How to fish for alligator gar

Updated on May 21, 2022 by Donny Karr

One of the most unique species of fish that anglers target in the southeastern United States is the alligator gar. These gnarly creatures are capable of growing to immense sizes and often tip the scales at more than 200 pounds in some areas.

If you’re curious about how to catch alligator gar and you’re looking for information about fishing for these prehistoric-looking fish, we’ve compiled this article on some of the most prominent alligator gar fishing tips you need to know.

Alligator Gar Overview

Many anglers who have fished along rivers in the southeast portion of America commonly target alligator gar, but others often catch them while fishing for other species like catfish or even crappie. I’ve caught alligator gar in places where I didn’t expect them to be and they are much more prevalent than many anglers realize in lakes that connect to large river systems throughout the South.

Biologists believe that the alligator gar is a fish that’s managed to somehow survive for over 100 million years into the present day (source). While the alligator gar is native to North America, they can also be found in parts of Asia as they have been brought to different regions like Thailand illegally to be farmed and cultivated. They feed on a variety of different creatures that live in freshwater lakes and rivers. This includes everything from turtles to ducks and other small animals as alligator gar are mostly opportunistic feeders.

Most alligator gar will grow to be about 4 to 6 feet long and will typically weigh up to 100 or 150 pounds. However, there are instances where alligator gar might grow to be twice that size if they have the right habitat and diet. This is usually true in areas that are further south where the warm weather allows alligator gar to have more abundant food choices and longer growing seasons.

Alligator Gar Fishing Tips

Alligator gar are typically targeted using a variety of different methods that include bowfishing, trot-lines, as well as using a rod and reel. Catching an alligator gar on a rod and reel can be extremely challenging due to their immense size, coupled with the fact that you’re usually going to be fighting them against a river current. They might also get tangled up around large stumps, rocks or other debris that are commonly found in rivers.

If you’re one of the few anglers who intend to target alligator gar using a rod and reel, you’ll need to expect to encounter a few obstacles along the way. It’s common to have snags and hang-ups when fishing for alligator gar, so if you’re in an area where there happens to be a lot of debris in the water, you’ll want to use a very heavy line that will allow you to pull it free.

It’s important that you use a long steel leader when fishing for alligator gar as this will protect your line from being cut by the fish’s sharp teeth, or having the line snapped by rubbing against underwater objects.

Topwater Fishing for Alligator Gar

One of the most exciting ways of catching alligator gar is to use topwater lures that you might commonly expect to employ while fishing for bass or other species. The bulk of an alligator gar’s diet consists of various creatures that are mostly found on the water’s surface, which makes topwater lures a great choice for luring these fish in for a bite.

The best topwater lures for alligator gar are typically those that closely resemble baitfish. A large topwater popper is always a good choice, especially one that has a color pattern that mimics certain types of fish found in the waterway you’re fishing in. I personally fish in rivers where there are abundant populations of bluegill and sunfish, so I like to use topwater poppers that have blue, orange and green colors as this usually appeals to the alligator gar in that particular river.

One of my absolute favorite choices of topwater lures for alligator gar is the River2Sea Whopper Plopper lure. I like to use the 5-inch version of this lure in the bluegill color pattern as this is often very productive in getting alligator gar of all sizes to bite. These types of lures are especially effective when the water is relatively clear on rivers where there are good numbers of alligator gar.

Natural Bait

The best overall way to attract a bite from an alligator gar is to use natural or live bait. This can be anything from minnows to chicken livers or shiners. These fish are not known for being overly picky and most anglers who are fishing for catfish or other species in rivers or lakes where alligator gar are present often catch gar instead of the fish they’re targeting.

If you’re fishing in a river with fast-moving current, it’s best to have a heavy sinker on your line to keep it in place and prevent it from being swept downstream with the current. If you’re fishing from a boat, you can fish without a sinker and allow the bait to float in the current using a bobber or cork.

I’ve found that most alligator gar tend to bite more often if you’re fishing closer to the surface using a bobber and natural bait. It’s best to use a large treble hook because these large fish can be a bit finicky with their prey at times. Alligator gar often hold their prey in their mouth and will swim far away from the site where they initially bit the creature (or bait, in this instance) before they will begin the process of swallowing it.

Best Tackle for Alligator Gar

It’s best to have heavy tackle and gear for alligator gar. Most of these fish will be quite a bit larger than anything else you’re probably used to and it’s easy to get caught being unprepared if you’re trying to catch something like catfish and you actually catch a large alligator gar. If you’re specifically fishing for alligator gar, it’s best to have fishing line that’s no less than 40 pound test. I typically use 50 or 60 pound test if I’m trying to catch gar and I like to also use braided line when fishing in fast-moving rivers.

Alligator gar are known as some of the toughest-fighting fish in North America. It’s not uncommon for anglers to take more than half-an-hour to land a full-grown alligator gar. They will usually pull extremely hard when first hooked and will gradually tire out over the course of several minutes.

Sometimes, it’s common for alligator gar to sit completely still once they are initially hooked. Many times when I’ve caught a large alligator gar, I thought I had been hung on something on the river-bottom for the first few moments until the fish pulled away.


Alligator gar are quite prevalent in rivers and lakes throughout the southeastern United States. These fish are very exciting to target and are one of the largest freshwater fish species in the world. If you’re going to fish for them, you can use the tips and information we’ve provided as a good head-start in catching and landing your first gar.

The alligator gar bears no relation to alligators, but with its wide, crocodilian head and razor-sharp teeth, it’s easy to see how this giant fish got its name.


The largest of seven known gar species, this megafish has a torpedo-shaped body in olive brown and comes armored with glistening scales. It can grow up to 10 feet long, and historical reports suggest it may grow to weigh nearly 350 pounds. This makes it the largest fish species in North America that spends almost all its time in freshwater. (The white sturgeon is often considered North America’s largest freshwater fish, but it spends substantial time in salt water.)

Range and habitat

The prehistoric relatives of the species first appeared 157 million years ago and inhabited many parts of the world. Today, however, gars live only in North and Central America. Alligator gars were historically found throughout the Mississippi River Valley and may have even existed as far north as Iowa and as far west as Kansas and Nebraska.

Today alligator gars are known only to live in the lower Mississippi River Valley, from Oklahoma to the west, Arkansas to the north, Texas and portions of Mexico to the south, and east to Florida.

Alligator gars are able to tolerate brackish and even salt water, but they prefer the sluggish pools and backwaters of large rivers, swamps, bayous, and lakes. The fish’s thick, spongy, and highly vascular air bladder behaves like a lung to aerate the alligator gar’s blood. It also allows the fish to gulp air to “breathe” in waters with low oxygen. It may obtain as much as 70 percent of the oxygen it needs from the atmosphere.


Although they may look ferocious, alligator gars pose no threat to humans and there are no known attacks on people.

They can pose a passive danger, though: The fish’s eggs are poisonous to humans if ingested. The toxicity of gar eggs serves as a defense mechanism against predators such as crustaceans.

Alligator gars have few natural predators, though alligators have been known to attack them, and young fish are preyed upon by other species.

Adult alligator gars primarily prey on fish, but they are opportunistic feeders who also eat blue crabs, small turtles, waterfowl or other birds, and small mammals.

Rehabilitated image

In the past, the gars developed a bad, but largely undeserved reputation as “trash fish” among anglers who believed they damaged nets and devoured game fish. Resource managers commonly recommending culling them, and throughout the 20th century the alligator gar numbers plummeted, with only Texas and Louisiana maintaining stable populations.

When other fish won’t bite, try something different and tie on a lure with no hooks

Late summer can be a bummer for Michigan anglers. The “dog days” heat tends to put bass, pike, and walleye into a slump in many inland lakes. The same heat that drives other fish to sulk in the depths has the opposite effect on another under-appreciated sport fish – the longnose gar.

Hot, calm summer days are perfect for gar fishing for a couple of reasons. First, gar tend to feed most actively on small open-water forage fish like young-of-the year gizzard shad at this time of year. The other reason is a bit surprising. Gar breathe air, and since hot water is low in oxygen gar tend to rise to the surface and gulp air into their swim bladder more frequently during late summer.

How to fish for alligator gar

Where to look

Longnose gar (not to be confused with alligator gar) often congregate in deep river holes or deep water in inland lakes, but they typically suspend five to ten feet below the surface. If you see one gar surface to gulp air there is a good chance that more are suspended nearby. Longnose gar are most abundant in nutrient-rich inland lakes, large rivers, and Great Lakes waters. The western basin of Lake Erie, Muskegon Lake, the lower Grand River, the Maple River, and inland lakes including Wabasis Lake and Kent Lake are all known for producing Master Angler-sized gar.

No hooks needed

The head and mouth of a longnose gar are extremely bony. There is virtually no place to set a hook, although occasionally a small and extremely sharp treble hook will catch in the side of the mouth. Because of this, gar can easily steal bait intended for other fish. I have gone through dozens of minnows before finally managing to properly set the hook on a gar.

The best way to land a gar involves using nylon rope or twine to tangle in a gar’s teeth. How do you know if your rope will work? Run a comb through it. If the teeth of the comb catch in the unraveled nylon fibers then so will the teeth of a gar.

Once you find a rope that works, the possibilities for lure design are endless. These can be as simple as hookless flies consisting of no more than the rope itself. Rope can also be used to replace the hook of an in-line spinner, the skirt of a spinnerbait, or the bucktail of a jig.

Slow and steady

Even when gar are actively feeding, they are not as explosive or maneuverable as bass or other gamefish. Gar are primitive fish covered with heavy scales that give them a rigid style of swimming. If a lure (or preyfish) passes by quickly or headed in the opposite direction, a gar will typically ignore it.

The best retrieve when fishing for gar is very slow – just turn the crank of the reel fast enough to keep the lure moving. Twitches and quick darting actions with the rod tip may be great for triggering other species, but gar can’t usually keep up with anything too erratic. Instead, pause the retrieve and let the lure free fall slowly for five or ten feet if you can’t trigger a strike with a straight retrieve.

When a gar does take the lure it is important not to jerk the rod in attempts to set the hook. After all, there is no hook to set! Instead, set the drag loose and let the gar run. As the gar swims away and shakes its head the rope will sometimes become more tangled in its teeth. Even this is no sure-fire way to land a gar, though. For every one gar landed, expect that several others will get away.

How to fish for alligator gar

To avoid getting poked, prop a gar’s mouth open with one pair of pliers and use a second pair to tease the rope out from between the teeth. Photo credit: Dan O’Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant

Why fish for gar, anyway?

Longnose gar are a real challenge to land. Only a handful of anglers have mastered the specialized techniques needed to bring them to the boat with any regularity. On light tackle (think 6-8 pound test) they put up a great fight complete with drag-screeching runs and impressive jumps. The sight of a four-foot gar jumping head-high at boat side is always a thrill!

Alligator Gar, also known as Gemfish, is found in deep river bends, lakes, bayous and backwaters of Mississippi, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The best methods for catching Alligator Gar in bowfishing, rod-and-rell, juglines, limblines and trotlines. Alligator Gar bait includes common carp, smallmouth buffalo, gizzard shad, and mullet and shiners rigged on a treble hook tied 6 inches below a bobber.

How to fish for alligator garRegion: South
Habitat: Bay, Lake River

How to identify an Alligator Gar

The alligator gar is easily distinguished from other gars by its broad snout, two rows of upper teeth, and large size. Most gars have only one row of upper teeth. In most other aspects, the alligator gar is similar in appearance to other gars. Alligator gars have a long body, long snout, and toothy smile.

The alligator gar’s anal fins are positioned on the underside of its body, evenly spaced from one another. Its body is similar in appearance to species of pike, including the northern pike, muskellunge, and pickerel. Both alligator gar and pike have very similar body shape and fin placement; however, where pike have a forked tail, the tail of the alligator gar is rounded.

Where to catch Alligator Gar

The alligator gar is commonly found in bays, larger rivers, and coastal waters. Their range extends from the western Florida panhandle along the Gulf of Veracruz, Mexico, and north to the Mississippi River. Alligator gar can also be found as far north as the Ohio and Missouri rivers. A few sightings of alligator gar have been reported in Lake Nicaragua and the Sapoa River.

Range: South How to fish for alligator gar

The alligator gar spawns in the spring in brackish waters; however, the best time to catch them is during the hot, dry late summer months. They tend to stick to deep river bends located near shallow pools of water. The following are habitats where you can catch Alligator Gar:

How to catch Alligator Gar

Due to its immense size and strength, the alligator gar is a popular game fish among anglers. The alligator gar can be a challenge to catch and can easily cut an angler’s line if given the opportunity. There are many methods for catching these fish, including rod-and-reel, bowfishing, and passive gear, such as trotlines and juglines. The following are methods and techniques for catching Alligator Gar:

Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Alligator Gar

The alligator gar responds well to fresh baits such as smallmouth buffalo, common carp, mullet, shiners, and gizzard shad. The baits should be rigged on 5/0 to 6/0 treble hooks tied 6 inches under a brightly colored bobber that is approximately 4 inches in diameter. The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Alligator Gar.

Gar are an oddly designed, yet very powerful fish that can run and jump like tarpon and pull line like bull reds. Landing a spotted gar is really one of freshwater fishing’s most exciting challenges. These fish look slow and calm when they’re suspended in still water, but I can guarantee they’ll give you a ride once that hook is set!

What You Need to Know to Catch Gar

  • Gear for Gar
  • Bait for Gar
  • Tactics for Gar
  • Where to Find Gar
  • Can You Eat Gar?

How to fish for alligator gar

How to fish for alligator gar

Fishing Gear for Gar

Gar are strong fish and require a strong fishing setup similar to what you’d use for inshore fishing. It depends on the species, but some gar such as alligator gar or longnose gar can get over 6 feet long and weight up to 100lbs. I’d suggest tackle that can handle at least a 30lb fish. Some of the rods, reels, and line I personally use are below, but also take a look at any of the inshore spinning rods and inshore spinning reels on this list, they are all perfectly suited for gar fishing.

$ Okuma Record Chaser

Fishing rods for gar need to have some backbone to handle strong runs. A good starting point is around a 7ft rod with a 10-20lb weight rating on it. Rods for gar can double as gar rods, catfish rods, and inshore rods. Here are some additional gar rods if you’re looking for more options.


A well built reel with an excellent drag is a must for gar fishing. Uneven drag can cause issues with the amount of force on the line at any given time and make it more prone to snapping. I’ve experience this firsthand when trying to use a cheaper reel. I hooked a large fish and when it ran and pulled drag the reel itself would bend at the foot attached to the rod and the line would come flying off the spool looking like I do when I try to hula hoop; not something you want to see. Smooth strong drag is key, these are my go to reels, but here are some additional reels to check out if these don’t meet your needs.

Fishing line for gar should be anywhere from 20-40lb test fluorocarbon or braid. I would also recommend a wire leader since gar have very sharp teeth and can break the line quickly. At the very least use a 50lb fluoro or mono leader.


These accessories aren’t necessary, but they’re something to think about if you value your fingers, especially if you’re fishing for alligator gar. Gar teeth are sharp and with the treble hooks typically used to catch them you will have to get your hands in and around their mouth.

Bait and Lures for Gar

Gar are all about sneaking up slowly on their prey then violently lashing out with their bony tooth-lined bill to snap up minnows and baits. It is terrifyingly sneaky, but so cool to watch. Try these baits for catching gar:

  • Frayed nylon rope – continue reading Techniques for how to use this
  • Live bait such as perch or shiners on a 5/0 treble hook under a float
  • Cut bait such as fish chunks or chicken wrapped with a nylon rope
  • Crankbaits and topwater plugs with treble hooks – you will need every single one of those hooks

Fishing Techniques for Gar

Gar fishing techniques can be very unconventional when you compare them to bass fishing or saltwater fishing. In fact some of these tactics are downright absurd, but also very effective. Give these a try, it can be very fun and a challenge to try to catch fish in a way you’ve tried before. Make sure that you consult your state fishing laws first to see which ways are legal to take gar.

How to fish for alligator gar

Topwater Tactics

Sight fishing plays a major role in fishing for gar. Almost all of gar fishing is done by locating them and then cast to a gar or school. Utilizing a topwater plug or crank is an exhilarating way to catch a gar, but you must be very patient. Once you spot a gar, cast your lure just in front of it and just let it sit there; only add the occasional twitch. If the gar is feeding it will very slowly move toward the lure, much differently than any other fish that actively strike. It uses stealth to approach and will wait until the lure is right beside it’s head. Don’t move your lure at all, just let it sit. Then give it the smallest twitch, and boom it’s on! The gar will snap at the crankbait with a sideways slash and take off with it. Give several hard attempts at setting the treble hooks into the bony bill of the gar and then hold on.

Catching Gar with Nylon Rope

Another successful gar-fishing tactic that a lot of people have heard of but never tried involves using a small length of nylon rope attached to a wire leader. Unravel a few inches of the rope to form a bucktail style lure with a fluffy end and cast it near surfacing gars. They will strike the rope and then get the fine threads tangled in their teeth. No hooks are required, and it really works well.

Fly Fishing for Gar

Throwing a lightweight fly and waiting for a gar to hit is is the closest freshwater experience you can get to tarpon on a fly. This is a huge fish with a bony mouth that will be difficult to hook and a challenge to fight. I would love to be able to catch a gar on a fly one day, it’s a bucket list item for sure. Better yet, build your own nylon rope fly and give it try.

Lasso for Gar

Fishing for gar is quite creative, and this approach holds true to that. Lasso fishing for gar sounds like it was invented in Texas. It involves snaring gar using a thin wire with a baitfish and a noose. The bait is impaled on the end of a wire and a noose is fashioned around it. When the gar takes the bait the wire noose closes around the gar’s bill and and off it goes.

Bow Fishing

In states where gar are not considered game fish you can use a bow to fish for them. This requires archery skills and a whole lot of practice and knowledge of bowfishing, but is also a fun and different way to get into gar fishing. I have never bow fished before, but I am a bow hunter and would love to give it a try. If you have a bow you can add a reel, or you can get something already setup like the Cajun Bow made by PSE

The Alligator Gar is a species of gar that lives in the southern United States and into Mexico. This fish is one of seven species, all of which live in North America.

It gets its name from its broad snout, which resembles that of the American alligator. Also like the alligator, this species reaches impressive sizes. Read on to learn about the Alligator Gar.

  • How to fish for alligator gar
  • How to fish for alligator gar
  • How to fish for alligator gar
  • How to fish for alligator gar
  • How to fish for alligator gar

  • How to fish for alligator gar
  • How to fish for alligator gar
  • How to fish for alligator gar
  • How to fish for alligator gar
  • How to fish for alligator gar

Description of the Alligator Gar

This species is one of the largest freshwater fish in North America, surpassed only by the white sturgeon. They are impressive creatures, with torpedo-shaped bodies, broad snouts, and sharp teeth. Adults typically measure about 5 or 6 ft. long, and weigh about 150 lbs. or so.

Some reports indicate that the maximum size of this species might be much larger. Though researchers have not caught any specimens over 8 ft. long, people have reported spotting individuals up to 10 ft.

Interesting Facts About the Alligator Gar

As one of the largest freshwater fish species in North America, this species is certainly interesting. Learn what else makes this creature so unique, below.

  • Living Fossil – This species is what researchers call a “living fossil.” This means that fossils of this fish, even those from millions of years ago, look incredibly similar to the living animal today.
  • Euryhaline – In the constant search for something to eat, it helps to be flexible. This fish can hunt for prey in both fresh and saltwater habitats, which makes them euryhaline.
  • Big Gulp – In their search for food, these creatures often enter rather murky and still waters. These types of waters often hold very little oxygen. Thankfully, when oxygen levels are low this fish simply gulps extra air from the surface.
  • Swim Bladder – When they gulp air from the surface, it doesn’t go to lungs, but to their swim bladder. The swim bladder acts like a lung, and also helps them regulate their buoyancy.

Habitat of the Alligator Gar

Because they can live in areas with low oxygen levels, this species prefers slow-moving waters. They often live in lakes, ponds, bays, reservoirs, slow rivers, marshes, and more. Throughout their range, they occupy both freshwater habitats and saltwater habitats.

Distribution of the Alligator Gar

Most of the population of this species lives in the southern United States. They inhabit coastal regions from the panhandle of Florida to Texas. Small pockets of populations also live in eastern Mexico. Though it is not threatened with extinction, this fish has become quite rare throughout its range.

Diet of the Alligator Gar

Like the other members of its family, this gar is carnivorous. It feeds on a wide range of prey, and its diet depends on its size and location. Fish make up the vast majority of its diet, but it eats just about anything that it can catch.

This species hunts via ambush. It swims slowly or lies in the shadows and waits for prey to stray too close. Once it is within range, the gar lunges forward with impressive speed to snatch up its meal.

Alligator Gar and Human Interaction

Native Americans used this fish’s strong scales as arrow heads and shields. Sadly, during the 1950s, people considered this species a nuisance. Fishermen and even government officials slaughtered the fish in a mistaken attempt to protect more “valuable” sport fish. Thankfully, officials eventually added protections to the species, keeping their population from collapsing.

The IUCN lists this fish as Least Concern.


Humans have not domesticated this species in any way.

Does the Alligator Gar Make a Good Pet

No, you wouldn’t want this fish as a pet. At an average size of six feet long, you’d be hard pressed to find a large enough tank to house this species!

Alligator Gar Care

Aquariums worldwide keep this large an imposing species. Individuals in aquariums also pose as ambassadors to their wild counterparts. They live in impressively large tanks with plenty of room for their bulky bodies. Aquarists feed them fish, shrimp, crustaceans, and more.

Behavior of the Alligator Gar

You can often spot this fish slowly drifting or lying motionless in the water. Despite their lazy demeanor, this species is incredibly swift and deadly when hunting for prey. Their favorite spot to hunt is a few feet below the surface of the water. They are mostly nocturnal, and prefer hunting at night.

Reproduction of the Alligator Gar

These fish only breed in warm water temperatures after a period of flooding. Large groups form in the shallow flooded areas. Females lay their eggs in the submerged vegetation and the males release their sperm to fertilize the eggs.

Clutches contain about 150,000 eggs on average, depending on the size of the female. It takes about 10 days for the eggs to hatch into larval fish.

Beliefs, Superstitions, and Phobias About the Alligator Gar

People often feared this species because of its menacing appearance. Even though this fish looks alligator-like, and has several rows of sharp teeth, it is not dangerous to humans. Though a bite would be quite painful, scientists have no recorded incidents of attacks on humans by these fish.

How to fish for alligator gar

Updated on Jun 13, 2022 ;

Published on Aug 11, 2021

How to fish for alligator gar

How to fish for alligator gar

Updated on Jun 13, 2022 ;

Published on Aug 11, 2021

Share this article

Share this article

The alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) is a ray-finned euryhaline species of fish of the family Lepisosteidae. This family consists of seven extant species in two genera. In the Infraclass Holostei, these species are related to bowfin. The alligator gar is the largest fish species in the family of gars. They are also one of the largest freshwater species in North America. Fossil evidence shows that the species have been around for almost 100 million years since the early cretaceous. As they have retained the morphological characteristics of their ancestors, they are referred to as living fossils or primitive fishes. The characteristics are the ability to breathe in water and air and the spiral valve intestine similar to sharks. In 1803, Lacepede first described the alligator gars. These species were originally called Lepisosteus spatula, which was later changed to the current name by E. O. Wiley. Lepisosteus is a derivation of the Greek terms lepis meaning ‘scale,’ and osteon meaning ‘bone.’ There are three recognized species of gars in the Atractosteus genus. The common name gar was previously used for needlefish species, and gar translates to ‘spear.’

If you like these alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) facts, then make sure to check out some fun.

The best time of the year in my experience is July through August. The hotter, the better, and the less rainfall the better. We look for big bends in the river with a deep hole. It is even better if the water above and below the hole is shallow. These gator gar congregate in these deeper holes.

We use cut bait such as carp, buffalo, and large perch. Our 330 Penn reels are spooled with a minimum of 40 lb. test line with a 24″ steel leader. We hook the cut bait on a 6/0 treble hook and cast to the deeper part of the channel. The bait is free floating with the spool open and the clicker on.

When we hear the clicker go off we go and gently pick up the rod and turn the clicker off to allow the fish to take line easier. We believe that the reason these fish run with the bait is to get away from the other gar to eat his catch. Sometimes they may pull of 100 to 200 yards of the line on your spool, but be patient. If you set the hook too early the hook may not be in the softer area of his mouth yet. After the fish stops, engage the spool, reel in all of the slack line and when you feel tension on the line, set the hook as hard as you can. With so much line out you must set the hook more than once to ensure a good penetrating hook set. Then the fight is on! Make sure your drag is set correctly or you might get pulled in the water.

You can release the smaller fish by getting the hook out, but the bigger fish must be released by cutting the leader.

Editor’s Note: Though in a few areas alligator gar are common, as a species their numbers are dwindling. Their range over the past 50 years has greatly diminished due primarily to habitat loss and over-harvest. Many fisheries biologists recommend a halt to commercial fishing for these unique creatures. In addition, they recommend releasing all alligator gar caught with rod and reel. Measures like these are necessary to insure that this distinctive species remains.

How Ordinary People Experience the Great Outdoors

Home diy Grilled Alligator Garfish Recipe

How to fish for alligator gar

For such an ugly animal, Grilled Alligator Garfish sure is tasty!

I know..I know… Garfish tastes terrible, fishy, nasty…I’ve heard all that too. Don’t let the Alligator Garfish’s not-so-sexy outer appearance abate the wonderful inward flavor hidden beneath its primal armor. I’ve taken the time to clean it properly, and prepare it in a variety of ways. Alligator Garfish can be some of the best tasting fresh water fish out there when coupled with the right recipe.

If you’re wondering how to get the beauty out of the beast when it comes to the meat, check out How to Clean an Alligator Gar Fish. This article will show you step by step how to remove the two delectable tube shaped boneless fillets out of this tasty river monster.

Before we get started, I’d like to reiterate several things from the “How to Clean” article, as well as add a few insights so that you end up with the most flavorful garfish fillets possible:

How to fish for alligator gar

  1. The first thing is to clean the fish soon after it has been killed, and keep it cool, and out of the sun until it is cleaned.
  2. Only collect fish from waterways that are lacking in contaminants. Don’t collect the fish from a trailer park oxidation pond, and expect it to be of good quality.
  3. The most important thing when it comes to flavor, is that you MUST remove any discolored meat, and fat from the fillet. You should be left with a beautiful, white meat lacking any blood, or red/pink color. When in doubt cut it out. You are always better off with a bite of food that tastes delicious than a plateful that tastes like the dumpster behind a Chinese restaurant in August.
  4. As with all fish, the fresher the better. Eating any fish after it has been frozen will reduce the quality of the texture and flavor. If you will be freezing this fish, then you need to follow steps 1 thru 3, then freeze in a manner that removes all air from touching the fish. Think vacuum sealer, or the like.
  5. Finally, it is easier to handle the fish when the meat is just shy of freezing, and firm. This prevents you from mushing the meat when slicing, marinating, etc.

How to fish for alligator gar

As with any fish, you clean up the fillet’s until you are left with nothing but clean, white meat.


  • 2.5 lbs of Alligator Garfish fillets cut into equal sized pieces for the grill.
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
  • 2 tablespoons Dale’s Steak Seasoning

How to fish for alligator gar

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.
  • 2 tablespoons cracked red pepper (1/2 tbs if you are spice sensitive).
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning.
  • 1 teaspoon course ground black pepper.
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin.

How to fish for alligator gar

All cleaned up & ready for the marinade.

Preparation Method:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a Ziploc bag, and mix thoroughly.
  • Place the bag in ice, or the coldest part of the fridge or the freezer (but don’t let the contents freeze) while prepping the coals.
  • Prep the coals. This gives you time to wash some veggies, coat in olive oil, salt & black pepper to throw on the grill with the garfish.
  • After the coals are white hot, place the marinaded garfish on the oiled grill.

How to fish for alligator gar

The alligator gar after the marinade.

  • Grill the marinated garfish as you would chicken making sure to cook it all the way through but don’t allow to dry out.
  • I cut my fillets about 1 1/2 inches thick, and grilled them covered about 5-8 minutes on each side.

How to fish for alligator gar

Enjoy your Grilled Alligator Garfish

Serve with your grilled veggies, and enjoy!

Although I keep a pet ‘gator gar that is around 150 or so pounds, I know little of them other than they like to eat a lot when its warm.

However, I have worked with many other species over the last 40 or so years and did my own “Hook Mortality Study,” with respect to Largemouth Bass at The Lakes of Danbury, a looong time ago. I believe that some of what I learned may be applicable.

I had deeply hooked bass brought in by my members in live tanks I made for the purpose. Each member was to take a deeply hooked bass, and every other time they fished, do one of two things. 1) Do whatever it takes with a hook extractor, pliers, fingers, etc. to remove the hook, and 2) Just cut the line as close to the hook as easily done. All deeply hooked fish, the fisherman would be cutting line or extracting the hook (not both) on all deeply hooked bass then put into an oxygenated box with salt and anti-biotic in it, then removed to one of two holding vats by the dock, one for “hook out” and the other for “hook in.”

I found that, roughly 80% of the “Hook removed, no matter what,” fish died within 3 days.

However, in the same time, roughly 80% of the “hook left in” fish not only were still alive, THE HOOKS WERE LAYING ON THE BOTTOM OF THE TANK!! This after only three days post capture/hook left in. Further close study revealed that the hooked area would quickly fester up, make a rotted place, and the hook would just fall out, then the spot would heal back over in a day or two. No waiting for the hook to rust out. Not in every case, there was a fish that swallowed a hook and the hook actually poked out through the side of the fish, fell out, and the fish lived. Some hooks were never accounted for.

But, after that, I have ever since been a “leave the deep hook in there.” person and not a “Get the hook out no matter what,” person.

Gar Fish Eating – What is the best Bait for Garfish?

How to fish for alligator gar

Gar is not a jerk like most fish, it is not fish either. Gar Fish Eating is a way of prey as well as survival. It has the texture of chicken but does not taste like chicken. In fact, the alligator is closer to taste than chicken.

Alligator gar tends to be white and light with a mild taste, compared to many sports fish meat anglers eat. While meat is delicious, it should be noted that alligator carrot eggs are poisonous and can be ill when eaten.

Gar fish-eating

Alligator Gar is the best tip for fishing. Our top picks for Alligator Gar fish-eating are Common Carp, Gizzard Shade and Multifunction.

Smaller sharp treble hooks enter faster and extra hook points increase your chances of being well set. A baitfish hook with a # 6 to # 2 treble hook on a set of lips or float rigs. The cow often holds the top and swims slowly. Wait until the fish stops and swallows the top.

There are two things you need to know about Gar. The first one is very edible, really. The second is that its eggs are poisonous to mammals and birds. I could finish the article right there but there is more about Gar.

It is a primitive, well-groomed animal, designed to eat any food that does not eat it. There are four species of lizards in the Lepisostyre species suitable for gar fish eating.

There are short nose necks, long nose necks, stained cows, and Florida gurus. Three more edible gars are now atracostious, alligator gar, Cuban gar, and tropical marijuana, all of which have a great fight and can grow to several hundred pounds. These can be taken by bows, nets, and hooks, though local laws differ. Let’s say you are wearing two toes.

There are two fish that are very easy to cook. A pompano It has no scale, only large bone, has very small pockets for cleaning, and is a frying pan flat. Pompano was designed for eating.

The easiest fish after cooking is the Gar. How you might ask, is that armor-plated animal easy to cook? Easy. You do practically nothing but cook it perfectly. Yes, you don’t even clean it.

Cook it directly next to the fire, or by placing it in your oven. When this is done, let it cool down a bit, then let the fibers in, and eat the meat of the back strap under the eat Do not eat any eggs or any eggs. Hugs, eh, read high fish intake. This is the Mesolithic way.

What if it doesn’t appeal to you? Well, you can cut off the head and tail, trap the fish and then put it whole on the grill or fire. Again, to get the meat of the backstrap, pull out a cooking scale and dig you.

If you are interested in cleaning and receiving files, handle them from top to bottom. You definitely need the right tools. Usually tin snips, a filet knife, and a hatchet. You are cutting the back of the cart so that it opens up like the cargo bay of the space shuttle.

First, wrap a rag around the fish bill. This creates a simple grip. Start by making a hole in the back of the head to get the next shape to cut the scales.

Then cut both sides of the head by placing the tin snips into the hole. You don’t have to cut the whole around the fish, just two vertical cuts on the cutting board. Then you go straight back to the tile with tin snips and two vertical cut uts again

Now hide away from the meat using your fingers or a knife, or a plus. Once you have scratched the skin, make two long files, keeping your knife and the back of the knuckle and the ribs away from the pieces.

The brown meat is more flavorful to the kitty and you may want to feed it to the cat. Some cajuns want to make a horizontal cut on the tail and then cut a strap on the skin and scales, working the machete toward the head, then fillet the backstrap on the fish’s side.

If you want to cook the whole dish, you can continue to cut around the ribs and remove the entrails very easily. Never eat eggs again.

How to fish for alligator gar

Gar is not a jerk like most fish, it is not fish either. It has the texture of chicken but does not taste like chicken. In fact, the alligator is closer to taste than chicken. An old gar can be soaked overnight in salty water to moderate any strong taste.

You can roast the fillet, or bake as mentioned below, or make the pie from it by placing the meat twice in a grinder, spicing it up to your liking. Eat hot

A lot of people will tell you that fabric is trash fish but it is a product in the grocery store. Before there was an ice and fish market in the store, Gars was a respected local fish for dinner. With only refrigeration and thousands of miles away, the modern fish market is losing its prime.

The sport lost it in spite of phishing as it was very easy to catch. Now think about that, a delicious fish that is very easy to catch. Personally, I catch more than I do.

When I first moved to Florida, I used to fish almost every day. It was not at all difficult for me to catch at least one meal a day, and that sometimes included hay.

About the armor plating, called the ganoid scale, which is not enamel-covered bone and overlapping. Native Americans used arrows as arrows heads.

They also used scaled skin to create plates of protective nipples. Even European colonists used garb skin. To protect the blade, they placed it on the cutting edge of their crude.

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Saltwater cabbage eggs are also toxic to humans

Egg poisoning is real and has been viewed as a story of wives, as it is not yet studied. Ken Ostrand, the lead author of Gan Ethyltoxin: Natural Hunters and Its Impact on the Evolutionary Function of Toxins.

There may be instances where eggs and birds and mammals cause illness. Or, as Ostrand suggests, transforming eggs into fowl for feeding chickens, or even forcing raw eggs into rats, may lead to alterations in the biochemistry of the eggs.

Hope, this article on gar fish eating was worthy to you.

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About Your Trip

Head out with Gar Master Mark for an awesome day of freshwater bowfishing! Alligator Gar are one of the most distinct fish you can find, and Mark is one of the best guides around to help you spear one. His success rate with these exciting monsters is as high as 90 percent!

These hunts give you opportunities for several TROPHY Alligator Gar as well as many other legal species such as Small and Large Mouth Buffalo, Common Carp, Grass Carp, Tilapia, Shad, and all the other Gar species to name a few. Plus your fish will be prepped for your travel home or to the taxidermist. If you’re just coming for the meat Mark will be happy to clean and bag your filets for you.

On these 6 to 7-hour trips, you and Mark will motor out on Lake Livingston where you’ll be bowfishing for trophy-sized Alligator Gar. Learning how to aim can take some getting used to, as the water refracts the position of the fish (Mark will tell you all about it), but in general bowfishing is straightforward, even for beginners; Mark will get you to the prime spots to see some Gar!

All bowfishing packages include equipment (let Mark know if you are a lefty or righty) & fish cleaning. Hunts can be day, night or both. Marks boat holds 8 comfortably, so make sure to bring some good company!

About Your Boat

About Your Guide

Captain Mark is one of the most experienced Alligator Gar fishing guides in the world, with over 35 years under his belt and caught his first gar at just 11 years old while growing up in Houston, TX along Sims Bayou.

A few years later, Captain Mark was introduced to bow fishing and discovered how exciting bow fishing could be chasing all types of gar, carp, buffalo, tilapia, bullfrogs and other species. And the rest is history!

Captain Mark fishes aboard 2 boats featuring large front decks and rear decks. One boat is 20 feet long and 8 feet wide, and the other is 21 feet long and 7 feet wide. One boat can handle 8 shooters and the other can handle up to 6 comfortably. When rod and reel fishing, Captain Mark prefers no more than 5 anglers per boat.

Captain Mark looks forward to sharing his passion with you for an unforgettable time on the water!


Our family went out with Mark last weekend for Father’s Day and had an absolute blast! It was our first time bowfishing and we couldn’t have asked for a better trip. We will definitely be going back

As humans, we like to think we run the show here on planet Earth. But in the grand scheme of things, our legacy is laughably short compared to those of other species. The prehistoric-looking Atractosteus spatula, for example, otherwise known as the alligator gar, is sometimes referred to as a “living fossil.” And for good reason: Scientists can trace this unique looking fish back 100 million years.

“The alligator gar, Atractosteus spatula, is the largest of the seven living species of gar,” said Robert H. Robins, collection manager in the Division of Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, when we talked to him in 2019. “Besides its massive adult size, it can be distinguished from other gar by two rows of teeth in the upper jaw versus one, and a head that when measured length versus width, is broader than most other gar.”

And talk about massive — in the first week of May 2022, a Texas man pulled in an alligator gar of truly monstrous proportions. According to LiveScience, YouTuber, educator and conservationist Payton Moore caught the huge fish, which was 8 feet (2.5 meters) long and weighed an estimated 300 pounds (136 kilograms). In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Moore said, “It felt like somebody’s car had just started up and was rolling out of the driveway, and I’m hanging on to the end of it.”

Moore released the gar back into the bayou after measuring it and uploaded a video of it to his channel, WILD LIFE, on May 7. But he didn’t seek official certification and the fish wasn’t weighed, so his massive catch isn’t eligible for the record books. The record for the largest alligator gar ever caught in Texas still stands with the beast hauled into a boat in 1953, which weighed 302 pounds (137 kilograms), according to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Alligator Gar Have No Relation to Alligators

If you’re not a fishing fanatic, here’s a little background on the gar species (plural can be “gar” or “gars”): These freshwater fish are currently only found in North America, from Montana to southern Quebec to Costa Rica, but historically, alligator gars apparently swam in European, African, South Asian and South American waters, according to fossil records. Also called garpikes, gar are named for the Anglo-Saxon term for spear, and the name is fitting since their long, tubular bodies are covered in a protective armor of hard, diamond-shaped scales, and their snouts are typically long and elongated.

The alligator gar is a bit different, though — its signature facial structure includes a short, wide, shovel-shaped bill that makes it stand out amongst its fellow gar (and explains the reptilian name). Like other types of gar, these guys can be pretty big, weighing up to 350 pounds (159 kilograms) and measuring more than 10 feet (3 meters) in length. Average-sized adults come in at a more moderate 100 to 160 pounds (45 to 73 kilograms) and 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 2 meters) in length.

The alligator gar’s distinctive dark olive-brown skin is one of the features that has historically made the animal a hot commodity for humans. The thick, overlapping scales (known as ganoid scales) have been used to make jewelry and tools, as well as a whole host of leather products, and the skin oil has been used as an insect repellent.

Alligator gars eat blue crabs, turtles, small mammals and waterfowl. They have few natural predators because of their size. Gar are one of the largest freshwater fishes in North America.

Do Alligator Gar Bite?

Though an alligator gar will go berserk if threatened and can definitely seem dangerous, there has never been a verified attack on a human by an alligator gar, even though they do have needle-sharp teeth.

According to Robins, people have been fishing for alligator gar for centuries — potentially longer. “The reasons for doing so vary,” he said. “In my state, Florida, no one may take an alligator gar without a special permit and such permits are limited to scientific research or species management work only. This is sound management: Alligator gar are slow growing and slow to reach sexual maturity. They aggregate and spawn in specialized habitat. All of this makes them vulnerable to overfishing/environmental degradation.”

Alligator Gar Are Edible, But Not Tasty

While experienced fishermen may enjoy the thrill of pursuing and catching the distinctive species, no one’s exactly clamoring to cook them for dinner. The alligator gar is technically edible, but not a great meal option for a couple of reasons. “The eggs of all gar are toxic to eat and the flesh is poor quality,” Robins said. “In addition, all gars have a thick armor-like covering of ganoid scales over their entire body. It would be very, very difficult to process a gar and for the aforementioned reasons, not a good idea or in most cases, worth the effort.”

If fish enthusiasts aren’t seeking out alligator gar for suppertime, then could they at least keep the catch of the day for company? “I have seen gar for sale as pets, including fantastic color varieties, but all gar get at least close to a meter (3.2 feet) in length and are too much for all but large public aquaria,” Robins said. So, unless you have a private pool reserved just for giant fish, you’re probably unlikely to become the proud long-term owner of an alligator gar.

Part of the reason alligator gar have been on the receiving end of overfishing may be due to a now debunked theory that the animal was using its two rows of sharp teeth to prey on a variety of other fish that humans wanted for themselves. And while alligator gars do eat fellow fish for food, they’re not as likely to go after game fish, and are happy eating a whole lot of other things like small mammals, waterfowl, insects and crustaceans.

As for the fish alligator gars do eat, they’re unlikely to eat enough to threaten the fishing ecosystem. “All gars are predatory,” Robins said. “What alligator gar feed on is likely to vary tremendously with life stage. Tiny larvae and juveniles are likely to feed on appropriately sized invertebrates or small fish, and larger gar are likely to feed on fishes and other vertebrates.”

Alligator gar are just one example of the resilient species that have fascinated experts for centuries. “The seven living species of gar are remnants of an ancient division of fishes that date to the early cretaceous period (about 118 million years ago),” Robins said. “Five of the living species are native to eastern North America, and one each to Central America and Cuba. They are really quite special fishes with an amazingly successful body plan and biology that has really stood the test of time.”

The first time I ever saw a longnose gar, I was a child visiting a public aquarium, and I was mesmerized by the fish’s unusual shape and elongated mouth. Lake Champlain has a sizable population of Lepisosteus osseus, and when I first started seeing them hanging out in shallow bays, I knew I had to figure out how to catch them on the fly. I did some research and then got to work figuring out the best way to deal with their myriad teeth and bony mouths. Now, when conditions are right, I enjoy fishing for, and putting clients on, these prehistoric-looking beasts.

The longnose gar is actually a fairly primitive fish. It is one of only seven members of the gar family, Lepisosteidae, all of which are found in North and Central America. The gars are characterized by a heterocercal tail (one lobe of the tail is longer than the other, like a shark’s), hard ganoid (diamond-shaped) scales, and a mouth full of teeth. They have the ability to take oxygen from the surface, thanks to a specialized air bladder. This allows these fish to live in soupy backwaters that many other species don’t find attractive. Baitfish are the primary food source for gar, but they are not averse to eating the occasional frog or any other tasty morsel that presents itself.

Gar are pretty easy to spot: they look a lot like a stick with fins. When you are first looking for gar, the fish that are moving will be most obvious. When they are really active, you will see then slashing on the surface and occasionally waking, as they chase down a meal. You might even catch one snapping its beak on the surface as it grabs some air. One of the first things folks ask me before they cast to a gar is, “Which way is it pointing?” That is a rather important question, and there are a couple of ways to tell: first, look for the skinny end, since the tail end is much wider; and the fins are triangular shaped, with the tip of the triangle pointing forward. If you cast to the tail of the fish, you won’t get the results you want, I promise!

Spinning a Yarn
Targeting gar is pretty easy. Cast your fly a few feet beyond and a few feet in front of the fish. A gar generally won’t move until the fly has gone past, and then there is a real burst of speed and the fish grabs the fly. This is a critical moment fishing gar because, if you set the hook, you won’t get your fish. Mostly because there is no hook.

you may say. Most gar fishing I do uses hookless flies made out of unbraided nylon rope. Setting the “hook” will result in a lost fish because you’ll usually pull the fly out of the fish’s mouth. The gar’s mouth is almost all bone, and it is very difficult to penetrate with a hook. The rope fly instead gets caught up in their teeth, and this is what allows you to catch the fish. After the gar has had a chance to chew on the fly for a couple of seconds, then you apply some pressure, and the fight is on. Every gar seems to fight a little differently, but don’t be surprised to experience jumps, runs, and a lot of surface splashing. The fight generally isn’t too long, though.

Landing these fish can be interesting, and I highly recommend wearing gloves. Between the sharp teeth, hard scales, and other pointy things on gar, you can end up with shredded hands or skin if you aren’t careful. An inexpensive pair gloves (rubber- or silicon-covered cotton or just plain leather) will provide more than adequate protection. These fish do thrash around a lot and can be difficult to control, so be careful when you have them in the boat. I ended up with four teeth embedded in my right palm this past spring. They worked themselves out of me over a six-week period. I have to admit that I thought it was pretty cool finding them in there!

Take your time extracting the fly from the beak. Sometimes you can just hold the fly with pliers and let the gar thrash, and the fish will come right off. Other times, you will need to use something to help keep the mouth open, so you can more easily remove the nylon fibers from their mouth. Remember that these fish breathe air, so as long as you are keeping them moist, you won’t harm them. They are tough fish!

Tackle for Teeth
Tackle for gar is pretty simple: an 8- or 9-weight rod will cover most situations. Use a leader of about 6 feet or so, with about a foot of 50-pound-test fluorocarbon as a bite tippet. Gar have pointy little teeth that are not likely to slice a leader like those of a pike, but it is better to err on the side of caution. The most critical piece of your terminal tackle is the gar fly. I tie unbraided nylon rope to a hook and then dress it up with some flash or other materials. Once the fly is tied, I cut off the hook. However, to be legal in Vermont, there needs to be a hook point on the fly, so I do end up lashing a size 16 to 20 hook along the hook shank during construction of the fly. Yes, it’s kind of silly, but you have to admit that it sounds pretty cool to tell people you caught a 44-inch fish on a size 20 hook. Keep the fly between 6 and 9 inches long for best results, since longer flies have more material to grab onto and catch.

Timing is pretty important. In this area, gar are available to anglers from May through September, with the warmest months being the best time. They congregate to spawn in the springtime, and that can be a great time to target gar, as well. I got my personal best fish–48 inches and 12 pounds–this past May on a 6-weight rod. The spring fish seem to like smaller flies, such as Woolly Buggers, which is what worked for me.

Gar are often overlooked by fly anglers, but they are a lot of fun on hot summer days when not much else is going on. I know plenty of guys who have cast to them without much luck, but once you get the right fly and put some time into chasing them, you’ll enjoy some wild action. Try it, and I think you will have a gar-reat time!

Drew Price lives in Northern Vermont is the owner and head guide for Master Class Angling. He fishes Lake Champlain and surrounding waters targeting carp, pike, bowfin, gar, bass and other species (even the occasional trout).

DALLAS — If you’ve ever come across an alligator gar, then you already know why the fish is referred to as a “river monster.” With a wide, shovel-shaped snout like an alligator and a mouthful of sharp teeth, it’s easy to be fearful of the large, powerful fish. However, the gentle giants get a bad rap, Texas Parks & Wildlife refers to the alligator gar as “sluggish and docile,” and there have been no confirmed attacks on people.

In the last decade more and more people have come to the Trinity River in Texas trying to catch a gator gar, and this year anglers have noticed the phenomenon has picked up even more interest. They attribute the hype to social media, especially new platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels that make it easy to share videos and gain thousand of views in a short time.

“Before multi-species angling was a thing, people just concentrated on those that they were interested in, largemouth bass and bluegill and crappie. So [alligator gar] wasn’t something that was of interest for people to catch,’ said TPWD Inland Fisheries biologist Dan Daugherty. “But nowadays, people are more interested in catching different species of fish and have a bucket list. And the popularity of the social media, “River Monsters” and Megafish, and all the shows that have highlighted these species that typically weren’t your typical sport fishes, has really increased the interest in the species.”

So what is it about the alligator gar specifically that attracts an annual average of about 100,000 anglers to try and reel in the prehistoric-looking fish, often referred to as the “living fossil?” It’s a fish that can grow up to eight feet long and weigh more than 300 pounds.

“People want to catch the biggest fish. The bigger, the better. And obviously, the alligator gar is the second biggest freshwater fish in North America,” said Dallas angler and Trinity River Gar Fishing guide Carlos Guerrero.

Guerrero says ever since watching an episode of “River Monsters” with Jeremy Wade back in 2009, he’s been fascinated with catching “gator gar” and has caught over a hundred since. He regularly takes people out on his jet boat along the Trinity River, serving as a guide for folks gunning for the largest fish in Texas.

“I had to come by myself and basically teach myself how to catch these gator gar. And it took a while, it took a lot of trial and error, you know, what things to use — what hooks, what line, what reels. I broke a lot of cheap reels from Walmart – I mean, I didn’t know. So I did break a lot of reels and I did lose a lot of fish because they’d bite into the line, too. I didn’t use a steel leader. So it did take me a while, but eventually I was able to do it,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero believes as long as people respect the gator gar, there won’t be a concern about too much of a good thing. But he does have concerns about people handling the fish who don’t give it the respect he says it deserves.

“Back then, a while back, there wasn’t Facebook or anything, so you couldn’t share it so quickly. Now, you could snap a picture and share it on social media real quick, and people are amazed by the fish. Social media is just bringing a lot of attention to this alligator gar. And it sucks for the gator gar because — a lot of us, we do. We handle the fish right — but there’s just a couple of them that don’t and what I’m thinking is it will affect the population,” Guerrero said. “Treat the fish with respect. Take quick pictures of them and enjoy the fish as little as possible. And then just put them on the water, put them back in the water.”

Daugherty says it’s the goal of TPWD to maintain the population of Texas’ largest freshwater fish, and restrictions are in place to make sure overfishing and over harvesting don’t happen. In order for the population to remain healthy, gator gar can only sustain harvest rates of about 5% each year. Anything more will lead to a decline of the biggest and oldest fish, leaving only the young, smaller gar.

“They’ve been around, the fossil record of ancestral gars have been around for 200-plus million years. They are native to Texas, they’re our largest freshwater fish. And so we definitely have an interest in and responsibility to conserve the fishery, as well as the species,” Daugherty said.

From Sept. 1-30, licensed anglers can enter the TPWD drawing to harvest one four-foot or more alligator gar from the Trinity River. The section of the Trinity River from the I-30 bridge in Dallas, downstream to the I-10 bridge in Chambers County is one of the most popular places to catch a large alligator gar.

“This segment of the Trinity River has become one of the most popular destinations in the world to catch a large alligator gar, but concerns have been raised about the potential for overharvest and its risks to fishing quality,” said TPWD Inland Fisheries Director Craig Bonds. “With this drawing system, we are able to give 150 anglers the opportunity to harvest the fish of a lifetime while also meeting our management goal to conserve this unique resource for current and future generations of anglers.”

In addition, all alligator gar harvested, including those harvested using a harvest authorization, from public freshwater and saltwater waterbodies (other than Falcon International Reservoir) must be reported to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department within 24 hours of harvest on the My Texas Hunt Harvest mobile app or online.

“In order for us to manage our alligator gar populations among growing angler interest, it is crucial to know how many are being harvested in Texas,” Bonds said. “By gathering data on alligator gar harvest through the My Texas Hunt Harvest app and online, our fisheries management team gains a better understanding of this species’ distribution, sizes, and numbers and can use that information to help manage for quality fishing in the future.”

After initially catching a Texas Spiny Softshell turtle, Guerrero was able to reel in a six-foot alligator gar the morning Spectrum News 1 went out with him. Reeling him in, along with the help of his buddy Jerry Beltran, took about 10 minutes. Guerrero and Beltran say it’s a feeling that doesn’t get old and it’s a hobby they plan to continue for many years to come.

“It’s still special. I still get happy because I’m like ‘Oh, it’s an alligator gar.’ To me, I get excited. Why? I don’t know. I mean, I’ve caught of a lot of them. But these fish, once you see them, they’re very special fish. They’re very rare too, you know, they’re weird looking but pretty cool,” Guerrero said.

Alligator gar fish hunting

Alligator gar fish are sold as food fish, but it is not a very popular food fish and lot of sport fishers never eats their catch. The main purpose of Alligator gar fishing is instead the thrill of the hunt since this fish species is large as well as feisty.

If you want to catch Alligator gar fish during your fishing trip, you should ideally fish near driftwood in slow moving waters since such environments are known to attract the Alligator gar fish.

The like to stay hidden under driftwood and among aquatic plants to ambush prey that comes too close. Alligator gar fish feed on fish, waterfowl, crustaceans, turtles and have even been spotted killing Alligators.

Whole mullet is often used as Alligator gar fish bate among sport fishers. Alligator gar fishes are not line shy and attracting an Alligator gar fish is usually not hard. The difficult part it to handle this large and powerful fish. Ideally follow the bobber until it halts, since the Alligator gar fish must swallow the line before the hook is set. Do not set the hook until the Alligator gar has begun to move again.

Since the Alligator gar fish is so big and powerful it is usually not a good idea to place it in your boat until you know that it is dead. An Alligator gar fish struggling for its life can deliver really painful bites with its small but razor sharp teeth. It should be noted that Alligator gar fish pose no real threat to swimming humans, not even children. Humans are not considered Alligator gar fish prey.

Alligator gar fish regulation

Since it eats virtually any type of prey, the Alligator gar fish is sometimes called “trash fish”. A lot of fishermen dislike the Alligator gar fish since it prey upon other game fish. Earlier, it was common for fishermen to snare Alligator gar fish, kill it and throw it back into the water to keep the population down. Today, the Alligator gar fish is considered threatened in several regions and Alligator gar fishing is more strictly regulated. Always check current legislation in your state before you engage in Alligator gar fishing.

Alligator gar fish adaptations

The Alligator gar fish can breathe while submerged as well as obtain oxygen directly from the air. This is an adaptation to muddy and oxygen depleted slow water environments. The buoyancy bladder of the Alligator gar fish is connected directly to the throat of the fish and makes it easy for the Alligator gar fish to loiter just below the waters’ surface. This habit makes them quite an easy catch for bow hunters.

The name Alligator gar fish is derived from the snout of this fish with its two rows of really big teeth in the upper jaw which gives the species a somewhat Alligator like appearance. The teeth are small, but extremely sharp and specialised for shredding prey. A third adaptation is the joint located behind the head of the Alligator gar fish. This joint makes it possible for the Alligator gar fish to make nodding head movements.

How to fish for alligator gar

How to fish for alligator gar

How to fish for alligator gar

How to fish for alligator gar

Alligator Gar need our help!

Now most of you are wondering as to what Alligator Gar even are. Alligator gar are the second largest freshwater fish in North America and are absolutely vital to life in rivers in Texas. Years of over fishing and bow fishing have taken their toll on these magnificent fish.

Alligator Gar help keep the environment healthy by being apex predators which keep the food web in check. Alligator gar also help local tourism as well as the game fishing industry. Furthermore they are one of the few fish who eat the invasive Asian and European carp that are currently proliferating and destroying the natural balance of rivers in the United states.

With this petition we seek to protect this magnificent species by classifying them as Game fish. Being assigned game fish status in Texas means that the fish cannot be targeted with methods other than hook and line.

This would mean that bow-fishing for alligator gar in the state of Texas would no longer be legal. Bow-fishing is a method of fishing that uses specialized archery equipment to shoot and retrieve fish which does not allow capture and release of fish back into the wild. Giving the alligator gar game fish status would promote selective harvest since if they are caught with hook and line they can be released.

In addition granting the gar game fish status would allow gar to grow to a larger size on average due to lowered catch rates and increased protection which would not only help the local aquatic environment but also local fishing and tourism businesses as bigger Alligator gar would make their businesses look more attractive.

This petition also requests the state to consider a closed season for gar during their spawn, from April to June as this would allow the gar population to recover. Furthermore this petition also wishes for the state to consider a slot limit for the harvest of alligator gar which would allow the smaller gar the chance to reproduce and bigger gar to pass on their trophy genetics which in turn would help local sustainable fishing tourism businesses. In addition larger gar produce more offspring, thus leading to an increase in the stability of the alligator gar population.

We are also requesting the state to improve the processes by which fishermen get their license and to ensure that fishermen familiarize themselves with state laws for game fish and non-game fish as well as the legal limits and harvest regulation of fish in their states in a manner the state deems fit. This would ensure that the fishing can remain sustainable for many years to come and have a minimal impact on the ecosystem.

If you wish to see Texas be the greatest at Alligator Gar conservation for years to come please sign this petition! we hope that we can expand this project throughout the range of alligator gar in due time 🙂

for more info DM @aan_an_adventure on instagram

Alligator Gar – a threatened giant

Alligator gars are one of the largest fish found in the freshwaters of North America. They are widely sought after by the bow hunters in the Southern parts of the U.S. An average alligator gar weighs about 100-120 lbs, but the larger fish may even reach 300 lbs and may be 7-8 feet long. Big alligator gars in the wild grow to 12-24 feet in length and there have even been reports of gars fighting and eating alligators. Alligator gars are also called as gator gars. The typical characteristic feature of the alligator gar is the long cylindrical body that is covered with hard scales. These scales are diamond shaped and are also interlocking. The upper part of the body is olive brown in color, while the lower part of the body is almost white in color. The anal and dorsal fins of the fish are located towards the rear and are nearly opposite to each other.

The alligator gar derives it name from a large “gator-like” snout that has two rows of large teeth in the upper jaw. The double row of teeth is an easy way to identify alligator gars since they are the only Gars with the double row of teeth. The teeth of the alligator gar are very sharp but small. This allows them to easily catch other fish, which is their main prey. The two rows of teeth are used to shred its victims. These are aggressive, solitary fish. They mostly lurk between reeds and other plant life waiting for food to pass by. The alligator gar is often referred to as “trash fish” because of its tendency towards brackish waters and it’s liking for eating just about anything. In the wild, alligator gars feed on fish, waterfowl, and small animals like turtles. In captivity, alligator gars are often fed a carnivorous diet. Spawning usually occurs in April, through till June. Though the alligator gars prefer slow moving ponds and lakes, it needs current while spawning. They deposit their eggs in shallow waters.

Alligator gars can breathe both inside as well as outside water. That is how they survive in the muddy waters of the South. This peculiar feature is because the alligator gar’s buoyancy bladder is connected to its throat. This enables the gar to linger just below the surface of the water. This makes them very easy prey for bow hunters. Another curious feature of the alligator gar is that it has a joint behind its head. This allows the fish to make nodding head movements. Most people go after the alligator gars because of their size and the thrill in the hunt. Despite their size and their ferocious appearance, alligator gars pose no threat to fishermen. Gars are typically found floating like driftwood in sluggish waters of rivers, swamps and lakes. Though they are good meat to eat, most people do not eat this meat.

Alligator gars are by far the largest of the gars. Any gar fisherman has to scale up his tackle to suit the size of this fish. Gars are not line shy, so getting hold of a gar is the least of your worry. The big fish must take the line and swallow it before the hook is set. It is a good idea to follow the bobber till it stops. When the fish starts to move again, it is time to set the hook. Preferred bait would include whole mullet, and some people scale the fish before it is introduced as bait.

Alligator gars should never be introduced into a boat till it is confirmed dead. While they struggle, gator gars can really hurt with their little but very pointed teeth. Alligator gars are not very popular among some fishermen because they are believed to devour all other game fish. This is not true and a belief that persists after an ignorant campaign to eradicate the species in the early 20th century. Fishermen who snare a gar usually kill it before returning it to the waters, a behavior that most stop since the alligator gars are now considered to be “threatened”. Some states like Texas and Louisiana allow regulated gar fishing. However, fishing for the powerful gar is big game hunting. Bow hunters like to hunt for the gars because of their interesting tendency to put up a good fight.

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В Alligator Gar

Alligator Gar (Atractosteus spatula) Occur in the Mississippi River basin from southwestern Ohio and southern Illinois in USA south to Gulf of Mexico and to Veracruz, Mexico. Alligator Gar are large in size and broad,with a short snout. Light dorsal stripe. Dark olivaceous brown above and white to yellowish beneath. Dark brown blotches on all fins.

For all practical purposes you can recognize them as those BIG gars with the short snout. Small ones are actually hard to find. The Baton Rouge Zoo has a Alligator Gar in an aquarium. If you look closely you will see that it is no an Alligator Gar but a Spotted Gar! Why? Because they can’t catch any small enough for the aquarium? Alligator Gars inhabit sluggish pools and backwaters of large rivers, swamps, bayous, and lakes. They sometimes enter brackish waters and occasionally saltwater. As you might have figured they feed mainly on fish.

How to fish for alligator gar

Spawning usually occurs April – June. The Alligator gar is by far the largest of the Gar, growing up to over 300 pounds. Interestingly,a joint behind the head allows these fish to make nodding head movements. Although they are good eating, few people bother with them.

For those of you wanting to tangle with a big fish and don’t want to venture to saltwater, Alligator Gar are just what the doctor ordered. Alligator Gar get huge, so your tackle will also need to be scaled up to meet the demand. Since it is hard to hook gars, most garfisherman use large treble hooks attached to a steel leader. The leader is tied to the main line with a bobber usually attached above the leader. How heavy your line is depends on your own preference but remember it is quite possible that you will be tangling with a fish that weighs over 100 pounds possibly double that! They aren’t line shy so don’t let that worry you. It is important to let the big fish take your bait and swallow it before setting the hook. When the bobber takes off, follow it until it stops. This is the fish positioning it to swallow. When the fish starts to move off again is the time to set the hook. Whole mullet is a prefered bait, and many believe in scaling the bait before using it.

Never bring a gar of any size into the boat until you are sure it is dead. Gar especially big ones can really hurt you with those needle teeth.

Alligator Gar don’t consider humans prey but there is one reported attack on a person in Lake Pontchartrain. The person (girl I think) was dangling his/her feet in the water when a large Alligator Gar mistook here splashing foot for a fish. It bit but thankfully let go.

I have also recieved an email telling me about two other attacks, these from the Lake Charles area. Below is the direct quote from the email.

“My dad has told me all my life not to dangle my feet in Big Lake (Calcasieu Lake) because his first cousin, Ben King, was terribly wounded – with nineteen tooth holes – when he dangled his feet off a pier in Lake Charles in the 1920s when he was about 18. He and Raymond Dunn, my dad’s brother, skinned it and tacked it to their aunt’s (Mabel King Kelly)garage. Daddy says it was there for years — on land where the main post office in Lake Charles is today. Daddy says he also remembers a fishing guide getting his hand mangled in Bayou Bicone (sp?) – a bayou about half way down the shore of Big Lake.”

Key Notes and Tips:
*When Alligator Gar leap they will often make a loud grunt noise as the air in its air bladder is forced out. The following inhale makes a raspy sound.
*Alligator Gar can reach sizes of over 300 lbs.
*Alligator Gars are good eating but heck to clean. There scales are like armor.
*If you want to make the record book all you have to do is wiegh one. Last time I checked there where only 2 listed in the Louisiana Record Books.
*Here are a couple of photo’s of Huge Alligator Gar fish.В В В Alligator Gar Picture #1В В В Alligator Gar Picture #2

Alligator Gar Attack on Humans and Dog

How to fish for alligator gar

Although there is no definitive attack on the people, many fear the Alligator Gar assuming their attack. The truth is that these big fish can be quite comfortable and childish.

Unfortunately, the story of attacking Alligator gar people and the dramatics on popular television shows have given these gentle giants a bad rap. This article will discuss in detail on alligator gar attack.

Alligator Gar Attack

However, there is no evidence of an attack on people by the Alligator Gars. Eggs are poisonous, causing illness by humans. Alligator Gars may not win a beauty contest any time soon, but they can win the popularity contest by killing off the aggressive Asian carp.

Beef is edible, and sometimes available on the market, but unlike the strokes they are, their eggs are extremely toxic to humans. Gar eggs are toxic due to a protein toxin called ichthyotoxin. Brought to a temperature of 120 ° C, the protein may degrade.

“The fact is, sometimes no human has been verified. Sometimes the bite that comes from the news comes from real travelers, not Gar. These fish only care about eating what they can consume, which is small fodder. “

How to fish for alligator gar

These freshwater giants may look intimidating to watch, but attacks against humans are unknown. These can pose an inactive hazard, though fish eggs are poisonous to humans.

Adult gurus have very few natural predators, though alligators were known to attack them. Young people are hunted by big fish.

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Alligator’s gar size and tooth appearance both arouse anglers and frighten them into playing in their living waters.

Unfortunately, the story of attacking Alligator Girl people and the dramatics on popular television shows have given these gentle giants a bad rap. Although there is no definitive attack on the people, many fear the Alligator gar.

The truth is that these big fish can be quite comfortable and childish. For example, the feeding behavior of adults makes it challenging to catch them Alligator grass can be slow or hesitant to swallow a top.

If something goes wrong or they feel resisted, the hat is often dropped. Alligator Gar is designed to hold and repress tooth prey, it does not prune into bite-sized parts such as sharks. Therefore, alligator gars do not eat what they cannot consume.

Alligator gar is a danger to people only when anglers try to land and handle this huge, powerful fish. In addition to hosting a pair of sharp teeth, the alligator gars are sharp, covered with bone marrow. Anglers can easily get a cut or blow if they are not careful. Requiring relatively little preparation when landing, unhooking, and releasing an alloy or crappie, a plan to do the same for an Alligator Gar is adopted.

How to fish for alligator gar

Fish should be landing using a rope lid, large net or cradle. They should be placed in a place on the ground or on a boat deck in their belly so that they are free of debris or equipment. Angler tools should be used when wearing hooks and wearing cut-resistant gloves.

Never stick your hand in the mouth of the fish and the strong tail will never be clean. If released, the fish must first return the head. Finally, be careful! These fish are very, very hard to catch, which fall back and fall. After landing, get your boat deck or riverboat ready to land.

Hope this article of alligator gar attack was useful to you.

how to catch alligator gar

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It’s a toothy giant that can grow longer than a horse and heavier than a refrigerator, a fearsome-looking prehistoric fish that plied U.S. waters from the Gulf of Mexico to Illinois until it disappeared from many states half a century ago.

Persecuted by anglers and deprived of places to spawn, the alligator gar — with a head that resembles an alligator and two rows of needle-like teeth — survived mainly in Southern states in the tributaries of the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico after being declared extinct in several states farther north. To many, it was a freak, a “trash fish” that threatened sport fish, something to be exterminated.

But the once-reviled predator is now being seen as a valuable fish in its own right, and as a potential weapon against a more threatening intruder: the invasive Asian carp, which have swum almost unchecked toward the Great Lakes, with little more than an electric barrier to keep them at bay.

Efforts are underway to reintroduce the alligator gar to the northern part of its former range.

“What else is going to be able to eat those monster carp?” said Allyse Ferrara, an alligator gar expert at Nicholls State University in Louisiana, where the species is relatively common. “We haven’t found any other way to control them.”

Alligator gar, the second-largest U.S. freshwater fish behind the West Coast’s white sturgeon, have shown a taste for Asian carp, which have been spreading and outcompeting native fish for food.

The gar dwarf the invading carp, which themselves can grow to 4 feet and 100 pounds. The largest alligator gar caught was 8½ feet and 327 pounds, and they can grow even larger.

Native Americans once used their enamel-like scales as arrow points, and early settlers covered plow blades with their tough skin and scales.

But a mistaken belief that they hurt sport fish led to widespread extermination throughout the last century, when they were often shot or blown up with dynamite.

“Some horrible things have been done to this fish,” said Ferrara, adding that sport fisheries are healthier with gar to keep troublesome species like carp under control. “It’s similar to how we used to think of wolves; we didn’t understand the role they played in the ecosystem.”

Gar now are being restocked in lakes, rivers and backwaters — sometimes in secret locations — in several states. In May, Illinois lawmakers passed a resolution urging state natural resources officials to speed up its program and adopt regulations to protect all four gar species native to the state.

But the extent to which gar could control carp now is not well understood, and some people are skeptical.

“I don’t think alligator gar are going to be the silver bullet that is going to control carp, by any stretch of the imagination,” said Rob Hilsabeck, an Illinois Department of Natural Resources biologist who says the best hope is that carp will sustain an alligator gar fishery to draw trophy hunters.

Others are more optimistic about the effect once the larger fish is established, which might require cutting notches in canals to give them access to spawning sites.

Asian carp reproduce more quickly, but alligator gar also grow fast: Those stocked in one Illinois lake six years ago already are more than 4 feet long.

Quinton Phelps, a Missouri state fish ecologist, said the only way to effectively control carp is when they’re smaller, before they can spawn. Which is where alligator gar come in.

“There is potential for them to be a wonderful weapon, but it’s just potential right now,” he said.

One challenge is that huge gar could become a temptation for trophy fishermen, even before they’re old enough to spawn.

“It will be interesting to see if fishermen have enough integrity to pass up a 7-foot fish that’s 200 pounds,” said Christopher Kennedy, a Missouri fisheries supervisor who’s working on catch regulations. “We’d love to create a self-sustaining population that we can turn into a trophy fishery.”

Still, the fish has a public relations problem in some circles, including a boating group in Illinois, whose members recently derided it as a “trash fish” and questioned reintroduction efforts.

But avid angler Olaf Nelson, who in 2013 was the first to catch an alligator gar in Illinois in 50 years — a 2-footer in a stocked lake — said they’re important whether anyone wants to fish for them or not.

“Whether they’re loved or hated, they’re a natural part of the Illinois ecosystem,” he said. “It’s pretty rare that we can fix a mistake.”

A giant and fearsome fish, the alligator gar is likely to eat a wide variety of things. Given its large mouth and teeth, this isn’t an animal that you want to see while swimming

So, what do alligator gar eat? Alligator gar eat birds, turtles, other fish, and small mammals. They are a carnivorous type of fish, but they don’t usually pose a threat to humans.

But how much do these very large fish eat? And are there any predators out there capable of taking this fish on? Let’s learn all about the alligator gar now!

What Does an Alligator Gar Eat?

An alligator gar eats fish that are smaller than it, small mammals, birds, and even turtles. They are opportunistic and voracious eaters, usually responsible for keeping certain fish species in check so that their populations don’t grow too large.

Alligator gar love to eat shad, buffalo fish, and carp. Wildlife departments across the Southeastern United States use these ancient fish to maintain their aquatic ecosystems, as there is often a delicate balance involved here.

How to fish for alligator gar

The Top Aquaponics Fish Tank in 2022 Is…

Speaking of ancient, the alligator gar has ancestors dating back more than 200 million years! Through fossil records, we know that alligator gar are among some of the oldest and largest fish species on earth.

A Complete List of 10 Foods Alligator Gar Eat

Alligator gar have been known to eat the following foods:

  • Carp
  • Buffalo fish
  • Shad
  • Crabs
  • Ducks
  • Waterfowl
  • Other birds
  • Small mammals
  • Other fish
  • Turtles

How to fish for alligator garAn alligator gar eats fish that are smaller than it, small mammals, birds, and even turtles.

Alligator gar usually ambush their prey. They’re capable of remaining still for long periods of time in the water. Gar can make themselves look like logs, springing to life should a fish swim too close to their mouths.

Alligator gar have been known to eat prey that is up to 25% of their body length. They prefer smaller fish to eat, as their teeth easily come out. They are like crocodiles in this way, capable of regrowing any of their teeth, and they may go through over 1,000 teeth in their lifetimes.

Speaking of lifetimes, alligator gar live an average of 35 years. They don’t even start maturing until around the age of ten, giving them ample time to grow and live before reproducing. This fish is a wonder in terms of how long it can live and how long it has been on this earth!

How Much Does an Alligator Gar Eat?

Alligator gar eat almost constantly, especially at a young age. They require ample food, both in the wild and in captivity, and are often found eating in the wild. Given how opportunistic this fish is, don’t be surprised if it steals your bait or your waterfowl after a day of hunting.

Given the size of this fish, you can bet that it needs to eat a decent amount. The largest alligator gar ever caught weighed over 300 pounds, and many can reach 30 feet or more. This is one fish that needs to eat!

Young gar can waste away if not given ample food when kept in captivity. Their extremely fast metabolisms mean that they require a decent amount of food per day. This also means they have the potential of growing fast as well!

Alligator gar also grow quickly. In their first year, they can reach almost two feet in length, though their growth tapers off after their second year. According to The Southwestern Nationalist, male alligator gar are usually much smaller than female alligator gar.

Do Alligator Gar Have Any Predators?

Alligator gar do not have very many predators. Given their large size and relative aggression to all smaller species, most fish don’t choose the alligator gar as someone to pick fights with.

However, the alligator gar does have one primary predator: humans. The human race has hunted alligator gar for centuries, though it is a species that is hunted far less now. This is due to our overfishing of it in the first place, as well as the bad reputation alligator gar have as being scavenger fish.

Small or juvenile alligator gar do have more predators than fully grown ones. Given the fact that alligator gar grow much more slowly after the first two years of their lives, alligator gar may become prey more often than we think.

Young alligator gar are often consumed by birds, other fish, and alligators. Yes, the actual alligator, not other alligator gar! However, once this fish reaches a large enough size, most birds and fish don’t mess with it.

Is An Alligator Gar Dangerous to Humans?

Alligator gar are not usually dangerous to humans. This fish tends not to mess with anything larger than it, choosing to remain peaceful toward humans and larger predators. It is a solitary nighttime hunter as well, preferring to catch other fish in the dark when it can best ambush its prey.

Alligator gar have not been known to attack or hunt humans. They have however been known to steal fish or waterfowl game from hunters or fishermen. As we’ve mentioned already, alligator gar are extremely opportunistic eaters!

However, while you won’t likely get bit by an alligator gar, it is important to note that alligator gar eggs are toxic. Whatever is found within these eggs can make humans sick, so it is best to avoid eating these at all costs.

While adult alligator gar can be eaten (and have been eaten in the past), they have the potential of carrying various river diseases with them. They can be exposed to water hazards as well as unfortunate circumstances from whatever they choose to eat. Therefore, it is not a great idea to eat an alligator gar.

World renowned Alligator gar guide service with 18 IGFA world records. We fish the Trinity River and all of Texas for monster gar. Our guide service been featured on over 20 tv shows including River Monsters. We’ll take you to where the dinosaurs still swim and teach you everything you need to know about catching Alligator Gar! When it comes to Gar fishing, Captain Bubba Bedre is the best! Garzilla Alligator Gar Guide Service fishes seven days a week from Dallas to Houston on the Brazos and Trinity River. We catch Alligator Gar, Long Nose Gar, and Catfish; and we are masters in our craft! A guided Alligator Gar fishing trip into the wild is an excellent way to bond with family or friends. With FIVE boats in operation, Garzilla Alligator Gar Guide Service is able to have plenty of room for everyone. So, whether you’re a large group or a small one – we can create a trip that fits you perfectly. A full day trip is ten hours of fishing, and a great way to spend your day! We explore the Trinity River in search of the big ones. Included in the trip price is all bait, rods/reels, and tackle. You’ll want to make sure you have a valid Texas fishing license. Also be sure to bring snacks a.

World renowned Alligator gar guide service with 18 IGFA world records. We fish the Trinity River and all of Texas for monster gar. Our guide service been featured on over 20 tv shows including River Monsters. We’ll take you to where the dinosaurs still swim and teach you everything you need to know about catching Alligator Gar! When it comes to Gar fishing, Captain Bubba Bedre is the best! Garzilla Alligator Gar Guide Service fishes seven days a week from Dallas to Houston on the Brazos and Trinity River. We catch Alligator Gar, Long Nose Gar, and Catfish; and we are masters in our craft! A guided Alligator Gar fishing trip into the wild is an excellent way to bond with family or friends. With FIVE boats in operation, Garzilla Alligator Gar Guide Service is able to have plenty of room for everyone. So, whether you’re a large group or a small one – we can create a trip that fits you perfectly. A full day trip is ten hours of fishing, and a great way to spend your day! We explore the Trinity River in search of the big ones. Included in the trip price is all bait, rods/reels, and tackle. You’ll want to make sure you have a valid Texas fishing license. Also be sure to bring snacks and drinks, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. And remember to bring your camera – you’ll want to be ready to capture the giant Alligator Gar you will no doubt be reeling in! Capt. Bubba has loved fishing as long as he can remember. Chasing the Alligator Gar ever since he was a kid, he now professionally guides and shares his passion with all of his customers. He works hard to ensure you’ll have an adventure to remember! Book your Alligator Gar fishing guide today!

Fishing Trips with Garzilla Alligator Gar Guide Service start at: $850.00

How to fish for alligator gar

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How to fish for alligator gar

How to fish for alligator gar

The alligator gar is the largest freshwater fish in North America except the sturgeon, growing to lengths of over 9 feet and weighing up to 300 lbs. Its cousins, such as the Longnose and Spotted Gar, do not grow as large but can reach respectable sizes. Unfortunately, the gar is often portrayed as a nuisance, stealing bait and breaking the tackle of anglers targeting more popular species. The truth is that gar make a great sport fish, not only for their size but for their availability and strong fighting abilities.

Almost any southern lake, river, or stream has a good chance of containing some number of gar within it. In rivers, gar are usually found near deep bends or channels in an area containing large amounts of baitfish such as perch or shad. The same generally applies to lakes and other bodies of water. Large stands of sunken timber adjacent to deeper water seem to hold large number of gar as well. When scouting a location, look for disturbances on the water’s surface or for gar cruising along just under the surface. Gar often gulp air at the surface, making themselves easily visible.

Fishing for Gar

When rigging for Alligator Gar or any other gar species, it is important to match the tackle used to the size of the gar being targeted. For smaller Alligator Gar and other small species such as Longnose and Spotted Gar, a regular bass or catfish outfit will suffice. A rig like this might consist of a 6-9ft medium action rod and 10-20 lb. line. It is not necessary to use a steel leader for smaller gar, as their teeth generally aren’t large enough to cut through heavy mono. A leader consisting of a foot or two of 50lb monofilament attached to the main line with a swivel will function just fine. At the end of this leader, attach a 2/0-7/0 hook or a 2/0-5/0 treble hook. The hook of choice needs to be as sharp as possible so as to effectively penetrate the gar’s mouth, which is exceptionally tough. Bait should be alive of fresh dead fish or some sort, with perch, shad, shiner minnows, small carp, and goldfish being excellent choices. Match the size of the hook to the bait used, using a larger hook for larger bait and smaller hook for smaller bait.

For the true brutes over 4ft in length, tackle should be geared a little differently. Large surf fishing set ups and even smaller big game fishing reels like a Penn Senator 3/0 or 4/0 matched with a stout rod will be necessary to tame these monster. Rods should be capable of casting heavy baits and handling lines up to 50 lbs. test. Use at least 30lb line, braided or monofilament, when targeting the monsters. For hooks, look for live bait hooks by Owner or Gamakatsu in sizes up to 10/0 or large treble hooks up to 12/0 size. A steel leader is a must, with a short length of hardwire or coated steel cable being ideal. Big baits tend to attract monster gar the best, so use something the size of your hand or bigger if you’re after the big ones, matching your hook size to the bait you choose.

Gar often feed very near the surface, so adding a float about 3 feet above your bait or free lining it with no weight attached is a good technique. The hardest part of landing a gar is hooking it, so it is important to know how to go about setting the hook when a gar takes the bait. Since gar often feed in groups, when one takes a bait it usually swims some distance to get away from the competition before actually eating the bait. Because of their long, dense snout, it is important to wait until the gar has the bait in the back of its mouth before the hook is set. When the fish picks up the bait, have your reel in free-spool so that line can be taken with no resistance. Allow the gar to run for around 30 seconds or until it pauses in its run to set the hook, whichever comes first.

Once you’ve successfully hooked the gar, get ready for a spectacular fight with all the hallmarks of more glamorous species. Gar will often jump multiple times when hooked, and make long, strong runs that will test your tackle to its limits. Use extreme caution when handling gar, especially large Alligator Gar, as their teeth can inflict significant damage to any body part that gets near them.

All things considered, gar do not deserve their reputation as useless bait stealers or trash fish. They are an interesting and ancient fish that is worthy of being pursued by anglers. Few other fish in freshwater grow to such massive size and can provide the angling challenge that gar can. They are the freshwater game fish of many anglers’ dreams, and a challenging adversary for those who pursue them.