According to this story on Worldrecordsacademy.org, Kentucky angler Andy Pelphrey is the new Guinness record holder for catching the smallest fish ever on rod and reel. That’s it in the photo. It’s a blacknose dace and, frankly, it’s a little funny looking to me. If we were talking about a weight record, I might suggest Pelphrey shoved a split-shot down its gullet to boost the poundage. Kidding aside, the dace measured 2.4 inches and was legitimately hooked in the mouth. Pelphrey used an itty-bitty piece of wax worm on a hook I can only imagine would be used to tie the tinniest of midge flies. Just so we’re clear, this was no accidental catch; Pelphrey was fishing for the record and said it was some of the toughest fishing he’d ever done.
If you’ve ever fished a native brook trout or cutthroat stream–the kind you can jump across–then you know that catching little fish can be much harder than hooking big ones. I once fished such a stream in Pennsylvania in the middle of summer. From 50 yards away I could see the tiny brookies rising in a pool, but if I got within 30 feet, they disappeared. I caught one fish all day when I managed to get a fly under an overhanging rhododendron with my 2-weight rod from 50 feet away. It was a very lucky cast.
What are the smallest fish you’ve ever pursued on purpose?