year but big by Japanese standards.
The Tanago hooks are obviously tiny but the pattern also has an extremely short hook point that is not even 1mm long so that tiny fish can get the hook point into their mouths. I think these will be perfect for  micro fishing for two spotted goby, fifteen spined stickleback and other small fish with tiny mouths.

Hopefully it won't take too long for my package of little hooks to arrive so I can go and have another go for the little fish that will edge me a bit closer to my target of fifty saltwater species from around Scotland in 2015. 

Speaking of this goal, whilst writing this post I realised that catching the two spotted goby last November meant that I had caught at least forty eight saltwater species from Scottish venues over the course of the last year. Quickly looking back over last year's catch reports I discovered that on the 21st of September last year I caught a ling and a pouting from Loch Etive, two species I've also not caught yet in 2015. This means that over the course of a full year from 21st of September 2014 to 20th September 2015 I've caught fifty saltwater species from Scottish venues! Obviously I'm delighted to have reached this milestone even if I was unaware of doing so when I caught the shore rockling twelve days ago. This doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying to catch fifty species in 2015 though and maybe my new Tanago hooks will help me do it!

Tight lines, Scott.

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