Bass, Catfish, Crappie, Sunfish, Gar and More


Postby whiskerer on January 15th, 2014, 5:18 pm

Hey, I usually fish for catfish, but I've been wanting to catch a big gar for a while now. What baits/rigs do you guys use for them? Any help is appreciated. Thanks

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Re: Gar

Postby FishinBeast123 on January 15th, 2014, 5:36 pm

I use a 20lb mono mainline with a sliding sinker and a size 1 barrel swivel, then about a one foot piece of 60lb wire crimped to that and a size 2-5/0 hook, usually a circle. We don't have many big gar around here so this is just the lighter rig I use.
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Re: Gar

Postby Tunastick on January 16th, 2014, 11:10 pm

we get ours by accident while fishing for other things. While catfishing with fresh cut shad or suckers we usually get one every evening. When striper fishing with live bait we usually get one also.
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Re: Gar

Postby Merlin on January 19th, 2014, 11:25 pm

30lb mainline, sliding sinker, swivel, 2' 60lb mono leader, 7/0 circle sea hook. Bout a 2-3oz hunk of anything from the minnow family works great:goldfish, carp, koi, large shiners, buffalo. Really love buffalo strips!!! Large gizzard shad filets are also good. These baits are only for gator gar. For others like longnose, spotted, or Florida gar, use whole shiners from the bait shop (small bass or large crappie sized). To change it up, I'll put a bait under a bobber on occasion. Sometimes it works better...but not usually. I don't like a metal leader. Never had one cut 60lb mono. Seem to have sensitive gums n won't hang on to the metal leaders as well...but maybe I'm just paranoid. I had one over 8' heat up my penn309 once. That's impressive for freshwater fish in the US!
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Re: Gar

Postby Mike Rose on January 20th, 2014, 1:44 pm

Have not tried this personally but I've been told you can take a short, 8-10 inch, piece of cotton rope on the end of your line. When the gar hits it, it gets caught in their teeth and then have a hard time shaking loose.
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Re: Gar

Postby MNsharker on January 20th, 2014, 7:40 pm

That rope lure trick is true Mike. These "Gar Flies" work mainly on the smaller species, and I have met a handful of guys around the Twin Cites area of MN who use them on the Mississippi and St.Croix rivers. I suppose if you wanted to get some sort of super-charged and extreme danger induced adrenaline rush, you could make big ones for Alligator Gar and try to get close enough to untangle the lure from their teeth. I'll stick to the smaller ones though...I like my fingers! :lol:

One other thing about making the flies for Gar, look at various rope colors the way you would look at any other material for flies. You do need to match the hatch to a certain degree, I would think for most "minnow" colors I would stick to white and blue. Maybe try a green and black if there are frogs around the area or if other fish like small Bass are present. Darn it...I'd love to go shark fishing but now I want to get a rope and try this idea in the summer!!! :D lol
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Re: Gar

Postby js1172 on January 20th, 2014, 7:51 pm

Heck they routinely catch sailfish on those mops
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Re: Gar

Postby pier-rat on January 21st, 2014, 6:16 pm

I spend tons of time chasing gar around the canals at home, and the best rig i've ever used for small gar, and gator gar is 2' of 50# and a 3/0 J. In my eperience, circles dont work as well from the relatively small gap between their skull and jaw bones. And I've tried using light kingfish wire before, and haven't had much luck. they seem to spit it before they can get the hook in their mouths
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Re: Gar

Postby GreatWhiteHunter on January 21st, 2014, 6:35 pm

Tunastick wrote:we get ours by accident while fishing for other things. While catfishing with fresh cut shad or suckers we usually get one every evening. When striper fishing with live bait we usually get one also.

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Re: Gar

Postby fishoops on February 1st, 2014, 9:49 am

I love fly-fishing for gar and have had most of my success with small flies, my favorite being a black size 12 woolly bugger. You don't need a big wounded fish lure for the smaller species (spotted, shortnose, longnose) because gar are opportunistic ambush predators so bugs, baby crawfish, small fish, etc. are all on the menu. In my experience fly-fishing for gar is done exclusively by sight - if you're not throwing at a fish you can see then you're wasting your time. Also, the smaller flies/hooks have a much better chance of sticking a soft spot in his mouth and holding. As long as you've chosen a fly that reasonably looks like something he might eat and bring it through his strike zone (within a foot or so of the pointy end), 9/10 fish will smash it. As soon as he hits it and the fly is all the way in his mouth cross his eyes with a hard strip set. Don't try to wait until he swallows the fly - they will not mouth an artificial lure for the same reason you wouldn't mouth and swallow a plastic hamburger.

This method has yielded the best hook up ratio I've been able to come up with (I land maybe 3/5 hooked), my largest spotted gar on the fly was 30" and 7.5 pounds. The fight varies widely between fish, some will peel line on long slow runs and some will sprint and jump, but they are all tons of fun on a 5 weight fly setup. Just remember that you can't tire them out and most will still have plenty of fight at the bank/boat. They do not bite defensively but it's easy to get accidentally slashed and that seriously hurts. I've never gone after gator gar on the fly but plan to upgrade my gear and try that this spring.

I'm not a fan of the rope trick because A. it's cheating, and B. the fish is going to starve if/when he breaks you off.
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