The Gar – Trash Fish
I remember catching my first gar. It was in Cheswick, PA, along 28 outside of Pittsburgh. A buddy and I were fishing off a dock, and we must have hooked a gar just about every cast. We weren’t fishing for them; this hole was great for walleye and bass. The catfish, well, that is another story for another day.
I said we hooked one every cast. Notice I didn’t say we caught one every cast. In fact, the first night, we didn’t catch any. The next night, we stopped at the bait shop and asked about these prehistoric-looking fish. The shop owner said two things that I will never forget: First, to catch these creatures, you need to use pantyhose and chicken livers, a duck call wouldn’t hurt either; and secondly, if you catch one of these, make sure you kill it!
Pantyhose? A simple explanation. The mouth of the longnose gar is nothing but teeth. You can’t hook them with a normal hook. So you put chicken livers in pantyhose and their teeth get caught in the nylon. Bingo, you catch a gar. The duck call is used to attract the gars; they apparently like to feed on ducklings.
Kill it? Why on earth would I do that? I am a catch-and-release fisherman. I don’t kill fish. Besides, it may be illegal to kill these fish.
But don’t tell that to the good folks of Alabama. Since 1943, the laws of Alabama required a fishermen who caught a gar to kill it. There’s a movement to repeal that law, as well as one dealing with dueling. Hmmm, maybe the new law could require the longnose gar to be used in all duels?