In Episode 21 of the “February Room” an Ohio angler shares his experience targeting modern-day dinosaurs. Here’s a little beta for gar on the fly
A prehistoric, toothy critter found in lakes, rivers, ponds and backwaters throughout the Midwest, South, and Northeast, longnose gar are well-equipped to thrive in just about any puddle. In addition to a fearsome grill and diamond-shaped scales, gar possess a specialized air bladder that allow them to breathe on the surface. For the fly angler, this unique morphology equates to sight-fishing opportunities and heart-pounding takes! Gar eat baitfish, frogs, snakes, and just about anything that they can find. Experienced anglers use a “fly” consisting of a length of nylon rope attached to a wire leader. The nylon strands become wrapped in the gar’s maw negating the need for a hook (some states require a hook, so check your regulations).
While a close cousin, the alligator gar, can reach immense proportions, the longnose is a much more manageable animal on a 7 or 8 weight. The world-record measured 60 inches long and weighed 48 pounds, but the average fish you’ll likely encounter in a mid-western slough will be under 3 feet. Gloves are a good idea when handling these beasts, and keep your fingers well away from that snapping jaw!