Montreal fishing spots

Montreal fishing spots

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Shore fishing for longnose gar

One of the "forgotten" predators in many of the waterways around Montreal, is the longnose gar. Due to their narrow and bony snouts, they are quite hard to hook, and notorious for getting off before being landed most of the time. As such, they don't get targeted nearly as much as other predatory sport fish around here.

Most people fish them with hookless, rope or yarn flies. The hundreds or tiny jagged teeth tangle into the filaments, and chance of landing them increases. As I don't fly fish, I have a couple lures that I modified for fishing longnose gar. I simply make a small bird's nest of braid in between the treble hooks on the lure, in hopes of having the gar attracted by the lure, then "hooked" by tangling it's teeth in the braid.

While fishing from a boat for longnose gar can be quite productive, shore fishing for them is significantly tougher. Although aggressive at times, they are typically a very finicky fish, not giving up many second chances if you mess up the first shot you have at them. So, aside from finding them near shore, you have too hope they take the lure, get hooked, and stay on long enough to land. Easier said than done, as they tend to go ballistic once hooked, often doing cartwheel jumps when caught. To make matters even tougher, once you hook one, most of the others in the area take off, so you then have to find more to try to catch.

As they typically show up in the shallows on hot days starting in June, shore fishing for longnose gar entails a number of other factors.

First, stealth is probably the most important factor. Cast from where they could see you or land the lure to close, and they take off like a flash.

Second, is dealing with the various hazards of shore fishing in spring. Ticks and mosquitos are abundant, and vicious redwing blackbirds are ready to attack if you get too close to their nests. Soaking clothes and exposed areas with bug repellent containing higher percentages of deet is crucial, and keeping an eye and ear for what the birds are doing is important as well. Not to mention, stumps, and hidden rocks when wading in murky water.

I came close to hooking my first gar in a few seasons (I rarely fish for them) earlier in June. Had a couple good ones on that got off. Went back this afternoon, and found them at the same spot.

My modified Rapala F7 did the trick, after a missed hit by a smaller gar, I hooked the biggest on of the pod. Jumped into the water to hand land it wearing a rubber glove, and after a wild battle, I had my first longnose gar of the season on shore.

As all the other gar in the area spooked when I fought it, I moved down to another area a couple hundred feet or so further down the bank. I spotted a pod of 3 big gars, again, my hope of hooking the biggest of the three came true.

This gar was significantly fatter and a lot stronger than the first one, took some surprisingly long screaming runs before I was able to land it. Measuring 42 inches, it's the biggest longnose gar I have landed to date. Had to find a small boulder for my cameras autoshoot, needless to say, I have taken some better pics...

Very happy to finally have landed some good sized longnose gar on my modified lure. Sight fishing for gar from shore is tough, but extremely rewarding.

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