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Thread: Gar Fishing in NC

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Default Gar Fishing in NC

    There is a thread going on the question of do alligator gar exist in NC.

    I think it might be worth starting a new thread devoted instead to the larger topic gar fishing in NC.

    I bought a kayak a month or so ago and began kayaking the Cape Fear as it cruises through downtown Wilmington. I soon discovered that the river is crawling with gar. Thousands of them. The last two mornings the river has had a high tide about dawn and I have paddled out at first light and caught a dozen each morning inside of two hours. Many over 3ft.

    As a whole I have found that gar:
    1. Strike lures, both underwater and on the surface
    2. Fight like mad, as you would expect a fish that size to do
    3. Jump when fighting for that extra effect
    4. The schools can be seen feeding providing a target to cast at in hope they might hit
    5. Are finicky enough to be challenging (can’t tell you how often I can cast into a school to no avail.) but still provide lots of action when they are biting

    Pretty much all you would want out of a game fish. I find myself getting more and more intrigued by fishing for gar.

    I think that they are not fished as much as they could be because they are hard to hook, unless you use the rope lure methodology that has been developed. You also have to don leather gloves before getting them off the line. Some look down on them as a gamefish. Where I am there are so many that I can't ignore that much potential action just cause they are kinda ugly.

    I’d be interested in exchanging info with other fisherman on gar fishing tips. I can see topics such as:

    1. Which waters hold gar
    2. What are the best times/tides to fish
    3. Best ways to make the rope lures
    4. Sources to buy the lures
    5. Best lure colors, lengths, scents, etc.
    6. Live bait techniques (haven't tried yet)
    7. Gar recipes (haven’t tried them yet but they are said to be a cross between fish and pork.
    8. Where the next state record is lurking

    So perhaps we can get a good discussion going, and further the art of gar fishing……

  2. #2

    Default Re: Gar Fishing in NC

    Try an 8wt fly rod for some dynamite action . My son and I love fly rodding for gar, we use a 2x streamer tied bendback style .We call them Red Neck Tarpon!!! My son has boated one in the 50 inch range and Piermans son landed one 56 inches.These are game fish to us .Contentnea, Neuse, Trent,Turkey Quarter,Core Creek (Near New Bern)...don't forget the Bowfins. All of these locations are the areas we look for them. For gar we use a bendback streamer in the color white wing with peacock feathers in top. We release our catches ...big gar takes time to get that big!!
    ALLEN TARHEEL FLY FLINGERS " RED X ANGLER "
    " BOWFIN ANGLER "

  3. #3

    Default Re: Gar Fishing in NC

    I have seen them at Kerr, Gaston, and Cape Fear river. The Chickahominy/ James river in VA is a gar factory too.
    Take a Bass Boating!!!
    Life Jackets and Kill Switches save lives.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2009
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    Default Re: Gar Fishing in NC

    Garman Jack sell a rope lure designed to be fly fished.
    See: The Fly Rod Lure

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Gar Fishing in NC

    one note about a rope lure,if your not prepared to cut all the rope out of the gars mouth leave those lures alone they will kill a gar if it is not removed totally,the rope gets entangled in there teeth and there fore they can not open there mouth to eat.
    if you do use them please make sure you remove all the rope from there teeth
    they are trash fish to most but an excellent underated fish by the rest
    grandpaa likes this.

    red x angler and tarheelflyflinger for life -red drum its not an obssesion but a passion

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Gar Fishing in NC

    to catch gar all you really need is some dead or live finger mullets a big hook ,when i use dead finger mullets i dont use any sinker same way with the live minnow just let them roam the water the gar will find them fast.
    hooks i use are a 3/0 alaskan hook made by eagle claw laser sharp with a 65 pound power pro leader
    grandpaa, and hardydk1 like this.

    red x angler and tarheelflyflinger for life -red drum its not an obssesion but a passion

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Gar Fishing in NC

    caught plenty of gar in lake gaston when bass fishing ..in the upper section in the month of june,,throwing minnow imitation crank baits,,will destoy the crank baits after a couple of fish is on...we tried on purpose and caught a few..these gar were sticking there snouts out of water,must have been a hundred gar in that one area that day...we had a good time fighting these crazy fish.....lost more than we caught..

  8. #8

    Default Re: Gar Fishing in NC

    We might try for them this weekend in the Neuse
    ALLEN TARHEEL FLY FLINGERS " RED X ANGLER "
    " BOWFIN ANGLER "

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Gar Fishing in NC

    Look at them in Duck Creek off the Neuse near New Bern back in the creek. Also on the opposite side of the river near of the creeks near the channel drop off. With Finger mullet all you care to catch.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Gar Fishing in NC

    Caught a few this afternoon on the Cape Fear at Elwell Ferry and am planning on going after em tomorrow. Nothing like em for the fight.
    There is never enough money to do it right but there is always enough money to do it over.

  11. #11
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    Jul 2009
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    Default Gar Lures

    Quote Originally Posted by YAKFISHINGNUT View Post
    caught plenty of gar in lake gaston when bass fishing ..in the upper section in the month of june,,throwing minnow imitation crank baits,,will destoy the crank baits after a couple of fish is on...we tried on purpose and caught a few..these gar were sticking there snouts out of water,must have been a hundred gar in that one area that day...we had a good time fighting these crazy fish.....lost more than we caught..
    This is where the rope lures come in. Basically you take a 6 inch piece of 3/8" twisted nylon rope (standard hardware store variety), unwrap 5 inches and wire the rest to your line, with or without a weight. Their teeth get tangled in the rope. Very efficient, you "hook" (rope?) most of them. See www.garmanjack.net and www.longnosegar.com (lures). Garman Jack sells a surface popper that works great. Nothing like a gar hitting the surface.

    I was out Monday and Tuesday morning in the Cape Fear in downtown Wilmington. High tide at dawn. Caught over a dozen each morning in less than 2 hours. about a third topped 3 ft. Great for towing the kayak around.

    Take leather gloves and a filet knife to cut their teeth loose from the rope. Pretty cruel to toss one back with it's mouth roped shut.

    If I get some this Saturday at the 10am high tide I'll bring one home and try fileting it.
    YAKFISHINGNUT likes this.


  12. #12
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    Jul 2009
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    Default Best Tide To Fish Gar

    I have been fishing for gar in the river across from downtown Wilmington. The water is tidal, with about 5 feet from high to low.

    So far it appears that the best fishing is at high tide, or perhaps just before. I have tried it at dead low and not even had a strike. At high tide I can usually catch 10-15 gar. (from a kayak).

    It may be marginally better if the high is soon after dawn, but today I caught 10 with a high just after noon.

    By the way, if you fish the cape fear there is a NOAA tide monitoring station by the drawbridge which broadcast the current level, projected level, and a graph of the tide history over the web.
    See: NOAA Tides and Currents - Home
    There is one at Wrightsville beach also.

    Even at midday they will hit surface lures. It really is cool to see the wake coming after you surface lure. Some of the largest I have caught have been on suface lures.

    Anyone else found an ideal time or tide for them to be hitting?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Gar Fishing in NC

    No gar...just Reds and Cats...not bad!!! had fun fishing with my wife.
    NCPIERMAN likes this.

    ALLEN TARHEEL FLY FLINGERS " RED X ANGLER "
    " BOWFIN ANGLER "

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Gar Fishing in NC

    My wife saw a gar in the Neuse in Raleigh this past weekend.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Gar Fishing in NC

    I fished a small river a bit bigger than the Eno back in Illinois during the summer. When the water got low for a few weeks the short and longnose gar would be contained in a 3/4 mile stretch of water and food i think would be running low. I sight fished them picking the bigger ones out i rolled #3 or 4 spinners in front of them. A big swirl and they're coming, set the hook like a big bass and keep the pressure on . A pair of needle nose and a big knife to remove...Sorry, but i stacked mine up like wood for the little critters of the night.

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