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Month: August 2017

5 Benefits of Buying a Fishing Boat in the Fall

5 Benefits of Buying a Fishing Boat in the Fall

There was a slight chop on the water and I watched a 23-foot Sea Craft effortlessly slice through them. It was the kind of day when I wished I had that same boat, for me and my light-hull were about to get bounced around. If […]

Sheepshead Bay Fishing: New York City’s Fishing Paradise

Sheepshead Bay Fishing: New York City’s Fishing Paradise

Fishing in NY is easier than you might think.  A southern connection joins salty Long Island Sound and rivers like the Hudson and the East have freshwater origins that provide spawning grounds for anadromous fish.  There is always excellent saltwater fishing within view of the […]

Biscayne Bay Fishing: Famous Flats for Saltwater Fishing Fans

Biscayne Bay Fishing: Famous Flats for Saltwater Fishing Fans

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Several Creek Fishing Tips You Need to Know

Several Creek Fishing Tips You Need to Know

Although definitions may vary, creeks are generally smaller than streams. Some may even pronounce creeks: “cricks,” but the great humorous outdoor writer, Patrick McManus believes there is a distinct difference between the two. Creeks tend to be pristine, whereas he thinks a “crick” tends to […]

Halibut Season is Here– Tips on How to Catch Halibut

Halibut Season is Here– Tips on How to Catch Halibut

Wondering to yourself, “When is halibut in season?” May through September is peak halibut season.  That means this is one of the best times to fish to pursue these flatfish that vary between small and enormous.  While the average size of this fish species is between […]

4 Best Freshwater Fish for Alligator Gar Bait

4 Best Freshwater Fish for Alligator Gar Bait

Photo Credit: Bubba Bedre

If you want to learn how to catch alligator gar, it only makes sense that you would want to use the most effective type of bait. Plan on using natural cut baits since they will be the most enticing to an alligator gar. There are some anglers that like to use gar fishing lures or flies made of rope that get entangled in the alligator gar’s teeth, but natural fishing bait tends to work best if you’re learning how to fish. 

Since the alligator gar is a fish species that has a particularly toothy snout, it’s important to know which gar fishing rigs and freshwater baits can increase your odds of catching these enormous fish. When preparing to rig your alligator gar bait, use a sharp circle hook, steel leader, and slip-float or bobber. Due to the size and strength of alligator gar, your rig should be tied to a minimum of 40-pound test main line. 

Wondering which types of freshwater fish are good to use for alligator gar bait? Consider these four options, but don’t forget to check local fishing reports to find out which baits are working best during a specific time of year.

Best Bait For Alligator Gar:

1. Common carp

Cut carp are frequently used as bait for alligator gar. In fact, carp may be the best bait for alligator gar if there are significant populations of carp in the large rivers and reservoirs where you plan to fish. 

2. Smallmouth buffalo

These freshwater fish are bottom-feeding members of the sucker family. Smallmouth buffalo works well when used as natural cut bait for alligator gar in states such as Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas. 

3. Gizzard shad

Gizzard shad can be caught in freshwater lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams using a cast net. They are one of the best baits for alligator gar and can be used as cut bait.   

4. Scaled mullet

Mullet is also considered to be one of the best alligator gar baits. Although, it’s easier for an alligator gar to take a mullet if it has been scaled. When fishing for alligator gar, you can easily remove the scales from a mullet using a spoon or a knife. 

Once you decide on the best freshwater bait to use at your fishing spot (alligator gar are most commonly found in the Southern U.S.), there is one important tip you should keep in mind. An alligator gar will usually swim off with its prey before attempting to eat and swallow it. This means that if you try to set the hook too soon, you’ll miss out on your opportunity to catch one. When you see your bobber or float go down, wait until the gar takes your bait and begins to swallow it before you set the hook. 


Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.

A Few Simple SoCal Surf Fishing Tips to Get Started

A Few Simple SoCal Surf Fishing Tips to Get Started

Southern California is comprised of 8-10 counties in the southern third of this long state. The counties: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego all border the Pacific Ocean which means the opportunity for some great SoCal surf fishing. There […]

4 tips on how to catch Artic grayling

4 tips on how to catch Artic grayling

If you’re looking for a unique fish to catch while in Alaska or Canada then fishing for grayling is for you.  These trout-like fish have a sail-like fan for a dorsal fin and body colors that range from black, silver, gold to blue.  Although explorers […]

5 Summer Bass Fishing Tricks To Use Now

5 Summer Bass Fishing Tricks To Use Now

Summer bass fishing can put your catching skills to the test, particularly if you live in the Southern States, but that’s also part of the allure. Reeling in a respectable Micropterus salmoides during the spring months doesn’t require you to have all that many tricks up your sleeve. Late summer bass fishing, on the other hand, may require you to use a few magical tips, along with the best summer bass fishing lures.

1.  Go early or go late

If you’re wondering when to fish for bass during late summer, the key is to get out on the water before sunrise to beat the heat. If you can’t go early, plan to fish around dusk. The best times to fish for bass will be during the cooler periods of the day. This is one of the most important fundamentals of summer bass fishing for beginners.

2. Choose your summer fishing waters wisely

Consider ponds, lakes or reservoirs that are either thick with vegetation, or that are relatively deep. Vegetation contributes to higher levels of dissolved oxygen, and bass need more oxygen as water temperatures rise. Also, as you might imagine, deeper water is generally cooler. This means that bass can often be found on the deep side of drop-offs and ledges as air and water temperatures rise.

3. Start shallow, move to deep

If you’ve been reading about all those bass fishing tips that apply to shallow water, it’s time to expand your mindset. You can start shallow early in the morning, but be prepared to take your summer bass fishing game to deeper waters as the sun climbs higher in the sky. The trick to catching hot weather fish in deeper water will depend on your ability to locate structure.

4. Use a contour map or topographic map

When you’re learning how to fish, one of the best things you can do is find and use a contour map to locate structure in deeper water. These maps are particularly useful for late summer bass fishing trips, when hot weather pushes fish to depths where the water is cooler. A contour map will help you find useful clues about bottom composition and submerged structure. Take note of any rock piles, humps, flats, channels, and submerged points.

5. Get out your crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and soft plastic rigs

Get out your deep-diving crankbaits, heavy spinnerbaits, and soft plastic rigs. . Use your Texas-rigged or Carolina-rigged soft plastic worms in the shallows early, but then break out the deep-diving crankbaits and spinnerbaits to work around deep drop-offs and ledges during the warmer mid-morning hours.

Now you have a few summer bass fishing tricks to pull out of your hat if the warm weather bite starts to slow down. For more bass fishing tips and techniques that apply to other seasons of the year, check out the freshwater fishing pages.

What are hydrographic maps and how can you use them?

What are hydrographic maps and how can you use them?

Photo credit www.noaa.gov Hydrographic maps are a valuable source of information both above and below water. Detail varies greatly but if a tackle store has a hydrographic chart or map of a lake you will be boating and fishing, pick one up and study it.  […]