So you think you want to do some Alligator Gar fishing? You will need to pack some gear up to the task. With weights from 100 to 200 lbs. and razor sharp teeth, it’s time to check the tackle box.
For those that have been sport fishing for sharks a lot of the same gear will fit this task. You will need steel leaders three to four feet long, at least 40 lbs. test or better. Depending on how big a fish you want, a 6/0 treble hook should do the job.
You will want to keep your bait just below the surface of the water. Alligator Gar are predatory and they ambush prey. Legal live bait fish are good, shad, mullet and shiners tend to work best. Make sure you bring decent size bait 10”, remember these are big boys were fishing for.
When you see bait fish breaking this is a good time to cast. River bends are with deep holes running up to shallows are great places to fish for this monster. Set your drag back and let this fish run a bit, he will have plenty of fight in him so you will want to let him tire out a bit. Do your best to keep him from running up under logs, or river debris. If you can keep him in open water you will have a much greater chance of landing him. These guys will run under embankments, trees, logs anywhere to try and elude you.
Let your gear do the work. This fish expect to fight for a good while. Wear him down before you bring him on shore or into a small boat. This is also no fish to play with, powerful jaws and razor sharp teeth make this fish very dangerous. If fishing with kids or pets make sure they give this fish a wide berth. A hard flip of this guy’s tale and you could easily find yourself with a broken ankle or leg.
This is an extremely hard fish to catch and release. Be sure you have proper safety gear on before you attempt to remove a hook. Do not release this animal with a large treble hook in its mouth. Unlike saltwater that will destroy a hook, fresh water will not. Using a long needle nose plyer with safety gloves, but make extremely sure the fish is exhausted. Again this is no animal to play with and demands a huge amount of respect.
For sport fisherman this fish should be included in your “fish bucket list”. A world class fighter you can catch right off the river bank. As a fishing writer this fish is next on my list. Many friends have fished and have some amazing stories from the Trinity River in Texas. You can find guides to get you out and into some monsters. Texas has a bag limit so be sure and check with the Texas Department of Fish and Game before you go fishing.
Alligator Gar lives up to its name and reputation as a great fighter. Good luck!