It’s almost been too hot to fish. Almost.
But while other fishing slows down in the heat of the summer, there is one fish that is easier to catch. Gar.
That’s right, gar. I know most people consider gar a trash fish but if you want to have some fun, go to Lake Wister next Saturday (Aug. 16) and enter the annual Gar Rodeo.
Six years ago this month I took over the outdoors beat for The Oklahoman and I was looking for something to write about. The Gar Rodeo was just around the corner so I drove to Lake Wister and learned how to catch gar on a rod and reel.
I can’t imagine what some people must have thought of the new outdoors writer when his first story was about gar fishing.
Fishing for them is easy. Basically, you use hookless spinnerbaits. The lures have spinner blades for a flash and long skirts of frayed nylon that get entangled in the gar’s teeth.
Reel slowly and when you get a bump, give the gar a few seconds to get those skirts around its teeth and then the fight is on. The hotter it gets, the better the gar fishing gets. At least that’s what they claimed at Lake Wister.
The Gar Rodeo usually has between 50 and 75 boats entered. They even hold a banquet at night. It’s an unique event and you can call the park office at Lake Wister for more information.
You can buy gar lures on the Internet and you can likely find some at the rodeo. Great fun to catch, but bring your tin snips if you want to clean one.
On another note, state wildlife officials say they made 8,000 pounds of caviar from the spring paddlefish runs on Grand Lake and sold the product for $1.5 million.
The money the state Wildlife Department earned in its first year in the caviar business payed for the initial start-up costs of the program ($602,000) and two additional paddlefish biologists. The state now plans to build a permanent fish cleaning and processing center at Twin Bridges State Park.
Anglers checked in 4,221 paddlefish this spring on Grand Lake. In return for cleaning the fish for free, state wildlife officials kept the eggs from female spoonbills and made caviar from it.
The biggest paddlefish checked in weighed 76-1/2 pounds. The average size was 32 pounds.
Most of the caviar will go to retailers in Japan and Europe, where wholesalers get a higher price, and be sold during the holiday seasons
Never know what you will catch
Dan Stites of Wellston dropped me a line and photo to let me know he took my advice in last Sunday’s column and took his granddaughter fishing for blue gill at a local farm pond.
“Put a No. 3 hook on a 10-pound test line attached to a Zebco 33, baited it with night crawlers and she had fun catching sunfish ’till this fish ended the outing,” Stites wrote.
The fish in the photo above is a 16-pound, 32-inch flathead catfish.