Gar flies and leaders [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Gar flies and leaders

02-26-2003, 11:35 PM
I have been doing some limited research on flying for gar. The waters i haunt here in kentucky are full of gar. Does anyone have any tips on leaders or preferred methods? I have landed several while fishing for smallies, always with a dry fly such as a damsel or foam hopper? Could a musky or walleye leader set up serve the same functions for these warm water giants? Ant tips or thoughts welcome!!!

( i know, i know...GAR? Well, don't knock it til you try it!)

02-27-2003, 05:46 AM
We have a fairly plentiful gar population here in Georgia, as well; the fish rise every so often, presumably to get some air, and many is the time that I've frantically tried to get a popper in front of one's face, but have not gotten any takers on that front. Spinning tackle is another matter, however, and a heavy monofilament leader was always my first line of defense, as steel leader seemed to turn the fish off. Typically I used a 20-lb. test leader with 8-lb. spooled. Granted, these were 36" and under spotted gar, so if you're going for some larger monsters you might think about using 30-lb. mono or greater. Good luck, and be sure to post some pics if you land one of these prehistoric fish!

02-27-2003, 08:27 AM
Fred - cool! I hope you get one and can post some pics. I think you might have a hard time getting advice on this one because I dobt many people know how big they are, if they are toothy, etc. Maybe if you can describe the general behavior of the fish. Deep or shallow dwellers? What do they eat, etc?

Really cool stuff and sounds like an excellent adventure.

Dble Haul
02-27-2003, 08:44 AM
If memory serves me correctly, there's one thing I can remember about gar....they are very toothy. In fact, they're so toothy that some people fish for them with rope flies.

Rope flies don't have hooks. Instead, they are just strands of mesh in flashy colors that snare the teeth of the gar when they strike and only get tangled even more during the fight. I suppose it's better to snip off a bit of a rope fly to free a gar than to try to unhook one from all of those teeth. I also think that rope flies are used a lot because the jaws of a gar are just so bony, maybe too tough for a hook to penetrate sufficiently.

02-27-2003, 09:15 AM
I remember a story that my granddad told me. He was fishing once, and caught a bunch of crappies. He put them on a stringer and let them hang over the side of the boat, because he didn't have a livewell. At the end of the day, he pulled his stringer up, and there were only fishheads attached. The gar had snuck up and ate the fish off the stringer.

I would try one of those big sunfish or perch patterns used for musky or pike.


02-27-2003, 10:46 AM
check out this website:
has gar and bowfin fishing info. mostly conventional tackle, but some good info anyway.

02-27-2003, 12:51 PM
Try It seems there are a lot more people into this sort of thing than we realize.

John Desjardins
02-27-2003, 01:02 PM
JDJones; the pictures on the site you reference brought back memories.
When being taught to fish by my grandfather, 30+ years ago, I remember seeing gar on the banks of the Connecticut river. Always good to remember happy times with someone who hasn't been around for a long time.

02-27-2003, 04:07 PM

Glad you liked the pics on If a picture is worth a thousand words, just try to describe the sensatiion you get when you come in ccontact with something such as your grandfather's shaving mug, his pipe or his fishing vest. The nose will tranport you back in time in a way that the eye cannot.

02-27-2003, 04:32 PM
I've caught alot of gars in my day fishing for catfish out on the Ohio River and a few fishing in the local creeks. Nothing will send a streak of fear up you quite like a gar can that's for sure. Never caught one on a fly, sounds like fun!!!!!

02-28-2003, 01:13 PM
how about a 'spear' fly ??? :hehe:

I'd say flashy baitfish pattern matching small home water species.

02-28-2003, 01:27 PM
Some of the locals use what I refer to as a "0.22-cal. bullet fly" for gar. Thank heaven I'm not from around here...

John Desjardins
02-28-2003, 01:50 PM
Originally posted by flyfisha1
Some of the locals use what I refer to as a "0.22-cal. bullet fly" for gar. Thank heaven I'm not from around here...

Sounds like spring pike shooting season on some Vermont waters

Looking at this thread no ones addressed the leader issue. My guess would be either wire or a 50-100# mono bite tippet. Anyone else have ideas.

02-28-2003, 11:22 PM
i thought about that, but would prefer to keep the fly floating...may have try seriously foaming a fly's underbody i suppose. when we go out spinning for gar, we usually fish a live 6-8 inch chub about 4 inches deep with a plain cork float...highly effective!!! This may call for an original design...maybe a fly version of a broken back minnow? anyone wanna try and let me know how the desing turns out?

03-03-2003, 10:24 AM
like I said, some flash fiber bodied profile in colors that match the real thing on a polafibre baitfish design. Hook: J-bend type (Varivas 994S 1/0 - 3/00); C-bend (circle hook) hi-tie. Oops - none of that will float - so grab some craft foam sheet at the local WallyWorld and either wrap/glue it to the shank or wrap/wrap it on with a bobbin and tie to that. Maybe a tube fly on a swizzle stick, a hairhead popper, so forth..

JD wants leader - 30#class married to 50# + shock.

03-03-2003, 10:32 AM
Originally posted by flyfisha1
Some of the locals use what I refer to as a "0.22-cal. bullet fly" for gar. Thank heaven I'm not from around here...

This idea might be a perfect three feather flatwing in golds/yellows with a green break and corresponding bucktail colors body

03-03-2003, 08:52 PM
Howdy, up in Ontario, Canada some guys have been fishing longnose gar on flies for years. Bay of Quinte during hot summer days, often the fish float lazily near the surfacein weedy shallows. Some guys wet wade & sight fish them on calm days. You could also stand solo in a punt or canoe & hunt the fish.
Scientific Anglers sells a wire pike/'cuda leader. You could make your own from fine guitar string wire too.
Usually the angler tries to cast a double hooked streamer near the fishes head & tease it to illicit a strike. I've seen some guys snag 'em purposely too, it's your ethics that are at play here.
We used to night fish 'em with bobbers & a cut up minnow on a small treble hook in the Trenton River. Bait was hung less than a foot below the bobber.
I've read of guys using a frayed piece of macrame rope as a fly too.
Not hard to catch 'em once you find 'em. They jump like crazy too.
I once mounted one for the wall, during my taxidermy days. The skin is like fingernails, you need a tin snip to cut through it. Truly a prehistoric fish.
If you guys got alligator gars well, imagine a poodle would be a perfect bait! Yee haw, Dan'l

03-04-2003, 06:45 AM
This one was caught by a client on a shad dart in the Raonoke River last March. We tried and tried to get them to eat flies. No luck. Will try again...

03-04-2003, 08:01 AM
Jack Samson had a piece on Aligator Gar on flies in one of his classics.

Unfortunately I left my copy on an airplane and can't remember the title - pretty sure it was mostly Saltwater Species but inlcuded brackish water too.

03-06-2003, 11:56 PM
does anyone know of or used a double popper...jointed, like a broken back minnow? jsut wondering if a pattern exists or how one might go about creating such a fly...DFix, StriBlue..any ideas?

03-11-2003, 12:21 AM
i guess not

Pat Bahan
03-11-2003, 05:51 AM
Gar are predators. They eat other fish, crawfish, and I would suppose oppertunistically, insects. I've caught plenty on minnow type lures & flies as well as live minnows and crawfish. The so called "Rope Fly" mentioned earlier is a piece of white nylon trotline stagon 6-10" long, freyed out so that it looks like a Fishair baitfish. The nylon fibers get tangled in the gar's teeth and hold him. I don't know if the IGFA or other record keeping agencies allow them or not. (if it works and it makes sense, some idiot will oppose it) :eyecrazy:
If you find them sunning near the surface work a minnow patern slowly in front of them. Like a cripled minnow. If they see you they tend to get lockjaw. It can be very hard to get a hook in one. (hence the popularity of the rope fly) The snout is very hard and difficult to get a hook into. Nonetheless its all fun.:smokin:

03-11-2003, 06:34 AM
Fred - Yes, there are several jointed fly patterns in use. I've seen poppers and crease flies tied in this manner several times recently. One means of tying such a pattern is to tie the forward portion of the fly on a Waddington shank or tube, then tie the rear portion on your hook. Joining the two parts together depends on which method you used to tie the front end of the fly. Do a search on the web for crease flies, you're bound to find one that's jointed.

John Desjardins
03-11-2003, 08:33 AM
Sorry Fred I missed the jointed fly question. I've bought & tied articulated bunny buggers. They had a length of backing snelled to the rear hook before a bunny bugger sans weight was tied on it. the line was then bound down on a second hook that had a bunny bugger with weight tied on it , then had the hook cut off at the bend. I never fished them so I can dig them out of the boxes for a picture if needed. For a toothy fish a waddington (a cotterpin with a loop on both ends) would probably work better than the backing.

03-12-2003, 09:40 AM
Hey Chris -

Some of us older, slower turtles just got around to reading and catching up.

Waddington shanks
double bodied mono snells, one barb removed

John Desjardins
03-12-2003, 09:56 AM
I dug the fly out last night and found that I had just looped the backing through the eye of the second hook. pic below.