Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

Here's something only my fevered mind would dream up.
Every angler wants to catch the big name fish. Big bass, Massive salmon, trophy bluegill, arapaima in South America (my personal quest), and so on.

But what about those other fish, the "trashy" ones we don't admire nor talk much about? If you were to target them, which ones would you go after?

In other words, what would a "Non-game Fish Bucket List" look like?

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they are a blast, aren't they? 

The bowfin? Yeah. I caught it on a purple bass worm. I had no idea what it was until it came up and I saw

it.

Just caught a Bowfin last weekend within five minutes of casting. Bucket list: check. This fish fought harder than any Bass I have ever caught. I'd highly recommend targeting Bowfin for anyone that wants a serious fight on their hands. Just keep in mind that Bowfin are native to North America and they help keep things in check by eating stunted fish (consider catch and release).

I would like to catch a Longnose Gar just to say I caught one, but they can tear equipment up and they are hard to hook anyway.

Here is something interesting. Catfish are not game fish here where I live. Also - a Walleye is a game fish, but a Yellow Perch and Sauger are not. Go figure. I'd like to catch a Sauger.

Muskie is actually at the top of my to-do list, but that is a game fish here.

Whatever you do, don't "lip" a Bowfin!  They have teeth!

I have caught Longnose Gar before, on my catfish gear.  Talk about a hoot!  My cat gear is strong enough to hold up to them.

Cats, Walleye, Saugers, are all gamefish here in Okie-land.  Yellow perch are non-existant (dang!).

I have a gar lure, Ben. It is a modified buzz bait. I added a 6" piece of braided poly 

rope and then combed out the braid to create a big mass of "hair."

The gar attack the lure, but get their teeth tangled in the rope and cannot escape..

Many people just use a piece rope on a hook and jerk it along the surface.

Ok, cool....I might go for a Gar eventually.

Hey David.....Flyfishers use a rope fly for gar as well. One of the drawbacks of the rope fly is that if one does not get all the rope fibers out of the gars mouth the fish is doomed to a slow death by starvation. Please just keep this in mind before releasing a rope caught gar. You can use either a short stick of wood or one of the commercially made spring contrapsions to hold the mouth open so all of the fibers can be removed.

Good point, Ray. I have one of those springy thingies, in fact.

I must be frank, and say I have never caught a gar on my lure. Dang, Im bothered enough by the things without it!

Well David I too must regret to admit that I have never caught a gar. There are not many in Indiana where I spent most of my life. I hear that there are some here in middle TN but I have not seen any in the creeks that I fish. There is a large river just south of my that I hear has some gar but I have never fished it yet.

Gear are not widely distributed outside of the Southern Piedmont and that part of the South drained by the Mississippi, at least as far as I know.
I catch them here in South Carolina, and see more than I catch. As far as
TN is concerned, my bet is they are few in number.
If you do go after them, use tough leaders and very sharp hooks... Or the rope lure already mentioned.
If possible, have some tough gloves available, too.
Btw, you can eat gar, although it is no easy task to get at the edible
Flesh. If you have a good internet connection, look this up on you tube.

I spent a couple of months in Fl about a year and one half ago. We went to a state park noted for manatee and the river was crystal clear and there was some large long nosed gar mixed in with the manatee. No fishing was allowed. There were also a few tarpon in there. Sure gave me the itch to throw a fly in there.

I do believe Gar are distributed rather widely, David.  I know some folks in Michigan that have caught them. Last year, on that episode of "River Monsters" where Jeremy Wade went to Lake Champlain looking for Lampreys, he was seeing and catching Longnose Gar that were spawning in tributaries.

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