Ever been catfishing and had your bait repeatedly stolen? The culprits take long runs, but when you set the hook they aren’t there right? It’s more than likely gar.
There’s a reason anglers in the know call longnose gar freshwater tarpon. These acrobatic fish take long blistering runs and often breach the surface of the water during lengthy fights.
My friend and gifted guide NCPierman Taramelli loves to take kayak charters after red drum in North Carolina, but when he needs a change of pace, he often targets longnose gar.
These fish are tough to catch, they require patience and crafty tackle configurations, but when you hook into a nice-sized specimen, they put up a heck of a fight. See below the video to find out how to catch these fish.
These fish will take live or cut bait, but you will need to rig a stinger with a strong treble hook. Use braid for the main line and the stinger leader, which should be about five or six inches in length.
Gar are usually found in rivers, but they do inhabit lakes as well. They breathe air and can be seen rolling often in areas where they’re thick. Use a tiny float and a stout hook. Baits like cut bream or crappie work great; tiny pieces. Do not ever set the hook on gar, instead let the fish run with the bait for 60 to 90 seconds as they rarely swallow the bait or hook. Usually the stinger leader wraps around the snout and the treble hook catches.
Gar have very bony mouths and if you set the hook you will most certainly pull the rig free. Instead, reel down on the fish after a patient wait and the fight will be on. Be careful of them though. I caught a big one last year, and after having it at the side of the kayak, I was about to take pics when it breached the water and bit both sides of my forearm.
So get out and hit a river where you have had bait stealing experiences. I bet you’ll catch a gar now.