Divemaster is heading muppere to Presque Isle for another shot at his lifer longnose, so it seems like a good time for a gar report.
Numbers have been good around the shiner schools, but not much size. So I start fishing a perch school instead. Sure enough, something grabs my lure at close range and takes off. I reel it over and see it’s a nice gar. He looks at me. I look at him. He laughs a little. Then opens his beak, shakes the lure, and swims away.
Was the biggest gar I'd seen this year, so I continue to follow schools of juvenile perch around the bay, hoping he’ll show up again. Couple weeks later, he does. I’m casting in the shallows, between some matted weeds, and boom. This ol' boy is mad, let me tell you. Thrashes on the surface, then takes off, pulling a bunch of string.
Manage to guide him through the thick weeds and walk him toward a small gap in the shore reeds. There’s a log floating in front of the gap, and another one off to the side. I see a space between the two, and bring him through it. As soon as he notices the bank he goes bananas. Leaps in the air and does a somersault over the log. I’m talking about a backwards somersault. Jesus.
Now he's running drag. Get him back and he jumps again. Take advantage of his airborne state and yank him over the log. Momentum carries him into some bramble where I can get ahold of him and flop him onto the sand.
So don’t be afraid to get away from the schooling gar and minnows and do some blind casting around bigger baitfish. It can pay off.
Have been some pretty rowdy Spots around this season, too. Of course, they’re endangered in PA and we’re not allowed to target them, but I do have a happy accident now and then.
A final shot of me garfishing on Presque Isle, courtesy of Fred Olds.