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Discussion Starter #1
I wanted to start this thread to get some input from more experienced anglers, as I really just started getting into this great sport a couple years ago. While my buddy and I have caught a few gar in the past year since we discovered them, we are far from proficient at hooking them consistently. For every fish we landed there were 10 that hit hard and didn't set. I've been looking around online for some new rig types and tried a few with little luck. I would love to hear about (and see) what kind of rigs you guys n gals use to consistently land these beasts.

As a starting point, we caught every one of the gar photographed below on floats about 18-24" deep with a live or cut bait, typically hooked the bait through the middle as we found that if we lipped the bait fish, the gar would just sever the bait in half and take the end. We typically just let the current take the float downstream in very light current, and they would smash it as it drifted towards the shallower slower moving water. Also, worth noting is that all of the gar we got last year were caught in June / July.

So far this year I've been trying the same technique, and gotten a handful of gar takes, but none set. I've also added a frayed rope about 5-6" long to the top of the hook with live bait below hoping that the teeth will get stuck in the rope as I've seen on other forums / youtube. This technique seems to work better in theory than in reality.

Do you run small or large hooks? Trebles?
Rope or shoestrings?
Jig or let it drift? Add a spinner?

Any suggestions / photos of your gar rigs would be much appreciated.

Good luck!


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Actually the cotton rope is best, I guided for them for years in SW Ohio all with a flyrod and the rope fly, hookup ratios are more like 2/3, Ive landed several in the 46-48" range and over 8 lbs, true trophys! love the fight and aerobatics and last second runs, all tackle testers...LOL
 

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My friend used to have good luck with a large hook and a blue gill fillet.Cast past them and keep it on top of the water moving in front of them.Had a pretty good hook set rate.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
nice gar... are ya afraid somebody might know you? lol
I can't have my clients seeing me in my "Creekboy" mode haha. Some of the photos are of my buddy holding the fish, so I figured I'd be consistent and block all the faces.
 

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Actually the cotton rope is best, I guided for them for years in SW Ohio all with a flyrod and the rope fly, hookup ratios are more like 2/3, Ive landed several in the 46-48" range and over 8 lbs, true trophys! love the fight and aerobatics and last second runs, all tackle testers...LOL
I'll try the cotton rope, and let you know how it goes. Thanks for the tip! Do you typically jig with a lure or let it float with live bait?
 

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We always sight fished them. Cast no more then about 18" in front of them. Once they follow they will sink behind it and then youll feel the extra weight on the rig. Its on from there. Youll need a good leather glove and long nose pliers to unhook them.
 

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Pete. Look for mud bottomed slow water. They will be there. Lol. The lower gmr and lmr are loaded with them through the summer
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We always sight fished them. Cast no more then about 18" in front of them. Once they follow they will sink behind it and then youll feel the extra weight on the rig. Its on from there. Youll need a good leather glove and long nose pliers to unhook them.
Right on. I'm a bank angler so sight fishing can be a little tough. We've got a few good spots that should be perfect conditions now that the water is down. We're gonna try a few different rigs and techniques this weekend. I'll report back and let you guys know how we do. I really appreciate your expertise and willingness to share. Thanks fellas.
 

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I haven't fished for them since I was a kid ,fishing upper brush creek or an occasional one banking on the river . Always used steel leaders. That's something I haven't thought of in years. The muddy bottoms around camp on the river should be a good spot. Have to get out and look for them.
 

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Great topic. I like gar, and they are good eating too (out of LMR). I use cut bait with a frayed nylon rope tied above the hook. Don't have too much rope hanging though. Probably allow 3" or so of rope below the knot above the hook. If you're not having much luck, go with a longer rope, but not too much to where the gar can't distinguish a tasty treat on the hook. Let them run with the bait for a while and just reel in. You don't "set the hook" on a rope rig. The hook is there to just hold the bait. Look for them in pools and in the current seams of the OHR tributaries. I find them mostly in late June, July and most of August. Good luck!
 

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I dont fish for gar, but ive seen plenty of different ways too. If i was going too, i would keep the float but ditch the rope. Use two small treble hooks, tied inline with each other, using egg snell knots. Also use heavy florocarbon for the leader. Basically a carolina rig, ditching the sinker and adding the float. Do not set your hooks until the gar has run quite awhile with your bait. You want him to swalllow it. He should get a least one treble into his stomach and then he's yours. Just have something with you to cut the line right at his gullet, his stomach acids will disolve the hook. Another way to do it would be to just wrap your bait with panty hose, his teeth will not come off of them. But itll be a mess to unhook.
 

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I have a buddy that got into gar fishing for a few summers when he found an old pond that was connected to a local flow and it was full of them. He used the frayed rope trick where he shoved a short piece onto the hook of a terminator spinner bait. he said he had more luck pulling the skirt off and somehow sliding some panty hose over the head of the lure then putting the skirt back on to kind of puff the panty hose out if that makes sense? I'm not sure how he accomplished it as I never went with him, but I'd be afraid of the panty hose ripping or something with a fish pulling back on it??? I'm sure something could be rigged up to save it though.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
View attachment 239338 View attachment 239340 View attachment 239341 I catch plenty on 6lb mono no leader, there scales are rougher on your line than there teeth.
They're certainly a blast to chase !
Good luck and Good Fishing !
Beautiful fish garhtr! I'm addicted to chasing them since I caught my first one last year, I haven't caught any big ones yet, but man it's a rush when you hook into one. Tough to tell from the picture, is that just a tube with a 1/4 oz. jighead? Did you add that piece of rope?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
We managed to get out for a couple hours this past weekend one afternoon. We were on the water from around 4-8 and narrowly avoided a skunk with a softshell turtle caught on catfish rig. We were using our tried and true method of floating some live and cut shad and shiners about 18" down on the edge of a deep cut in the slower water. We tried with and without rope, and shoelace, no bites on the floats. We did however have a couple bottom rigs set up that got a few bites. We had whole fish on the bottom, had a couple that took the bait just like a gar would, waited... waited... for about 45 seconds (felt like forever) then went to reel and he spat it out. Checked the bait afterwards and it was severed clean in half. Hoping to get back out this weekend as the water gets lower and they have less places to hide.

Thanks for all the tips fellas. I'll keep trying and let you all know how we do.
 
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