Sunday, April 27, 2008

Slow At First But Then The Sun Started Peeping Through

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

After waiting out the rain at home I saw a break in the weather on the radar so I loaded up the boat and headed out to the ramp. There wasn't much happening early or at least I didn't see one big enough to toss my rope lure too.

As the day progressed it got a little warmer and but the sun still wasn't showing itself. I was beginning to see some Gar now but I couldn't get them to hit my lure, then I remembered that I had some yellow worm dye in my storage compartment so I put on a new lure and dipped it the dye. Well, that was the ticket because I suddenly started catching Gar. The first one wasn't very impressive so I didn't measure or take a picture of it. Then I caught another small one. Now I had figured out what was working it was time to start getting selective.

Suddenly a saw a whopper gliding along the shallows so I tossed my lure out in front of the Gar and she nailed it right away. This was a very strong Gar too! It took about 10 minutes to land it and when I got the rascal in the boat I found out it wasn't nearly through fighting. This thing just kept on whipping around until I thought my thumb would come right out of the socket! It had a nice set of choppers too! I wish I would have got a picture of them but I'm not sure this Gar would have stood still for that. She was a strong girl for sure.

I caught one more that was smaller but great fun when it made three huge leaps. This one was also tough to hand in the boat. Overall it was a good day for this early in the season.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What A Day Of Longnose Gar Fishing It Was!!!

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

Today I took Timmy and Julie Monteith, my stepson and daughter-in-law on their first Longnose Gar Fishing trip of 2008. Julie has been reminding me all winter about how I forgot the camera the day Julie caught her biggest Gar of the 2007 season! You can bet Julie didn't forget because all winter long when Gar Fishing became the topic she would always remind me. This year I put it in the boat before I went to bed.

We started out at our original Gar whole with no luck so we took the long ride up the river where I new we would have some luck. Timmy started the day with a nice 10 pounder that measured 44 inches. Then Julie got in on the action with her first Gar of the season. It went about 9 pounds and a good fighter. Later Julie and I land a double while Timmy held the camera for a shot. Both of these went about 10 pounds each.

After we had worn this spot out we headed back down river to the area we first began fishing but a different hole. There we saw some very nice Gar but none of them were biting, just nudging the lure around as if they were escorting it out of their region. It seems they are in a pre-spawn mode and mostly uninterested in the rope offering. Then we moved to the next spot and that is where the action began.

This is a good fish story so listen up! I spotted a very nice Longnose just beneath the water surface. I tossed my rope to it and like the others, it began to escort the lure away but it was close enough to the boat that I just reached out and looped the lure around its beak and then it was on! She didn't want any part of my rope or me as I let it free spool out into the deep. I wasn't sure I had snagged it very well when suddenly the big Gar leaped out of the water with massive headshakes and slashed back into the water with all the fury of a monster Longnose Gar! At that moment I new it was bigger than I had thought previously! As I worked the Gar to the boat it got really heavy. As I was trying to pull the big Gar up from the depths it was backing up, or down I should say like we were having a game of Tug Of War. I was still afraid it wasn't hung well so I asked Timmy to make a grab for it while I gradually pulled just hard enough to get it's beak out of the water. Finally, the Big Gar was in the boat and we all were stunned at how much bigger it was out of water than in it. This was an old Gar with amour that looked like a car that had oxidized paint from lack of care. I started getting my scales to weight the beast and just as I got the scales into the nylon that was still around it's beak to weigh it, the Gar started releasing eggs all over the back of my boat and I shouted, "Be careful, a Longnose Gars row if poisonous!" Well, Timmy with a hand full of heavy Gar hanging from the weighing scales started moving it out over the water so that the rest of the row wouldn't go all over our clothes and I noticed Timmy was holding the scales only and I was afraid the Gar would pull loose from it's weight, so I started yelling, "Timmy, hold it back over the boat!" He said, “ I’m trying to dip the roe off the Gar", but, I could see he was only holding the scales and I was afraid still that it would pull loose and fall into the water. Suddenly Timmy's grip gave away and the Gar and my new scales I had just bought fell into the water. We all just stood there in disbelief. I didn't get a picture of it out of water, never really weighed the huge Gar, and no measurements! I'll have to guess but I would say at least 18 pounds, maybe more and 58 inches, maybe longer, but that's just a guess with the Gar smimming of with the nylon still on it's beak with my scales hanging from it! It made us all sad to know that this old Gar will eventully die from starvation. More lessons learned I guess.

Right when you think the story has ended the Gar came back up from the depths and tried to shake the rope and scales off of her and we spent the next 30 minutes chasing this Gar around while it showed itself time and time again just beneath the surface. Every time we were in position to reach into the water and grab it by hand it would go under again. Then it was gone. End of story.

It would have really been a great story if we had caught it again and that nearly happened on a few occasions. Too bad we couldn't free it and to bad I couldn't catch my scales too! At least we got some good camera shots of the day with Julie as the star of the show! Lots of proof that Julie Monteith is very good Gar fishermen or fisher lady. Are you happy now Julie? Probably not because the Gar isn't big enough, right?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

First Gar Of 2008

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

I caught my first Gar of 2008 today. I went up river to do a little Gar scouting, and to my surprise I started seeing them surface up ahead. I began to blind cast for them without any luck. They weren't that thick so I started to cruise the bank to see if any Gar were in the grass. The water level on West Point Lake is higher than I've seen it in fours years in April. That's where they were! Just outside of the grass line. I didn't see any really big ones but did manage to catch two. One went 9lbs-10 oz and 41 inches and the biggest was 15lbs-5 oz and 49 inches. Not bad for this early in the year. That sunny afternoon really paid off.