“Hooking a gar is like gigging a brick.”
John Madson, Up on the River
Since hammering home the hooks into that bony snout is so difficult, some gar anglers have come up with innovative lures that avoid the problem entirely. These lures are completely hookless.
Hookless gar lures employ materials that can entangle those thousands of tiny teeth. Simplest and most widely used of the entangling types is the rope lure. Attach a 4-inch section of 1/4” or 1/2” white nylon rope securely to a jig head. Apply glue to the jig hook, slide on the rope like you would a plastic worm, wrap the rope just behind the jig head with red thread, then cover the wrappings with more glue. Leave the hook on if you wish or snip it off for an thoroughly snagless lure. Fray the free end of the rope thoroughly with a metal-bristle brush. In the water, this shimmering, swimming lure looks rather minnow-like. This same lure can be made with nylon floss (available at fly fishing shops) in place of the rope which seems to improve the action but reduce the number of “hook-ups”. Strips of white nylon panty hose material will also work as a hookless skirt. (Caution! When your wife finds white nylons in your truck, don’t tell her they’re for a “nice skirt”.)
For many, a more effective hookless gar-getter, is a mono lure. Gather up a snarled wad of used 6-12lb monofilament line. Fold it over so that it measures about 4 inches. Tie it together with a small strip of red fabric and securely attach it to a jig head. Like before, leave or cut off the jig hook.
Great! The hookless lure worked, you landed a monster longnose, now how do you get that snarly mess out of a thrashing, toothy, beak?
These untraditional lures are especially useful for longnose gar. Their long and skinny bony beaks are the most difficult to hook. Shortnose and spotted gar can more often be hooked with standard, sharp trebles. Gar On!
-----by W. P. Meyer
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