Saturday, June 16, 2018

Get Back On The Gar!

Gar are living fossils, members of the Lepisosteiformes family of fish, which can be traced back through the fossil record to the Late Jurassic. They're also massively under fished and big fun to catch.

That's because these large predators typically put up a tremendous fight, running, thrashing, leaping and diving with your bait. Exciting, but there's a catch.

The Last Run

You see, the problem with these overlooked and abundant fish is that they're hard to catch. Sure, they'll take your bait, run with it and in a fit of enthusiasm you set the hook. Snap! but no, no snap, the contemptuous Gar drops it all and swims nonchalantly away. 

That's because your hook can't find purchase in the bony, Jurassic beak of the Gar, which cunningly plays with what's on offer before attempting to swallow the shad, worm, liver, minnow or whatever you're throwing in. This all translates into the fish being able to drop your bait during its first run.

Let's Zoom In

So don't try for a quick hookset, let the prehistoric beast make its run, then let it stop, meditate, play with the bait and run again. Be sure to let the drag play out to least resistance, you don't want to spook the fish, she'll drop everything and swim off. But keep with her; after a few minutes she'll start to swallow the bait and make an effort to head downstream.

Observe the fish through the technological marvel of your polarized glasses. Is the bait at the back of the Gar's beak, is it heading away from you, have you felt it trying to gulp the bait down, yes? Time to tighten the drag and set the hook. BANG, the fight's on.

Smallest of Three

And I tell you, it's well worth the patient opening act. Imagine the armored ambush predator, and they can be large, leaping furiously clear of the water on its charge to escape your line. Great excitement.

I brought three of these creatures up to the pier today but only landed one, the others were too large and broke the line (#12 test on a light rod). At this point it obviously makes sense to invest in a more substantial rig.

There's doubtless a moral in all of this but I won't draw it. That's up to you.

Fish on,



LL said...

I don't think that the gar has any natural enemies does it (ok, other than man)? It's an armored fish, and a gator could eat it if there was nothing else around - if there are gators in your fishing hole. Gars are clever and lay low in the weeds, waiting for something to tempt them. Obviously you've broken the code because the proof is there next to your trusty rod. I think that you need to find a strong yet flexible leader that they can't bite through.

There is a lake in Central AZ that is said to have gar, but fishermen and the Game and Fish Agency says that they love to eat trout and other fish preferred by anglers.

In the Jurassic period, weren't the gar something like 50' long? THEY would give a gator a run for its money.

LSP said...

There were MASSIVE variants and today's alligator gar isn't small, even today.

I'm beginning to crackbthe code and that's good because there's loads of these beats here and they're underfished -- good opportunity for year round big action sport.

Good natural predator point -- I can't think of any... apart from gators and man.