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Went to a nearby warm water river for some pan fish on the fly....got in the water to see an amazing sight. Huge schools of large "tailing" Gar in the shallow riffles and rapids presumably spawning or feeding. I could wade within several feet of fish over 3'! I threw a few of my normal flies for bluegill and trout with no success, and I only had a 4wt. I'd like to take my 8wt back out... Any suggestions for flies? Do Gar fight? How do I handle them? Are they worth the effort? They're certainly the largest freshwater fish (other than catfish) that I'm likely to ever encounter.
 

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Look up a shoelace lure. Traditionally gar are fished for with hookless rope lures that would be easy to make into a fly. They'll strike anything you put in their face and mostly feed on other fish. They jump and fight great.
 

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Make sure you have leather or mail gloves and strong pliers. I've heard most people just cut em loose unless they know how to handle them. With a rope fly I feel like you would be obligated to make sure you get the rope out of the fishes mouth however as I feel it wouldn't degrade very quickly.
 
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I can attest to the rope fly and its effectiveness. I usually just tie a rope onto a key ring and tie it onto my leader. It works well, they will hit it every time if you get it within a few inches of their face and strip and sink it. The bad part is unhooking them. make sure to let them run and get tired before bringing them in. I stopped because of the hassle involved in untying their teeth. its worth the effort if you really want to catch them and are willing to take care of the fish. It will get old though, i promise that. i know a great spawning ground for them and they are hot right now but i dont want anything to do with them this year.

there is a trick to it though. dont give them a tig when they first hit. once they strike they will usually turn and run away with the fly. let them have it for 10 seconds or so, then buckle down. if you tug at first strike they will get off almost every time.

have fun and good luck
 
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