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Okay where to began...

I have been working on a line of gar baits. Needlenose Gar not alligator gar. So far I know that these gar are always near the surface and love hot sunny days. I have caught them on rattle traps, but mostly on topwater type baits. The best bait I have found so far is a kvd square bill crank bait with the bill modified to prevent it from diving. I think it's the oversized treble hooks which I curve back in almost circle hook style. I do that because I have noticed that gar don't get hooked but do get the hooks pinched on there face or or the wire leader goes in their mouth and the big body of the kvd is to big to come through it's lips.

Although they bite it very often the hookup ratio is still 6/7 to 1. Does anyone have a lure that has a better hookup ratio? I have some Louisiana boys at work that are requesting them.

Jay

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When I fished for gar (alligator) we would put yarn on the hooks. It get caught in their teeth. Also in my (limited) experience we had to let the fish hang on the our baits for a while before setting the hook.

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I have heard of people making rope lures with no hooks to catch gar. I am not sure how well that actually works though. I have made one with rope I just haven't tried it yet. If it does work I will post it. Thanks for the tip Stren_g.

Jay

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Let us know how it works

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Yarn lures work well on a fly rod. I've had good luck sight fishing them with floating minnow type baits. Hook ups still aren't great because their mouths are so bony. Most people who really target them use natural baits and let them swallow the bait before they set the hook. 

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The small basin I fish is teaming with the Gar right now.  Bass fishing is kind of slow so when I am not targeting snakeheads I am targeting Gar.  Some of the strikes I have had are amazing, and some of the hook ups remind me of tarpon fishing.  They kind of come straight in most of the time but on the initial hook set they fight pretty good and even jump out of the water with big head turns. Then of coarse spit the hook. I have noticed its better not to set the hook and to loosen your drag and work them slowly.  Either way the strikes are amazing and fun to watch. 

 

Jay

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This is how I was always taught to make the nylon rope lure for gar....

 

1. Cut a piece of 3/4" nylon rope 12-24" long but you can use shorter lengths for smaller presentations.

2. If the rope is braided, undo the braids then comb it out using a wire brush (just think Santa Claus' beard)

3. Run the frayed rope through a barrel swivel and tie and overhand knot.  You should end up with about 6" of rope on either side.  Super glue the knot

4. You can add scent if you like or even inline spinner components and beads.  Add a slip sinker if you want to fish it sub-surface.

 

The trick to using a frayed-rope lure is to let the gar take it 2 or 3 feet before you try to pull it in. That way the gar has plenty of opportunity to let the nylon get tangled in its teeth.

 

Not sure if this helps or not.

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This is how I was always taught to make the nylon rope lure for gar....

 

1. Cut a piece of 3/4" nylon rope 12-24" long but you can use shorter lengths for smaller presentations.

2. If the rope is braided, undo the braids then comb it out using a wire brush (just think Santa Claus' beard)

3. Run the frayed rope through a barrel swivel and tie and overhand knot.  You should end up with about 6" of rope on either side.  Super glue the knot

4. You can add scent if you like or even inline spinner components and beads.  Add a slip sinker if you want to fish it sub-surface.

 

The trick to using a frayed-rope lure is to let the gar take it 2 or 3 feet before you try to pull it in. That way the gar has plenty of opportunity to let the nylon get tangled in its teeth.

 

Not sure if this helps or not.

HY nailed it here.  I have thrown pretty much the same setup on my fly rod.  Jsut make sure you have some scissors to cut the rope out or you will lose some fingers.

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This is how I was always taught to make the nylon rope lure for gar....

 

1. Cut a piece of 3/4" nylon rope 12-24" long but you can use shorter lengths for smaller presentations.

2. If the rope is braided, undo the braids then comb it out using a wire brush (just think Santa Claus' beard)

3. Run the frayed rope through a barrel swivel and tie and overhand knot.  You should end up with about 6" of rope on either side.  Super glue the knot

4. You can add scent if you like or even inline spinner components and beads.  Add a slip sinker if you want to fish it sub-surface.

 

The trick to using a frayed-rope lure is to let the gar take it 2 or 3 feet before you try to pull it in. That way the gar has plenty of opportunity to let the nylon get tangled in its teeth.

 

Not sure if this helps or not.

Have you tried that rope lure before? I am just curious, I made one slightly different that I am prototyping. I took a crankbait blank and cut it in half at a angle. Then took a wire and pushed it through tying it into a loop on each end one for tying and the other for the rope. I added no lip because I wanted it to float and added weight so I could cast it and so it would swim true without spinning. I only have a 3" piece of rope so maybe I need to make it longer. I will keep all posted if it works. If not back to the drawing board I go. Thanks Hanover and flyfisher.

Jay

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Rope lures are definitely the way to go if you want to catch longnose gar. Attaching the rope to a buzzbait or spinnerbait body is also a proven technique. Hannover_Yakker's advice is spot on, especially the part about letting the gar take the lure for a few seconds. One thing I'd add is that once you have to fish on, do not give it any slack. Gar have an uncanny ability to roll and wriggle themselves free of these rope lures if you give them a slack line.

As far as catching gar on a hook, you'll have a much better hookup ratio if you downsize the hooks (think like size 8-12.) I have a 2.5" popper with size 8 hooks that I throw quite a bit, and I hook into gar with it pretty often. They'll usually strike it 2-3 times before I can hook up. Usually I can shake them off quite easily if I don't want a photo with them. If I keep the line tight though, I can usually net and boat the fish with ease.

I definitely like catching longnose gar... a good fighting fish and they're just cool looking too. Here's a pic of one I caught on that popper a week or two ago in DC (popper is sexy shad color.)

post-41215-0-70662900-1373485312_thumb.j

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I have caught then on a popper before also, I haven’t found a bait that they won’t hit if presented right in front of them.  I used the over sized  hooks but bend them almost to the shape of a circle hook the big bend that is created ends up hugging their noses,  I will have to try smaller hooks and see if I have better hookup ratios. Thanks Snakehead. 

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If you want to target them with an actual lure, pick up a small WOODEN topwater prop bait. You know, the long and skinny type. Take off the hooks and use small eye screws with epoxy to put three hook hangers on the little bait. Put on #10 treble hooks and start throwing. 99% of your hookups will either be to the skin of the beak or under their beak. Their beaks are BONE so you will not penetrate it, don't even try. When you get one on, get him to the net as soon as possible, they love to thrash and pull the hooks. 

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As everyone said, go with the rope.  Your hook-up to catch rate will go almost to 100% with this method.  I used to fly fish for longnose gar and these suckers would just nip at the rope and it was fish on.  The only pain is removing the rope from thier mouths.  If they get the rope good and roll around a lot on you, be prepared for a little work untangling that mess from their jaws.  Also, don't bring the females on-board during the spawning season.  I had one unload all it's eggs all over the carpet of my boat.  That was a real mess. 

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Thanks Kevin and Lucky Craft I will try both out.

 

 

Jay-

 

If you want to target them with an actual lure, pick up a small WOODEN topwater prop bait. You know, the long and skinny type. Take off the hooks and use small eye screws with epoxy to put three hook hangers on the little bait. Put on #10 treble hooks and start throwing. 99% of your hookups will either be to the skin of the beak or under their beak. Their beaks are BONE so you will not penetrate it, don't even try. When you get one on, get him to the net as soon as possible, they love to thrash and pull the hooks. 

 

 

As everyone said, go with the rope.  Your hook-up to catch rate will go almost to 100% with this method.  I used to fly fish for longnose gar and these suckers would just nip at the rope and it was fish on.  The only pain is removing the rope from thier mouths.  If they get the rope good and roll around a lot on you, be prepared for a little work untangling that mess from their jaws.  Also, don't bring the females on-board during the spawning season.  I had one unload all it's eggs all over the carpet of my boat.  That was a real mess. 

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I caught one last night at about 2am on a chatterbait. Pitched into a dock stall and she slammed it and peeled line back up under the dock, thought I had a monster bass  :cry4:  She wasn't hooked though, hook was just laid between the top and bottom jaw and the hook point was laid on top of her beak. While I was trying to decide what to do she opened her mouth and thrashed and was gone. 

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I caught one last night at about 2am on a chatterbait. Pitched into a dock stall and she slammed it and peeled line back up under the dock, thought I had a monster bass  :cry4:  She wasn't hooked though, hook was just laid between the top and bottom jaw and the hook point was laid on top of her beak. While I was trying to decide what to do she opened her mouth and thrashed and was gone.

M-F I fish during lunch. There are hundreds of gar beaks breaking the surface of the water. I get them to bites several surface/subsurface baits. I once in awhile land them. They are way out from the bank (30-50yds)so it's hard to get my rope baits out to them. The ones I do land get hooks tangled around their beaks. I will make something soon that cast well and has a high hookup ratio.

Jay-

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Anyone ever try taking a topwater bait and add a small 2" piece of frayed nylon instead of a back hook? Could work well. 

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Sounds like a good idea, gar love top water lures

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I did try something similar so far. I took a baby minus bent the lip to prevent it from diving and replaced the front hook with rope. So far it has not held them on the hook. I think I need to add a bigger split ring so that I can add a thicker piece of rope. It amazed me that the rope thus far has not majorly effected the wobble of the bait.

Jay

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Jay, thanks for this topic! It has been extremely interesting. One of my boys has been bugging me to take him gar fishing here in VA (suppose I have to go to the Chickahominy river for that) but I've not known where to start...didn't consider asking on the forum here.

 

Great stuff!

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Darren I can tell you this much about Gar fishing or at least gar fishing on the river where I do. It is great fun! I can see gar beaks breaking the surface or long shadows. I cast and can see them turn, strike, or follow my bait like a shark with fins out of the water. Then BOOM fish on. The initial hook set can be powerful with some out of water displays and some major head turning. Once you get them turned towards you they kind of come str8 in until they get close to you, then fight again. I can say this too if you just want a amazing fight put a rat-l-trap on and snag them by the tail or any other good size fish. It is great fun anytime you can pick your fish and see the strike. I just can't wait to create a bait that works more than not.

Jay

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Darren I can tell you this much about Gar fishing or at least gar fishing on the river where I do. It is great fun! I can see gar beaks breaking the surface or long shadows. I cast and can see them turn, strike, or follow my bait like a shark with fins out of the water. Then BOOM fish on. The initial hook set can be powerful with some out of water displays and some major head turning. Once you get them turned towards you they kind of come str8 in until they get close to you, then fight again. I can say this too if you just want a amazing fight put a rat-l-trap on and snag them by the tail or any other good size fish. It is great fun anytime you can pick your fish and see the strike. I just can't wait to create a bait that works more than not.

Jay

 

Sounds like a blast, and something I need to plan on doing with my son this summer.

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