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Good morning guys,

I wanted to share a link to a blog post I put together earlier this week. It's a bit of a deviation from the field reports and fly tying tutorials I normally post, but I've always been bothered by the prevalence of articles out there on the use of Rope Flies and wanted to put something out there that contained some alternative options for targeting Gar with a fly rod.

Any input is welcome, whether here or in the comments on the article.  I've posted this a few other places as well, and the feedback has been greatly appreciated.  Eventually, I'll update the article to include the recommendations I've been receiving.


Here's the link for those who are interested:

Gar on the Fly

Thanks in advance

Chris

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That's not a gar. Looks like a flying fish.🤔 Good article and an awesome photo to catch the gar in mid air.

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I once caught a walleye on a chicken liver filled egg sack during a catfishing tournament I was in. Caught it when one of his little tooth’s got snagged on the sack netting well shy of the hook. Same thing only different. while entertaining and worth five minutes of discussion in the boat it is generally not a way I would normally fish for walleye so I get your point. 

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I haven't read your article yet but may I ask what is wrong with rope flies, as long as you have with you the proper tools in order to remove the fly with no damage to the fish ?

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We catch Gar on a fairly regular basis. Mostly its by accident. Every now and again we get lucky enough to find a fish that is in the perfect position to cast to. They seem to like Clousers in a Greensih/Brown pattern, at least in my area. They fight hard and run fast. Truth be told though I'd rather catch a Blackfish (Bowfin)

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35 minutes ago, robow7 said:

I haven't read your article yet but may I ask what is wrong with rope flies, as long as you have with you the proper tools in order to remove the fly with no damage to the fish ?

1. The article makes the argument that if you use a rope fly and tangle the rope fibers in the gars teeth AND the gar breaks off, there is no way for the gar to untangle the rope fibers from its teeth. The gar will starve to death because the rope will become intertwined with both the upper and lower jaws. The gar will not be able to feed.

2. What are the right tools to remove a rope fly

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2. What are the right tools to remove a rope fly

You need at least 1 very heavy glove where those needle like teeth can't penetrate.  See below what they can do to you if you lose focus and they shake that head even with closed teeth.

A pair of jaw spreaders like ones often used for Northern Pike and Musky

A pair of needle nose pliers, best with serrations

A really small steel wire brush

A small pick can also be applied but most of all, take your time, be patient, these fish can spend crazy amounts of time out water and be just fine because of their air bladder system.

Assuming you're targeting them, you will have an adequate pound tippet ( I like 10-12 lb test) and they won't break you off.  Their teeth are not like a pike that cut your line easily.  Most short nose and spotted gar don't get that large around here and really don't put up much of a fight.  They are so streamlined that once you get them heading your way, most of the time there is not a lot of resistance.  Now the larger long nose like above, they will put up a tussle and can get you into your backing but around here they can get up to 20 lbs.  One other thing, don't hesitate to keep a couple of these fish as when cleaned properly, they can make excellent table fare as they will yield just two long strips of white boneless meat.  Other fishermen will be tickled to see you taking some out as they definitely compete with more popular sporting fish for baitfish.

 

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2 hours ago, robow7 said:

I haven't read your article yet but may I ask what is wrong with rope flies, as long as you have with you the proper tools in order to remove the fly with no damage to the fish ?

 

I appreciate the input, robow7.  As Silver Creek mentioned above, I gave the extreme (if rare) example of fish that break off.  However, the process of removing the nylon can also damage/tear out teeth in many instances.  This isn't an issue when you plan to keep the fish, as you referenced in your last post, but can be for fish that are to be released.  Additionally, the time required to safely remove the fibers from the teeth is a stressor in and of itself.  Again, this is a non-issue when eating the gar, but an unnecessary stressor to those that will be released.  The same could of course be said for pausing to take pictures of the fish as well, so there is certainly a great deal of personal opinion expressed in post. 

In the end, my intention was to start a discussion on the topic and propose an alternative for those who may not be interested in utilizing rope flies.  Your perspective on it is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Chris

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3 hours ago, Steeldrifter said:

That's one fish I have never caught but would really love too. I did have one in an aquarium about 20yrs ago though 😁

I had one in an aquarium too, about 44 years ago. His name was Schnidley Whiplash because of the way they fish.

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9 hours ago, Mark Knapp said:

I had one in an aquarium too, about 44 years ago. His name was Schnidley Whiplash because of the way they fish.

Sounds like fun, but I think I'd need a bigger tank.

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Had a chance now to read your article and appreciate your thoughts and work that went into it.  Chris, one thing that I've found over the years with Gar and other so called "trash fish" is depending on where you live and how abundant they are, will determine how revered they might be.  We have many bodies of water where the gar can be stacked up like cordwood and there is no shortage by any means.  There are areas where the DNR wish you take them out by any legal means available because they can be agony on local baitfish and panfish populations.  So when someone from an area where they are uncommon, criticizes another fisherman for keeping some to clean, or bury in their garden for fertilizer, or leave on a sandbar for the eagles to feed on, I take it with a grain of salt.

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This spotted gar will be easy to remove the fly and likely no tools will be needed.  Others will require more patience.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, robow7 said:

Had a chance now to read your article and appreciate your thoughts and work that went into it.  Chris, one thing that I've found over the years with Gar and other so called "trash fish" is depending on where you live and how abundant they are, will determine how revered they might be.  We have many bodies of water where the gar can be stacked up like cordwood and there is no shortage by any means.  There are areas where the DNR wish you take them out by any legal means available because they can be agony on local baitfish and panfish populations.  So when someone from an area where they are uncommon, criticizes another fisherman for keeping some to clean, or bury in their garden for fertilizer, or leave on a sandbar for the eagles to feed on, I take it with a grain of salt.

Appreciate you taking the time to read, robow7. 

They are quite common here in south Louisiana as well and, as a result, deemed "trash fish" by the game fish crowd.  And while I take no issue with those who harvest for food or other purposes (sucker were common fertilizer where I grew up), I just can't get behind the wanton waste of leaving any fish on the shore to die.  On that, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

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