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Spotted Gar

Spotted Gar

Postby adventureR » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:22 pm

Caught a Spotted Gar with my Yamame and a fly (finally)! The Gar sunbath during hot Summer days were I live. They also seem to drive away other fish, unlike Carp that seem to coexist with the other fish. I've been after Gar for quite some time now. I've hooked several Gar, but never landed and released one. The Gar are super powerful and also very skittish. So hooking one with the Tenkara rod with 5X tippet is a challenge. The presentation with Tenkara makes it easy for an opportunity to hook one. A technique I've accidentally learned though is the gentle hook set and smooth or soft guiding of the fish. With fish way to big and powerful for ultra ultra light fishing gear upon setting the hook a gentle guiding of the fish is a must. To much power to fast equals a broken tippet and lost fly. This time with the Gar I slowly and deliberately placed resistance on the Gar and it paid off. The Spotted Gar was approximately 32" long, easily powerful enough to break heavy fishing line. When I finally decided on unhooking this fish I thought it would result in many stitches, so I pulled aggressively on the hooked fish and immediately the tippet snapped not because on my effort instead the Gar's reaction to the aggressive force. The check on catching a Gar with Tenkara is complete. It was great catching this fish and learning a new technique that I'm guessing will work on many other large fish.

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Image
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Re: Spotted Gar

Postby farmer » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:44 am

Cool fish!!! Thanks for posting.
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Re: Spotted Gar

Postby tsegelke » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:47 am

Another testament that it's not the size of the fish that limits the possibilities of Tenkara, rather the skills and desires of the angler.

Awesome!
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Re: Spotted Gar

Postby jd_smith » Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:47 pm

BAM!! Nice catch Jeremy. That is one vicious looking fish. I've only seen them in tanks and TV.

It might be an official new addition to the tenkara fish species list as well.

I'm jealous.
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Re: Spotted Gar

Postby adventureR » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:05 pm

I doubt many will succeed for Gar with Tenkara. I've been after them for a while often a 12" Gar easily steals my fly. The hook must be set without the teeth making contact with the tippet. After Gar caught using Tenkara I imagine sky's the limit species wise.
:D the Gar was quite fun and intimidating at the same time. I used 10' tradition line and four foot of tippet in the creek. At that distance I could easily avoid overhanging trees. It also helped play the fish with one handed control, no hand lining. I attempted placing the fish into my net using an upward pull on the fly keeping the fish floating, this opened the mouth having the hook set on the upper jaw ( looked like an approaching Alligator) while slowly drifting the Gar into my net. I hoped to get the mouth stuck in the net and get perhaps an interesting meal. After placing the fish in the net mouth through the mesh the Gar thrashed. Moving faster than I could see. The Gar moved in reverse and covered a good 15 feet faster than a blink. My thoughts of a short line seemed flawed at this time. Now the Gar looked much more toothy and I guided the fish left or right to lessen the chance for a leap out of the water directly at me. Handling and unhooking the fish also seemed impossible at this point without bodily harm on my part. While it was exciting a fish knocker or beaching seemed the only way to safely release this catch. I decided to set the fish free after such an exciting achievement.
Tenkara Gar fishing is fun.
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Re: Spotted Gar

Postby John @ Tenkara USA » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:58 pm

That's a really great achievement. I threw quite a few casts at gar growing up. Getting them to chase a lure wasn't hard, but I could never hook one. I turned to bowfishing in my redneck youth. :)

Last time I was back in Missouri visiting my folks, my favorite old smallmouth creek was full of spawning gar. I couldn't get one to eat my fly, but I did shoot some video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqtx0k7nNx0
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Re: Spotted Gar

Postby adventureR » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:27 am

The Gar will take a fly on occasion. They seem to be interested in fatter/bigger snacks. I've made a variety of flies with Owner size 4 wacky hooks.

Image

I make a fly first presentation beyond the fish's head and slightly in front of them. A stop at 10 or 2 during the cast is important to eliminate the flash of shadow or sign of movement over the fish. I slowly place the fly in 2' in front of the fish. If any interest is shown by the Gar I'll then make the fly act as though its trying to escape. It works quite often. However the hook set is difficult due to a boney mouth, a wider gapped hook seems effective. They will often grab a lure and let go when I Troll Crankbaits from my Kayak. Many people use lures made with rope or nylon thread that tangle in the teeth instead of a hook. Casting a heavy lure will scare Gar off. They often sit at the surface and ambush attack smaller fish. Trolling sometimes works for them. The delicate presentation offered with long rod and fly first makes the first part in catching them a little easier. The rest I'll have to work out.

My wife and me have happened upon Gar a couple times in the lake forming sort of a large bait ball with hundreds of individuals (Could just be a feeding frenzy). I thought this might have been mating behavior. It was quite a spectacle to see. I haven't come across them doing this in a while but I'll definitely get some video of it to share if I do. Your video was interesting John, I've never seen them act like that here. They will dig in the shallows on muddy banks, I've thought may e for Crawfish of clams and bugs. I've snuck up on them before and been close enough to grab them with my hand. I have also seen on a few occasions very large Gar in schools with individuals moving and surfacing in what looks like Dolphin pods. The Gar are definitely a source of natural wonder for me.
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Re: Spotted Gar

Postby John @ Tenkara USA » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:15 am

Cool info, I'll try your techniques next time I come across some gar. We don't have them here in Montana, but I'm trying to get back to the Ozarks more often as my folks get older.

Gar are amazing creatures, like dinosaurs swimming around in the water. I have the same fascination with dogfish, aka bowfin and grennel. I've also seen the bait ball thing, and have heard it's mating behavior. That's what was surprising to me about the fish in the video. It looked like mating behavior similar to a trout or salmon. There were also fish swimming in deeper water in a pod. Maybe mating is a big process with a gar, they are pretty ugly even though they're cool. :)
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Re: Spotted Gar

Postby Jason Klass » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:18 pm

Cool fish! You didn't use a bite guard?
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Re: Spotted Gar

Postby adventureR » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:16 pm

Bite Guard I don't need no stinking Bite Guard! You would think the fish could sense a metal wire. I bet a Bite Guard would cast poorly. Might need a 50' rod to cast one.
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