Alabama

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The dots link to Bing maps that get you in the neighborhood, if not to the exact spot. Submissions include a link to the location the gar were caught (if known). State records are shown with a star.
Yellow Star/Dot = Alligator Gar
Pink Star/Dot = Florida Gar
Red Star/Dot = Longnose Gar
Green Star/Dot = Spotted Gar
Blue Star/Dot = Shortnose Gar

State Records:


August 2011, Ditto's Landing

GASSman,
My last trip to Ditto landing, Huntsville, AL for the year ended in success. After losing three fish and suffering from a bait shortage, I was losing hope, but in a last-ditch effort to catch a fish right before we left, I caught a panfish and tossed it in 2 1/2 feet under a float on a 2/0 offset shank O'Shaughnessy hook. I let it run until I started seeing the spool under the line, then tightened down until I felt the weight and raised the rod tip with moderate force, not necessarily a hookset. After I realized I had connected, I set the hook (for real) several times. After a battle lasting a few minutes, I landed my personal best longnose with a length of 45 inches. It tied, though, with another longnose as far as weight it concerned, at 11 lbs. I got lucky this time, as all I recieved from this gar was a small cut on my ankle. Unfortunatley it did not survive the gut hooking. Only one of my gar have been taken by mouth-hooking, all others have either been gut-hooked or foul-hooked.
Tight lines,
Tyler G, 08/16/11



August 2011, Ditto's Landing

GASSman,
I hit Ditto landing in Huntsville, AL again. This time I got a cast net which now needs repair thanks to all the rocks it got snagged on... I actually went for a swim at one point, treading water and trying to pull it free.... nonetheless it produced, I caught a lot of shad. Unfortunately they don't stay alive on the hook so I settled for bluegill and a baby bass, as well as a baby catfish my uncle caught. I missed a lot of strikes... many spit the hook, two broke the line on the hookset. Finally, on my last bluegill minutes before we were going to leave, my line got hit, and hard. I waited a very long time before setting the hook, and was rewarded. Really, the gar had no idea what was going on until it got close to the dock, then it went crazy.

I used my glove and grabbed it by the beak to pull it onto the dock. It helped then, but not a few seconds later, when the gar thrashed and bloodied up my ungloved hand. Again I lifted it, only for it to thrash again and stick one of the hooks, badly bent on all three points, into the thumb of my gloved hand, through the soft material on top.. I measured and weighed it, and found it to be 39 inches long and 7.1 lbs, which is actually my smallest longnose to date. I released it, and after a gulp of air, it slowly moved off. In the end, I had 12 cuts on my left wrist, 3 on my left index finger, 2 on my left middle finger, 3 on my left palm and 2 on my right thumb. I'm beginning to feel more and more like Jeremy Wade...Watch the video!
Tight lines,
Tyler G, 08/08/11



August 2011, Ditto's Landing

GASSman,
I went back to Ditto Landing in Huntsville, AL and took care of the usual business of catching bait. I hit the river tributary next to the marina and noticed good signs: schools of shad and surfacing gar. After getting one hit on cut bait suspended below a bobber, I decided to try live bait. Rigging a live 4" bluegill 2 feet under a float, I cast out and literally got a hit 10 seconds after the bait hit the water. Feeling the line with my fingers, I knew that this could in NO conceivable way be a bluegill pulling against the line. I set the hook after ample pause to find an empty treble. Another hit came while I tried to get more live bait.... my rod, which was laying flat, bail open, on the dock railing, had rotated and fallen so it was hanging over the edge of the dock, the only thing keeping it from going over the edge being the reel. I ran to the rod and let it run a little more, aware by the diminished line on the reel that it had already taken quite a bit of line. I set the hook and felt it connect. The gar I was fighting could have easily beaten the spotted gar state record of 8-odd lbs... but even after I set the hook several times, it spit everything about 30 seconds into the fight. I missed several more strikes before my live bait got hit again. After waiting for what seemed to be about 2 minutes, I set the hook and connected. After a few seconds, I pulled in a 25", 2 lb spotted gar. Bleeding badly due to gut hooking, it didn't look like it would live if I tried taking the hook out. I cut the line as far back as possible. It made not effort to swim away for a minute, so I put it in the shallows and left it alone. I came back to find it gone, so I'm assuming it left on its own.
Tight lines.
Tyler G, 08/01/11



July 2011, Wheeler Dam

GASSman,
My uncle and I did some fishing at the Wheeler Dam's boat ramp several hundred (or more) yards downstream of the dam itself. The ramp was in a quiet inlet that, from experience with another like it, I knew would hold gar somewhere. I was rigged to catch bluegill with one rod and had a gar line in the water when a spotted gar actually swam by, two feet from the boulder I was standing on. Since the only rod in hand was the one with a piece of nightcrawler, mono leader and the small hook, I let it swim by a little and just tapped it with my rod. It just sped up a little, almost completely unaffected by the provocation. After going through numerous bluegill, an almost-landed carpsucker, a small 6-inch channel catfish and two sheephead (freshwater drum) between the two of us, we decided to scout around and see if we could find some gar.

On the left side of the boat ramp where there were a lot of overhanging trees and snags, we spotted several 2-4 lb. spotted gar cruising the surface. Within two seconds I had a line in the water. I dragged the bait from behind a good-sized one and as it passed its face, I saw the sideways strike and felt the tap. I opened the bail and let the gar run (right into the snags) for about a minute before setting the hook (for fear of losing it behind those snags). Within a few seconds I had landed a three-pounder. The fisherman that saw my gar made a remark about it without actually holding it in contempt (much to my surprise), more to the effect of the apathy expressed when someone catches a common fish like a bluegill or two-pound bass (glad to see not everyone outside of active gar fishing hates them!). I tossed another piece of bait in, dragged it in front of the next gar and got the hit. I actually did lose this one under the snags. Soon after, all of the the gar just disappeared and we didn't see another one, so we decided to call it a day (with good reason; not twenty minutes later, a storm blew in).
Tight lines.
Tyler G, 07/05/11



Gallery Shots from Alabama






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