Skip to main content

Modifying an Ultralight Rod for Micro Fishing

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

We are a group of avid fishermen: COAF Field Team. We post tips on our blog and publish articles for those who may be interested in fishing!

Micro Fly Rod II

Micro Fly Rod II

Little Bass caught on a Size 20 Soft Hackle!

Little Bass caught on a Size 20 Soft Hackle!

Surfing the Internet

While surfing the Internet the other day, I discovered micro fishing, where the intent is to catch little fish instead of big fish.

The smaller the fish, the better. The more species caught, even better!

Taking the concept one step further, I opted to try catching little fish using small fishing flies instead of bait.

To cast the little fishing flies, I started using a Kiyotaki 18 telescoping rod that could be fished Tenkara style.

It worked well, and l was able to catch little fish. But, as luck would have it, it also worked well for "stocker-sized" Rainbow Trout that ranged from 9"-12" in size.

Knowing the rod could handle larger fish, I decided to do more surfing on the Internet for other means to cast the little fishing flies. Soon after logging in, I learned about micro fly rods!

Micro Fly Rod I

Micro Fly Rod I

Making Do... Tinkering Around

I really liked the micro fly rods posted on the Internet.

The rods ranged from expensive fishing outfits that sold for over $250 to cheaper ones that were around $20 with shipping included.

I knew right away that the expensive fishing outfits were out of my budget. Moreover, the cheaper ones were out of stock and would not be available until later.

I did have a telescoping mini-fishing rod that I had bought on impulse several years ago. It came with a spin-casting reel that I did not use. If by chance a mini-fishing reel could be found, then I could easily modify the rod from a spin-casting outfit to a fly fishing one!

However, I was not in a rush to do this, and I had planned to wait until stock was available from an online distributor. That is, until I noticed a B&M Crappie and Panfish Reel for sale at a local sporting good store. It looked like it could be used as a mini-fly reel, so I bought it.

Once at home, I made a few modifications to the telescoping rod, and using electrical tape, I mounted the reel on the rod.

The end result was a concept rod ready for a field test (or another excuse to go fishing)!

For an idea of how it worked, check out the video below!

Micro Fly Rod I and II

Micro Fly Rod I and II

Round Two

The field test of the micro fly rod satisfied my doubts that a scaled down fly fishing outfit could cast a little fishing fly and catch little fish.

So, going to the next step, I decided to make another one. But this time, I did not want to use electrical tape to mount the fly reel onto the rod.

Shopping around online, I located a retailer selling telescoping mini-fishing rods like the one I had already. It came with a mini-fly reel instead of a spin-casting reel, so no electrical tape this time!

That was all I needed to give it another go, so I placed my order. It included two-day shipping, and in two days, I received the package!

Sidetracked with work and other things, it took a few more days to get started on the next rod. But, after a few starts and stops, I made the modifications that resulted in Micro Fly Rod II. Below is a picture of this rod.

The remainder of the article will walk through the modifications I made to the original rod. Do read on if you're interested in making one for your micro fishing activities!

Micro Fly Rod II... No Electrical Tape!

Micro Fly Rod II

Micro Fly Rod II

Materials/Tools List

The following is a list of materials and tools for modifying the telescoping mini-fishing rod into a Micro Fly Rod II:

  • 1" x 3/8" x 3/8" Balsa Wood
  • Wine Cork
  • Wooden Toothpick
  • Tennis Racket Grip Tape (or similar material)
  • Zap-A-Gap
  • Fine Sandpaper
  • Fine-Toothed Saw (or similar cutting tool)

Modifiying the Ultralight Rod: Step 1

The first step calls for gathering the materials and tools listed in the Materials/Tools List section above.

The balsa wood, wine cork, and wooden toothpick will be used to make a rod butt plug.

The tennis racket grip material will be used to make the rod grip.

The Zap-A-Gap is used to bond the balsa wood, wine cork, and wooden toothpick. It is also used to secure the final wrap of the tennis racket grip when finishing the rod grip.

Use the fine-toothed saw to cut a 1/4" cross-section of the wine cork, and then smooth out the rough edges with the fine sandpaper.

The remainder of the modification will use parts from the telescoping mini-fishing rod.

Step 2

The next step calls for disassembling the telescoping mini-fishing rod. For ease of reference, I have included pictures in the sidebar.

To disassemble the rod proceed as follows:

  • Remove the cap, and then unscrew the body. Once the body is removed, there will be a spacer. Remove it as well.
  • Next, unscrew the front reel seat screw completely, then slide the front reel seat screw and front reel seat from the rod handle, over the rod, and then slip it over the rod guides.
  • Do the same for the rear reel seat.

When this step is completed, you should have the cap, front reel seat screw, front reel seat, rear reel seat, body spacer, and body removed from the telescoping rod.

Step 3

Step 3 details the making of the wooden end cap for the micro fly rod. It uses a cross section of a wine cork, balsa wood, and a toothpick.

To make the wooden end cap, proceed as follows:

  • Using a fine-toothed saw, cut a cross section of the wine cork. I opted for a 1/4" thickness. And then, using fine sandpaper, lightly sand smooth the side that you cut so no rough edges appear.
  • Next, using the same fine-toothed saw, cut a 1" length of balsa wood (3/8" x 3/8" square).
  • Then, mark the centers of the balsa wood's end and the wine cork cross section.
  • Taking the wooden toothpick, pass it through the center of the wine cork cross section. Let the toothpick extend about a 1/2" from the other side of the wine cork.
  • Using Zap-A-Gap Glue, apply glue on the balsa wood's end where you marked the center, and then push the toothpick/wine cork into the balsa wood.
  • Let the glue set, when dry trim the toothpick flush with the wine cork so it looks like the picture in the sidebar.
  • Afterwards, using fine sandpaper, smooth out the rough area where you trimmed the toothpick flush.
  • Finally, insert the wooden end cap into the telescoping mini-fishing rod. It should look like the last picture posted in the sidebar.

Readers Poll

Step 4

The last step calls for re-assembling the telescoping mini-fishing rod, mounting the fly reel to the rod, and making the rod handle grip:

  • Re-assemble the rod by slipping the rear reel seat through the rod guides like in Step 1. Slide the rear seat to the end of the rod.
  • Next, slip the front reel seat and front reel seat screw through the rod guides. Slide the front reel seat past the threaded section of the rod, and then screw the front reel seat screw in place but do not tighten all the way.
  • Then, mount the fly reel to the rod, and then secure it in place with the front reel seat screw.
  • Lastly, just forward of the threaded section of the rod, begin wrapping the tennis racket grip tape to make the rod handle grip.
  • When done wrapping, secure the grip tape by applying a drop of Zap-A-Gap to the final wrap of tape.

When done, the Micro Fly Rod II modifications are complete. You need only to add the fly line and leader!

Worked on Trout, Too!


hbng84 (author) on February 17, 2015:

Added a video from Sunday (2/15/2015) showing the rod worked for Trout, too!

hbng84 (author) on February 08, 2015:

Added two videos of the Micro Fly Rod II in action. Do check them out!

hbng84 (author) on February 04, 2015:

Micro Fishing anyone? Give this one a try... a Micro Fly Rod made using a telescoping mini-fishing rod!