Rough/micro fishing presentation

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okcaveman's picture
Rough/micro fishing presentation

The Oklahoma wildlife department puts on an annual wildlife expo to try and garner more interest in the outdoors. Many many booths are set up detailing the myriad things one can do in the outdoors, and many educational booths. I plan to do a roughfishing/microfishing booth this year to give a counterpoint to the bow fishing booth. I hope to have a couple posters printed showing photos of some of our standard and micro species, and have some of my equipment and rigs set out for people to see. I also may try to put together a short video loop or loop of photos showcasing our native species and that they can be fun to catch.

With all that said, I would love to poll this group for advice on things that I should consider doing/adding, so that I can reach the most people. In the past, this expo averages over 50k attendees on a 3 day weekend so there is some potential to educate. 

Any advise is definitely appreciated. I will be a man alone, with 2 popular bowfishing booths set up nearby to compete with, and almost no other "roughfishers"in this state. Should be interesting

Casey Shanaberger
Casey Shanaberger's picture
Appeal to the kids

Set up right next to the bowfishing booth. And bring candy for the little kids. That should sway them in your favor.



(I’ll send ya a DM with some actual suggestions, don’t worry)

"I swear if you catch another drum"

BradleyR's picture
That sounds like a great idea

That sounds like a great idea, I'd definitely try to show off some of the "cooler" looking species like Gar, Sturgeon, big Buffalo, etc. to pique people's interest. Best of luck!

BradleyR's picture
As for micros, depending on

As for micros, depending on your state rules, maybe you could even have a tank setup to display them. If not, some pictures of the lit up ones in spawning colours would definitely get attention.

andy's picture
Big Rough Targets

My advice would be to highlight big fish like buffalo, gar and bowfin.  Big, tough fish.  Exciting stuff.  That kind of crowd might not take well to microfishing. 

uconn fishhead
uconn fishhead's picture
All of the Above!

I would do everthing everyone has said.  Yes, highlight the big bad boys, yes have a section with photos of micros.  Make sure you have some actual hooks that you use for micros - people are impressed by that (likely most impressed by how crazy the idea is).  Anyway, something for everyone will be most interesting.

Tanks with fish are always a hit at these shows.  If you have fish that aren't normally seen, people could have fun trying to guess what they are.  I guess the biggest obstacles probably are:  Do you have the equipment?  And more so, it's really hard to catch fish in most states during the winter.

How much time do you have?  You might contact the Oklahoma Wildlife Department and ask them for ideas on displaying wild non-game fish.   If they're not already doing a similar display, they might collaborate with you and even might help collect fish for you...

Can't hurt to ask.  At any rate, contacting the State for advice will help form a bond and get their blessing on whatever you decide to display.

Susquehannock's picture

The tank seems like a really good idea. It might also be interesting to display some micro tackle and, if you have them, some shark hooks or something. People are interested in both very large and very small tackle.


okcaveman's picture
Thanks for the ideas everyone

Thanks for the ideas everyone, please keep them coming. I work for the wildlife department, although on the wildlife side, so I am able to get some sampling gear and such if needed, so i could have an aquaria of natives. My concern there would be my lack of skill/knowledge at keeping them alive over the course of 3 days. I will definitely look into this though as I believe that would be the most eye catching of all that I could do.

I have until late September to get everything together but will have to decide exactly what I need by may, so I'm just trying to figure it out early.

I an thinking that a loop of photos showing some of those bigger rougher species would be cool, maybe some short video of each being caught, if I can manage that. 

I am pretty sure I'll put together a poster on micros, and maybe have a short loop of micro/snorkel fishing. And a shadow box with everything from my micro gear up to some 10/0 or so hooks. Likely take a cheap amazon "tenkara" rod for people to see how simple it can be. 

okcaveman's picture
You are all exactly right

You are all exactly right though that I will get more traction by showing off the big roughies that we have here rather than the micros. Few enough people seem to care about "those other fish" anyway, much less the "minnows"

andy's picture
Micro hook vs giant

That would be pretty neat to have side by side, as a cool visual and conversation starter.  "You could go fishing at a spot on the river and use very large tackle to target alligator gar or blue cats - while waiting for a bite, use micro tackle to catch carmine shiners.  Maybe use the carmine shiners as bait on another rod to catch a goldeye."


Also, it looks like OK has a lot of neat sunfish species - you could highlight that diversity too. 


RoughFish's picture
My main suggestion would be

My main suggestion would be to educate on the common misconception that gar and bowfin “eat all the bass” and that carp and buffalo “eat all the bass eggs”...... This seems to be what most uneducated people think that I come across.

Also the issue of releasing large fish with great genes and harvesting smaller to mid sized fish so to improve the gene pool and increase the numbers of large fish. A majority of people were taught to keep the big ones and let the little ones grow, which is ass backwards if you want to increase the quality of a fishery.

maurer416's picture
If you have access to any

If you have access to any "roughfish" that you can cook up and serve and advertise as Walleye or some other well known fish that could be fun. Then when they tell you how delicious it is you can say it's a carp and blow their mind. 

Outdoors4life's picture

Josh Knuth has some great prints of Gar and redhorse and some other fish as well. See if you could buy some from him if he has any prints left. 

It is all perspective!

Acer Home Inspections

Tyler W
They can be caught...

A lot of people think the only reasonable way to catch carp, buffalo, suckers etc is to shoot them. Showing that they can be caught at all might interest some people.  


I would also make a point of distinguishing between invasive carp species and everything else. It drives me INSANE when I mention a random native species and people assume it must be an invasive because they have never heard of it.


And, lastly, if you could make a case in your posters that native fish are an important part of the ecosystem even if you don't fish for them. I have opened a few eyes by pointing out the high fecundity of buffalo (etc, etc) but the lack of small specimens. Where do they all go? In to predators stomachs, obviously. Rivers with good sucker runs also have monster smallmouth. Rivers with big redhorse also have big musky. What do fish shooters expect flatheads to eat after they arrow all the buffs, carp and suckers? Even if you don't want to fish for suckers and buffs at least you have to admit they are big part of the forage base. 

okcaveman's picture
Thanks everyone for the

Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I like the idea of letting them try as food, but when talking about potential of 50-60 thousand people, I'm not sure I'm the man for that!

Theres actually been some talk about me doing a "microfishing" episode of our TV show. I may look at doing something like that, then I could have professionally dont video to play.