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tercel89

Gar fishing and eating

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Posted (edited)

All my life I've been told that Gar were trash fish and tasted terrible. I've been fishing a lot lately and been seeing Gar swiming right by me. So I decided to catch one amd eat it. They are great ! Taste just like alligator and the meat is really clean and doesn't smell. It's kinda chewy and very meaty like alligator but I like that. When I dressed the Gar I used tin snips to cut the armor skin. It really is like armor. I then cut away the long strips of meat just like you would on a deer. They ate like to long boneless tenderloins.  I didn't even have to get into the guts at all. If you like alligator and don't mind using tin snips to cut armored skin then you should try it. I'm very pleased ! Here are the pictures of the Gar from being dressed to cooked. This one was about 2.5 feet long. 

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Edited by tercel89
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Cool. For some reason it was stuck in the back recesses of my mind that they were toxic. A quick google search disproves that theory.

However, like a snapping turtle, I have little interest getting close enough to something with that many teeth to dress it.

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Yeah the eggs are supposedly toxic but the way I dressed this Gar , I only cut the skin , opened him up and took out the loins . This way of doing it doesn't even cut into the guts at all. 

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44 minutes ago, gregintenn said:

Cool. For some reason it was stuck in the back recesses of my mind that they were toxic. A quick google search disproves that theory.

However, like a snapping turtle, I have little interest getting close enough to something with that many teeth to dress it.

It makes me nervous every time one of those comes after my lure. 

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@tercel89, this is cool to see, thanks for sharing!

If that skin is that tough, could it be used for knife or gun leather? Maybe a belt?

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Gar backstrap. Nice!

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New one on me,never heard of anyone eating them. As kids we would sit on a railroad bridge and shoot them with .22 rifles

swimming underneath. Always there 3' to 5' in length. Old myth about them attacking humans proven untrue on a utube vid.

As far as eating on the Spring Striper run the people were keeping lots of asian carp out of the cumberland,said fantastic eating.

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my dad called them bugle mouth bass

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11 hours ago, TomInMN said:

@tercel89, this is cool to see, thanks for sharing!

If that skin is that tough, could it be used for knife or gun leather? Maybe a belt?

Quick Google says , yes, at least as accent pieces. 

 

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Gar is a game fish in Tn, can not bow fish them.

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3 hours ago, RED333 said:

Gar is a game fish in Tn, can not bow fish them.

Alligator gar, yes.

Longnose, shortnose & spotted aren't classifieds as game fish. 

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 This thread brought back a memory from long ago. 

We used to fish below the Ft. Gibson Dam in Oklahoma when I was growing up. When the turbines weren't running there was a body of water between the dam and shore (indicated by red/brown line in the following image). Everyone would wade out to about waist deep water to get closer to the dam were the larger fish seemed to be.  Once when there, I hooked something big and it was putting up one hell of a fight. It finally jumped a little ways out of the water and was a gar that seemed to be a least as long as me (I was about 12 when this happened). I was trying everything I could to break the line and finally succeeded. I turned around to wade ashore and saw that the 20-30 people that had been with me in the water were all standing on dry land. When we left, they were still fishing from the bank. :D

ft-gibson-dam.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Been eating gar for years. Good eating but pain in the ass to clean. Yes, exactly like you show, tin snips and take out the boneless backstraps. 

A bowfishing buddy and I were to supply fish for a company fish fry. Enough to feed a dozen+ folks. We whacked about 5 good size gar and cut them into nugget size, and into the hot oil they went. It was gone in no time. Never told anyone what kind of fish until it was all eaten. They didn't believe us, thought we were lying. LOL

BTW, yes, the eggs are toxic. Meat is fine.

Edited by 221 Fireball
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They made gar balls out of them where I grew up

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Posted (edited)

I went back today and hooked another one the same size but he got off. I then saw one at least 5 feet long and very big around. I couldn't lure him in. If I was to catch him , I bet those loins would be at least the thickness of your wrist . He was a big dude. 

Edited by tercel89

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Posted (edited)

This is news to me:

"Alligator gar have declined drastically in abundance over the past fifty years and the decline has been attributed to habitat loss. Accordingly, there has been an ongoing stocking program since 1999 to restore this gar in West Tennessee. For now, alligator gar are protected in the state and if one is caught, it must be released immediately. However, anglers are encouraged to report alligator gar catches to the nearest TWRA regional office, as this will assist the Agency in monitoring the restoration effort. Where harvest is allowed in other states, anglers report alligator gar ranging from 4-6 feet and weighing 40-150 pounds."

https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/twra/documents/fishing/anglersguide.pdf

Edited by hughd

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36 minutes ago, hughd said:

This is news to me:

"Alligator gar have declined drastically in abundance over the past fifty years and the decline has been attributed to habitat loss. Accordingly, there has been an ongoing stocking program since 1999 to restore this gar in West Tennessee. For now, alligator gar are protected in the state and if one is caught, it must be released immediately. However, anglers are encouraged to report alligator gar catches to the nearest TWRA regional office, as this will assist the Agency in monitoring the restoration effort. Where harvest is allowed in other states, anglers report alligator gar ranging from 4-6 feet and weighing 40-150 pounds."

https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/twra/documents/fishing/anglersguide.pdf

There are 4 types of GAR in TN according to this. From my amateur point of view, that doesn't look like an alligator gar. 

 

https://preprod.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/twra/documents/anglersguide.pdf

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19 hours ago, tercel89 said:

I went back today and hooked another one the same size but he got off. I then saw one at least 5 feet long and very big around. I couldn't lure him in. If I was to catch him , I bet those loins would be at least the thickness of your wrist . He was a big dude. 

If you want to target them specifically, you need a special lure & wire leader....

The lure consists of a 4-7" long length of white nylon rope. Unravel it a bit so it gets 'woolly' They snap at it & it catches in their teeth (this isn't a joke, by the way) Setting a hook in their bony mouths is really tough & an exercise in frustration at times! 

They're a ton of fun to fly fish for too! 

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I've caught a few when trolling for crappie on Tellico, most in the 12-18" range IIRC.  Always hated to catch one or even see one when fishing as I didn't want to deal with 'em.  They will really hit a crank bait, and those treble hooks don't come out easy, and those teeth will really mess up a crank bait as well. 

I've seen some characters on "Swamp People", those twin brothers, specifically go fish for gar using jugs baited with bream/bluegills on decent sized hooks with steel leaders.  Even showed them cooking the fish up in one of their dishes.

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51 minutes ago, Ronald_55 said:

There are 4 types of GAR in TN according to this. From my amateur point of view, that doesn't look like an alligator gar.

Correct, his seems to be a Shortnose. I thought the information concerning the Alligator gar might be of interest ...

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5 hours ago, Ronald_55 said:

There are 4 types of GAR in TN according to this. From my amateur point of view, that doesn't look like an alligator gar. 

 

https://preprod.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/twra/documents/anglersguide.pdf

Young alligator gar look a bit like a short nose, however, only the alligator gar has a double row of teeth in its upper jaw. But do handle with care when checking those teeth. LOL

In reality, it be pretty rare that you catch a gator gar in TN. I know they're stocking them, but they haven't taken hold yet in my observance and I use to bowfish a LOT of gar. The longnose is probably the most common caught on hook and line, and they get big. The state record is 38lbs, which probably be approaching 5'. I know they look like 6 or 7 ft swimming around, but it's that optical illusion like the whitetail deer that people think stand 5' tall at the shoulder. Just not so.

I use to tournament bowfish and we considered any longnose over 50" a trophy. Below is one my brother and I tag teamed below Nickajack.

Nowadays, I'd rather chase rough fish with a fly rod. :) 

IMG_0169.JPG

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Posted (edited)

Yeah......longnoses can get pretty hefty. 😉

Im still on the trail of a 6 footer.

https://imgur.com/a/5xxorXg

Edited by Handsome Rob
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7 hours ago, Handsome Rob said:

If you want to target them specifically, you need a special lure & wire leader....

The lure consists of a 4-7" long length of white nylon rope. Unravel it a bit so it gets 'woolly' They snap at it & it catches in their teeth (this isn't a joke, by the way) Setting a hook in their bony mouths is really tough & an exercise in frustration at times! 

They're a ton of fun to fly fish for too! 

The rope trick is how I caught my first one. LOL. It really worked !!!! 

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