When you look at them compared to other fish, every species of gar is intimidating and somewhat mysterious. The alligator gar doesn’t shy away from a good fight. It is no surprise that many would decide to target the fish for recreation. Built with incredibly thick rows of teeth that resemble razor wire mixed with a saw blade, this armor plated fish can grow to be the size of a refrigerator. The reputation of the species has exploded in recent years. How to catch alligator gar fish for recreation is a topic that has become more popular in western civilization.
As professional anglers such as Jeremy Wade have popped up on the big screen, attacks on humans are truly nonexistent. This happens even though the gar’s contact with fishermen has risen dramatically. Despite being considered invasive in certain parts of the country and vulnerable in others, the fish is very good at providing a great wall mount, or a few nice pairs of pristine leather belts. Even if your not in it to kill your catch, you can have fun catching them as long as your careful to stay away from those teeth. Their teeth define them as ferocious.
They can be caught using a few different methods. Your success depends heavily on your ability to decipher what they want and how they want it. You can take gator gar on live bait as well as artificial fishing lures from the bank as well as from a boat. You can really be sure that catching them is worth your while. Your bait selection as well as line selection is extremely important and both will determine how successful you are. Follow these tips and tricks to catch more gar.
Where To Find Excellent Water Habitats For Alligator Gar
To say that there is more than enough fish for everybody is to ignore where this species of gar lives. While it is true that they are abundant in population, they are not near as abundant in local availability. They are generally less available than your average lake dwelling fish such as bass or catfish. Realistically, they are only found in certain places and if you want to catch any at all, you must go where they are. If they are even present in the same state as you is a point to consider.
Before trying, you need to consider what parts of that state as well as what water bodies house a population. You may need to drive a few hours or obtain special permissions before you find the fish. They are usually only found in places such as Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, and portions of Mexico. Aside from that, there is not a whole lot more places you can fish with realistic expectations. You need to check the Mississippi River Valley and neighboring waters.
Check weed lines and grass mats that the fish can hide under. They will be tucked in that cover completely solitary just waiting to sink their teeth into unsuspecting prey. Look for indicators in the water. Look for signs and visual cues that can give you a better picture of where they might be. They almost never inhabit deeper water because they prefer not to. Instead, focus on putting your lure or bait in the shallows. This is where they like to spend most of their time feeding.
What Setup You Should Use To Catch Big Gator Gar
Depending on what size of fish you are after, your tackle can be a range of sizes. If you are going after small individuals using live bait, you can use a spinning rod spooled up with ten to fifteen pound braid. Try using a moderate action rod so you have a balance between sensitivity and power. If you are going to go after anything bigger, we suggest upgrading your equipment to a heavy baitcasting rod spooled up with forty to seventy pound braided fishing line.
It just really depends on which size you are going after. Your setup is critically important to your success. For the biggest specimens, try using a thick one hundred pound braided line or even heavier. You will need the strength. You should always try to use saltwater tackle or some that was specifically made for this species. Anything smaller may buckle under pressure and you may get very irritated after. Do yourself a favor when after big fish. Use heavy tackle for your fishing.
How To Hook A Gar Fish Species So They Cannot Escape
There is a very specific trick for setting the hook when you are dealing with a very tough and bony snout instead of a basic mouth like a bass or a catfish. The secret to setting the hook on any gar species is to really let them get the entire bait or lure in their mouth. You want them to take it a little further back into their mouth before you try setting the hook. Their snouts are also made of extremely thick cartilage that require an incredibly sharp hook with a needle point. When you set the hook, you need to set it hard. VERY hard. You need to drive your hook deep.
There is also a method that requires no hooks to achieve success. It is basically a cut bait rig. You wrap smelly bait inside of rope or a similar thread with a ton of frayed, exposed, fibers. Basically, the fish see the bait and try to eat it. Their long and menacing teeth get caught within the fibers when they shut their mouth. This is a good way to target this species because they are the only ones who have teeth that can get caught. Its a good method for the targeted species and keeping others away. We will talk more about this method later. It does work but its hard.
How To Catch Alligator Gar Fish Using Live Or Cut Bait
The Carolina Rig
As far as diet goes, they will eat just about anything and they are not particularly picky about what they feed on. Smaller individuals will bite grasshoppers, worms, and leeches. The best bait for bigger gar is fish. Big fish always prefer live fish if they can get it but with this species, it is different. There just doesn’t seem to be a preference for live fish like many other big fish. They certainly will bite live bait often but there is also no trouble catching them on cut bait.
Regardless of which one you decide to use, you can rig them both on a very simple rig. The rig is called the Carolina rig. It has a few very basic components that are readily available. You very first thing you need is a good fishing hook. If you can make it a treble hook that has been hardened to two or three times strong, do it. You will need the sturdy hook to withstand the abuse you will be putting it under. Next, you want to use a wire leader. You do not have to purchase specially made wire leaders either. You can just purchase long spools of heavy fishing wire.
Cut off a piece a few feet long and insert one end through the treble hook. Twist the wire leader around itself above the hook seven or eight times to secure it. Next, do the same thing to a heavy barrel swivel on the opposite end. Run a sliding inline sinker onto your main line right before a plastic bead. Now, attach the barrel swivel to the main line using a fishing knot of your choice. You should be left with a basic Carolina rig that will work universally across the board for big and small fish alike. Try baiting it with live bait or cut bait that was caught locally.
The Paracord Method
The paracord method is a very interesting way to catch gar because it does not use any hooks in the process. Instead, it uses the fish’s own mouth hardware against it. This can be used in places to comply with certain hook laws that allow fishing but not hooking. It can also be a way to keep more lines in the water if the local laws say only one hook at a time. Basically, you can tie bait to a length of paracord or even rope to your line. Cut off a length and unravel it.
Try your hardest to unravel all the little threads inside. When the threads are unraveled, the fish’s teeth gets stuck inside of the rope and there really isn’t anything they can do to shake loose. You can wrap some bait inside or you can actually make an artificial lure to catch them with. All you have to do is make sure all of the threads snag easy. When you get a bite, put a little tension on the rod and they will shake their head. When they do, they get completely wrapped up in all of the little fibers. This is also a great way to avoid harming the fish at all. The fish will not bleed.
How To Find Huge Gar Success By Using Artificial Lures
Artificial lures are more difficult to use for alligator gar but it can be done. Since they are ambush predators by nature, choose a lure that is a reaction lure. Commonly available lures that work well include lipless crankbaits, spoons, jigs, and topwater poppers or walkers. You always want to make sure you modify the hooks on your baits especially if you are going to be catching big fish. Try to go up in size for the hooks and use bigger lures in general.
They will bite bucktail jigs a lot of the time and by using one that has a lot of fibers and a hook, you can almost guarantee a catch every bite. You are basically putting the paracord method together with a traditional fishing hook. They will go after many traditional reaction lures like spinnerbaits and crankbaits too. It is really up to you to decide what to use. They are very opportunistic and will often attack almost anything they can get in their mouths.
You want so look for them under the surface and sight cast to them. Make sure to bring in the lure right close to their face to get that ever acrobatic reaction strike. You can also get bit by using choosing lures that match the hatch in the water where you are fishing. Regardless of which ones you may decide to use, always remember that sharper and bigger hooks are always better than something more subtle. Cast your lure into weed lines for the best results.
To Sum Up Catching Alligator Gar – Putting It Together
Today, taking any species of gar is hard enough. When you follow certain tips and tricks about how to catch them, you can be much more confident that you will catch fish. This is one of those species that is hard to catch but if you do it right, you can be successful. How to catch alligator gar fish is becoming a topic that many new anglers are starting to try out. Regardless of how you decide to target them the process is still very simple. First, you must find the fish. After that, you need to put something in front of them that they want to bite. After that, hold on tightly.
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