garfish

garfish

Tracy&James | Thursday, 2 March 2017

In preparation for our next saltwater trip, we’ve been reviewing what flies we need so that James can tie up some that we’re low on. One of my most memorable fish from our last trip was a huge garfish that I hooked with a fly I was using to target sharks. It was swimming around with several smaller Gar and seemed intent on taking my fly. It took line, jumped quite a few times and was great fun to catch, though a bit fiddly to release with so many teeth! I remember distinctly that it had a beautiful blue colouration on its back.


James and I tend to be opportunists and cast to all sorts of fish whilst wading. I’ve cast at garfish many times and they pretty much always chase the fly and miss several times, rarely resulting in a hook-up.

I have often wondered if the way to ‘hook’ them is to use a fly with some form of yarn that tangles in their teeth or around their rough bill. Apparently Garfish have a very good eyesight and will easily spot small flies from great distances so colourful flies such as orange are supposed to be good, though the one I hooked on was pink.

I’ve read that small hooks are good as they will set much better in the hard bill of the Garfish. The hooks also need to be very sharp such as specimen hooks or even small dry fly hooks. Though these will rust more easily than traditional salt water hooks which might not be available in such small sizes.

It’s still difficult to get a hook-up when retrieving and I’ve found that you need to be patient, striking lightly on any feeling of weight in the line; expecting lots of missed takes. The retrieve tends to be long strips with stops in between however it depends on the circumstance; the large one I caught was very aggressive and took after one strip of the fly that was cast a few feet directly in front of it.

I’m told that the fish are excellent to eat and that they have iridescent green bones that although may look odd are apparently harmless. However the one I caught went back as I’d heard that the big Gars aren’t as tasty as the smaller ones.

Hopefully with some new flies, tied by James, I’ll be more prepared for our next trip and have more success in catching the Gars as well as lots of other species.

Tracy

Garfish 1

Garfish 2

Garfish 3

Garfish 4