Sunday, September 07, 2008

August Was A Slow Month With Weather Changes But September Is Looking Up!

With all the crazy changes in the weather in August, Gar Fishing took an unexpected turn for the worst. It seemed like Gar were scattered all over West Point Lake but out in the middle in 25-40 feet of water. I couldn't find a school to fish so that made sight casting nearly impossible.

Tuesday September 2nd Debbie took the day off and went out on the lake with me and for most of the day we were looking for Gar in all the wrong places. I told Debbie what I should do is start from the beginning since cooler fall type weather was exactly what I was experiencing when I first discovered Longnose Gar on West Point Lake. We took a drive to the first place I saw a big school of Gar and caught my first Gar of the day. I was very small but never the less a Gar. Then after figuring out there were no more to be caught in this pocket we trolled around the corner and ran right smack into a large school of suspended Gar. They were mostly this years hatch sized Gar which by the way, grow a ton it seems in their first year of existence. We only caught two small ones in this school.

After wearing ourselves ragged from casting we decided to start heading back to the boat ramp but I decided to make one stop before we left which turned out to be the best decision of the day because this place was stoked with hungry aggressive Gar and we had a hour and a half of some really great fishing! I mean these dudes were hungry!!! They smashed my lure like I hadn't seen since the spring and I was in heaven again! I wound up with two Gar for the G.A.S.S. Tournament on Bob Frick’s website, One off these hungry brutes smashed my lure so hard it flew up out of the shallows about two feet out of the water in a frenzy and Debbie said, "what in the world just happened?" and I said "that's my Gar!" as it swam straight out of the grass and directly toward my boat with my line laying limp in the water. This was my biggest Gar of the day at 14lbs-10ozs and 50 inches long. It ended up being a pretty exciting day. Too bad I was so tired from trying to find these buggers all day long that I couldn't enjoy it like I should've.

I've only been Gar Fishing for five years now and I've learned a lot over the years. This year has taught me more about the changing patterns of Longnose Gar on West Point Lake from the summer peek to the emerging fall months and tropical weather cool downs. By the time I really know this great fish I will probably be to old to fish for them but I can tell you one thing; I'll be out there after this magnificent species of fish for as long as I possibly can. Hopefully I can teach my grandsons or grand daughters to be as excited as I am about Gar Fishing and they take me fishing when I'm to old or too sick to launch and land the boat. I love the challenge the fish provides and there isn't a fish on West Point Lake that compares...even the largely touted largemouth bass and hybrid bass that get all of the press and attention. I'm not upset with that though. If everyone Gar Fished then this fish would be over fished and under managed, as these other fish and I wouldn't be able to let my clients experience this illusive enjoyment.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Second Biggest Gar Of The Season

My wife Debbie took a day off to Gar Fish with me today and like usual this late in the season, fishing was slow. We started out at my most productive spot of late and there were a few Gar surfacing but not as active as we would have like, so we moved to the spot where Debbie caught her 23lb-6oz monster a week ago. This spot was totally empty so we moved back to the original location. After about 20 minutes a Large Gar surfaced about 20 yards from the boat. I really had no idea which direction it was headed so I just made a cast as close as I could to the swirl and started working the rope lure. I was about to retrieve it back to the boat, in fact just started doing just that when I felt the Gar hit my lure. I free spooled my reel and just felt it out with my fingers on the line and felt that the Gar was still on. As the Gar began to move away with my lure I told Debbie, "I've got it on now but you know how my luck has gone recently with that. I have it on then I don't have it on." I have had a lot of bad luck with Gar hitting my lure, thinking that I have it on, and then, nothing. The Gar just some how backs out of the lure in this fat water and disappears and then I’m left wondering what just happened. Anyway, this one just kept moving away with my lure and after feeling a couple of headshakes I lock my reel down and tighten up on it. I told Debbie that I wasn't sure how big it was and then suddenly this gal started stripping line. I could now feel the heaviness of the Gar and I knew it was at least big, but I couldn't tell how big yet. This Gar just kept feeling heavier and heavier and with every headshake, in my mind it was getting bigger and bigger. I finally pulled it up to the surface, even by the boat and I told Debbie, "This is one of our biggest Gar this year", And then suddenly this thing started stripping line like crazy, on and on until I began getting worried and tightened down my drag a bit. Do you think that stopped this beast; not really because my line on this Ambassadeur 6500, a fairly big reel, was about to become empty so I locked the drag down some more and finally stop it. I don't have hooks so this is a delicate situation and I had to be very careful not to pull the nylon out of it’s beak. The Gar had taken me out into the middle of the lake by then and just seemed to keep getting deeper and deeper and I finally realized it had gone to the bottom and found a stump or tree to try and get lose. Luckily I pulled it off the structure and finally, finally got it up to the surface by the boat, reached out and grabbed it by the beak. At last, it was in the boat and knew then it would challenge Debbie's big Gar of last week. After taking a measurement at 53 inches I then tried to weigh it and the nylon pulled loose and the big Gar fell to the floor of my boat. I told Debbie, "Lets go ahead and get some pictures before I find a way to weight this big girl". After the pictures I found some rope and tied it's beak up and weighed it and fell a little short of Debbie's Gar but weighed 22lbs-6ozs, my second biggest Longnose of the season. A great start to the day but the only Gar caught all day long.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Debbie Catches Our All Time Record Longnose Gar!

Overall, we had a very slow day of Gar Fishing West Point Lake but that didn't stop my wife Debbie from putting one on the West Point Lake Gar Grabber's Record book for all time biggest Gar caught from my boat ever!

There just wasn't a lot of Gar activity today and the boat traffic was very heavy but only a light wind blowing to help cool us off. Suddenly while blind casting a shallow point Debbie say, "I got one!" I asked her if it felt big while she was letting free spool and she said "no, I don't think so", so I said well, "Lock it down and let's see." Then all of a sudden Debbie's reel let out a whine while she held on for dear life as the big Gar stripped what seemed like miles of line out of her reel. I went to the back of the boat with her to tighten her drag a bit while she held on tight. I knew then that this was a beast of a Gar but we still couldn't see it yet. Every time she would gain an advantage on the Gar it would start stripping more line and Debbie was getting stressed a little from trying to hold it back. Exercise class was now coming in hand as she continued to fight this big brute of a Gar. Finally it settled down enough to get it close to the boat and as I reached for my gloves the big ole Gar made another tear and bent Debbie's Rod doubled again. I told here it isn't through quite yet and she needed to let it run a few more times before we attempted a landing. Finally the Gar settle down enough that I made a grab for it and as I pulled it from the water I was amazed at the girth and length of Debbie's catch, and I knew then that it was one of the biggest of the year.

After measuring the Gar it was time to weigh this big girl. I made several attempts to get a weight but either the nylon on in beak wasn't strong enough to hold it's weight or my glove would get stuck in it's teeth and I'd have to lay it down and start over again. Finally I weighed it while Debbie read the scales and it proved to be the biggest Gar we have ever caught on West Point Lake. It weighed 23lbs-6ozs and measured 53-1/2 inches long!

After a few pictures we said goodbye to the big Gar and Debbie and I both flopped down into our seats and grabbed a cold drink and talked about the biggest of all time caught by my Debbie who now holds the all time biggest Gar record to be one day beaten; by me I hope!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gar Fishing A Little Tough Right Now

Gar Fishing is a little tough right now folks. I went out last week when a cold front was passing through and only caught one Gar that had a deformed beak. I kind of reminded me of Bill Engvall's joke about the Dork Fish that was caught with a corndog. I had my lure topped off in red so maybe it thought my rope lure was a corndog with ketchup on it or something.

Then today I went out for the first time since last Tuesday and snag two nice Gar that didn't get tangled good enough to land but did manage to catch this nice Longnose that went 47 Inches and 13lbs-3ozs. I pretty confident that if I could have stayed on the water I would have caught a few more but Mother Nature took over my fishing day with a big storm that ran me off the lake. I don't like lightning!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Debbie Rules The Day Again!

Today wasn't the most ideal conditions for Gar fishing, at least for me they weren't. It was overcast and very windy and with one trolling motor battery on the blink I spent all day trying to hold us still. It was just the right conditions however for Debbie to catch the biggest Gar again! As I struggled to keep her still for just the right cast, Debbie beats me again. She really can't fish all that good I just can't compete while always working for her. It's just like this all day long, "Here, give me my Gar you just finished wrestling with, grab that camera and take my picture then hurry up and get me retied and back in position so that I can fish again. By the way, don't throw at that Gar, it's mine"!

Here's the truth now. I work like crap to get myself in the best position to catch the biggest Gar all day long and Debbie still comes up with it. Debbie is quickly becoming a Gar Fishing force to be reckoned with. But, if she keeps on beating me she's going to learn to release her own Gar, and I'm not kidding! This is getting embarrassing!!! At least it will eliminate all excuses I have, so what do you say Debbie? Gonna started handling your own Gar now? "Yes Mam, sorry I asked"!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another Big Georgia Fat Boy Today

I finally got back out on the lake today for some Gar fishing and my honey hole for this year was stoked with big fat Gar. Being a Sunday the boat traffic was awful at best with big waves rocking me all day. It's amazing to me that these Gar stay so close to all of this boat traffic with tubers, skiers, big boats and jet skis passing by all day long and the Gar know exactly where to go to stay out of traffic. I'm sure that if these people knew about the big Gar living just a stones throw from where they fall off their tubes at they would probably think twice! I know that the Gar would harm them but just knowing would run some of them off.

Anyway, while being tossed back and forth, left and right for about 3 hours, I was able to get in some Gar fishing. I seemed that right after the waves would die off the Gar would resurface. I threw at some monsters today and had several big Gar follow my lure to the boat but no takers. I've got to figure out what will make them bite more often and I'm determined to find a way.

Today I brought four spinner baits with me, and before I left the house I cut the end of the hook off of them and bent the spoon out and out of the way of the nylon rope I will later attach to it. I remembered that I way using a spinner bait the first time I ever saw Gar on West Point Lake and they were biting at it then so why not with some nylon attached to it. After rigging it up on my first cast i got a follow from a big Gar. I got several more follows and put it down and picked up my normal rig. Later I cut the nylon shorter, from about 8 inches to maybe 6.5 inches. I think that made a difference too because shortly afterwards I landed this nice 17lb-4oz Longnose that measured 49 Inches long. Not that long but very fat! All of the Gar this year has all been very fat and not very many over 50 inches. It's always a good day when you catch a big Gar, even if it's only one.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Heaviest Longnose Of The Season - 22lbs-11ozs But Only 51 Inches Long

I finally broke my drought in style today. Timmy and Julie went out with me today and from 8:00am to 12:30pm we saw Gar early then saw no Gar from about 10:00am until I let them off at the boat ramp. Timmy had worked all night and really wasn't up to it but Julie fished her heart out the whole time. Just as I was letting them out I asked Julie was she sure she didn't want to stay on for a while longer. I told her I was going back to the whole where we saw plenty of Gar early on but couldn't get them to bite and she said she was through. As luck would have it the sun was high and Gar were feeding big time! On my fourth cast I hung into a 22lb-11oz monster that measured 51 inches in length. I hung another nice one that pulled loose but still ended up with one more nice Gar that went 17lbs-5ozs and measured 48.5 inches long. I just didn't want to give up and I wished that Julie had stayed with me because I knew Timmy had to get some sleep. Maybe she would have caught that Gar of a lifetime!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Debbie Beats Me Up Big Time!!!

There's just something about a Girl who Gar fishes. There's also something to be said about one who has gotten good enough to beat me; and beat me she did. The second half of my Gar Fishing vacation hasn't been the greatest for me but if you're with me Longnose Gar Fishing, now that's a different story. You are bound to catch big Gar and at the same time listen to me whine about not catching them. That's the way it's been for me since Wednesday this week. I can be a much bigger baby with her than I can other company too but that didn't stop Debbie from putting a pounding on me yesterday. For Debbie, yesterday was filled with line striping, hard fighting Longnose Gar action as she caught three very nice Gar. It has become evident to me that the girls I have taught to Gar Fish have learned very well; well enough to beat me quite often now. A question; if I get beat by these girls, shouldn't they start tying their own lures on, landing there own Gar and releasing them on their own by now? We Julie is doing that very thing. She only needs me for my boat, but Debbie still has me serving her the whole fishing day. Here's answer; wonderful woman let's be loose hundred's of dollars in camera equipment and then takes me straight to Wal-Mart to replace it that evening, I gladly tie her lures, and handle all of her Gar from now on. I only ask that she let me win occasionally. I love you Debbie!

Here are the pictures and video from yesterday.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dogged By A Rookie Today!

Selling Cars and Catching Gars!
Ask For Donnie Hinkle "West Point Lake Gar Grabber"

It was a tough day for me but Clint, on the other hand didn't think so. This lucky son of a gun caught every Gar that was put in MY BOAT today! It started out with wind and clouds, not a great formula for Gar fishing but we found a spot a little out of the wind and first thing, found nice school of Longnosers. Clint and I both hung one at the same time and they both shook free, and the again I hung one and it shook free to, but not Clint. He boated his first Gar of the day, a nice 13lb-15oz Gar that measured 49 inches in length. From that point on, it was Clint’s day and my fall from glory! Every time we changed location, Clint would either hang a big Gar or catch a big Gar as I continued to struggle. His next Gar was a very fat and healthy 15lb-10oz beauty that measured another 49 inches but this one was fat! Clint thought he had caught a Gar of a lifetime, but Donnie wasn't through being humiliated quite yet!

As the weather finally calmed and the sun came out from behind the clouds we moved to a new spot I had located on Tuesday, the spot where I caught my 20lb-1oz Gar that I now faintly remember catching. Just as fate would have it Clint lassoed the big Gar of the day. A very strong and healthy 22lb-5oz Longnose Gar that measured 50 inches in length! What a beast this dude was. I was glad for Clint but still wondering what the heck happen to me, the experienced Gar Fishermen? I threw my lure until I was absolutely sick of throwing it and finally conceded to defeat. I kept telling Clint to savor the moment because he would never step foot in my boat ever again! I mean, what a way to treat a host to a Gar Fishing gift as I treated him with today!

Clint, while I kept ragging you about beating me, I know that you wanted to smack talk me for the sound beating that you put on me today, by a rookie Gar Fishermen as yourself. There is a comments section below since we're not face-to-face and there's no threat of me tossing you out of my boat now, so have at it dude! Just remember I have the authority to publish or reject!

Garrasic Park!

Selling Cars And Catching Gars!Ask For The
"West Point Lake Gar Grabber"

Boy did I stumble onto some good Gar Fishing on West Point Lake this week. Monday I had one of my very best days of Gar Fishing EVER!!! Here are Mondays totals:

12lbs-7ozs & 51 inches
19lbs-3ozs & 49 Inches (A bowling Ball with a tail and beak!!!)
10lbs-5ozs & 45 inches
17lbs-7ozs & 49 Inches (Another Georgia Fat Boy!)
16lbs-1oz & 15.5 inches

Man what a great day! I was on cloud 9 and ready to come home and share my success then tragedy struck! I had my camera and tripod standing up on the back of my boat and another boats wake made it topple over and I lost everything in about 15 feet of water! man was I disappointed, so a made of a picture of my biggest Gar so you could get a idea of what it looked like.

I thought you'd like that! We'll my wonderful wife Debbie drove me to Wal-Mart and bought me a new camera, tripod, 2GB card, and a camera bag and said here is your early Fathers Day present! I love this woman. I was so depressed because I had taken the whole week off to Gar Fish when this accident occurred and she jumped right in there and made it all better for me. I still wish I had those pictures though but I ended up with 5 times the camera I had before for the same money we paid 4 or 5 years ago. Gas should be like technology and get better and cheaper with time!

So I hit the lake with my new camera and tripod which was anchored down like I had cemented it to the back of my boat, right back to the spot I called Garrasic Park. To my surprise there wasn't a Gar to be found! So, I started looking around to try and figure out where they went too when I saw another point with the same characteristics as Garrasic Park and I hit the mother load! Landed my second heaviest of the year that went 20lbs 1oz and measured only 51 inches long. Another big Georgia Fat Boy! Here are the totals for the day.

20lbs-1oz & 51 inches (Fat Fat Fat!)
13lbs-4ozs & 47 inches
17lbs-5ozs & 51.5 inches
14lbs-10ozs & 49 inches

All but one was extremely health Longnose Gar. I was going to take the day off today but Timmy called me and said that today is the only day he can fish so I'm off to the lake again this morning! They are having a Longnose Gar Masters Tournament on , AKA G.A.S.S. (Gar Anglers' Sporting Society) on the web and I have some pretty healthy competition, especially this villain Bob Frick from Alabama who is hosting the competition. I hope to give Bob a run for his money while doing a lot of smack talk in the process! One guy Bob from Wisconsin said that he might have to hire me for a guide trip to compete! Georgia and especially West Point Lake does have some might fine Gar Fishing if you know where to find them!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Day 1 Of My Annual Gar Fishing Vacation Week

Selling Cars and Catching Gars!
Ask For Donnie Hinkle "West Point Lake Gar Grabber"

Today was the first day of my week long Gar Fishing Vacation and my wife Debbie hit the water a little late, around 11:00am. This day was a strange one indeed and left me feeling rather anxious about what tomorrow may offer me.

I started out at a spot that is usually pretty stacked with Gar but nothing at all in sight and no strikes, and then I moved to another productive location and did manage one Gar that went 15lbs-11ozs and 48 inches. This was a chunky Gar but the picture for some reason didn't do it justice. Maybe it's because the guy holding it is getting too big and it's making my Gar look littler. Any ways, it turned out being the biggest Gar of a rather disappointing first day.

Then We moved to the spot where I caught my biggest Gar of the season but nothing, so we decided to take the long ride up river where the Gar are always plentiful. When we arrived, to my surprise my most productive Gar hole was totally empty. I was stunned at the lack of activity at what seemed to be a tailor-made Gar weather day.

Then we went back up to my "Old Faithful" Gar hole and found them finally! Debbie landed the first that went 14lbs-6ozs and 50 inches in length. The weather started getting a little turbulent, no rain though, just a brief threat that got the wind up so that sight fishing became impossible.

Then the weather straightened up a little and we moved back to the original place that we started at and I caught a small 44 incher. Then Debbie landed our last gar of the day, this one her biggest upwards of 14lbs that turned into one big pain in the, you know what. It was very rambunctious while in the boat and tail slapped my rod and reel out into the water, so I dropped the Gar and made a lunge for my fishing pole and grabbed it just as it was going out of sight! Lucky me! That was almost $150 down the drain or down into 10 feet of water in West Point Lake.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Biggest Longnose Gar To Date - A Fat 22lbs-3ozs & 51 Inches Long

Selling Cars and Catching Gars!
Ask For Donnie Hinkle "West Point Lake Gar Grabber"

The Gar Gods were smiling on ole Donnie today!!! Today I'm a happy man! I landed the biggest Longnose Gar I've ever caught on West Point Lake to date.

I took Chris Smith from Mike Patton Auto Family Gar fishing with me today. I try to take Chris at least once a season. My way of thanking him for all the help he provides me with throughout the year with computer stuff.

The day started out pretty good with several nice Gar landed but as the day grew on I kept seeing good-sized Gar and I would tell Chris, "That's a nice Gar but it's not what I'm looking for." You see, after catching a few nice Gar I always settle into a big Gar sight-fishing mode. I will comb the waters for the largest Gar I can see and toss a rope at him. So after Chris and I both caught a few nice ones we started cherry picking.

We changed location on numerous occasions and at one spot I hung what would have been the big Gar of the day. After a few huge line-stripping runs I was able to work the Gar to the boat and suddenly it charged beneath my boat and broke the line off. I was pretty upset for two reasons. One, I had my drag set way to tight and I should have played the Gar longer until it gave out some before trying to boat it, and two, I know that there’s no way the big Longnose will survive. That's 3 Gar this season that have broken off on me. I'll have my drag set lighter from now on to prevent this from happening again I hope.

Now for the good stuff! After fishing this location a little longer we changed places and went to the spot where I've caught my biggest Gar of this season. I know I always have a shot at a nice one there. After being on location for only a few minutes I saw one surface and I said, "man, that one has a head like a buffalo." The big Gar was moving away from my boat, not the most ideal cast to make but I did make a good cast and the Gar circled around and launched himself at my lure and the fight was on! This big Longnose Gar striped more line from my reel than any this year and I was afraid that it had the line in it’s beak like the last one that broke off earlier, but to my surprise it came straight back to the boat and made a hard fight seem easy, for a moment that is. After a few more brief runs and with the help of Chris Smith who shoved a glove onto my right hand I grabbed it's massive beak on the first attempt and held on for dear life as the Gar nearly shook my shoulder loose from the socket. When I dragged it into the boat I knew it was a Longnose Gar of a lifetime for me on West Point Lake. Chris got two good pictures of it then on the last shot where I was holding the Gar underneath it's head and gut the beast started cutting up, I dropped it and then it shook itself to freedom back into the water to where it came from. What a blast is all I have to say and I'm sure my face in the pictures shows what a thrill it is for me to catch a big Longnose Gar like that one.

Thanks to Chris Smith who helped me land my biggest Longnose Gar to date as quickly as I did and for taking the pictures that would been very difficult to do so alone. Thank you Chris!