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Stick em' Up- How to Catch Garfish

By Jesse Rotin

Watching a float, waiting for that moment when it tilts up and then under is highly addictive in my eyes, especially when there’s a tasty garfish on the other end. Garfish tend to feed on weed and tiny crustaceans drifting through the water column, hence why suspending your bait using a float works so well.

Nice Rig

Rigging for garfish couldn’t be any simpler, all you need is a pencil float, some split shot sinkers to suit and either a size 10-12 long shank hook and you’re in business. Garfish are quite a small fish and finesse is best, so it helps to keep your floats small to aid in detecting even the slightest of bites. Many anglers weight their floats with enough split shot to keep the float upright, this does help when they’re biting timidly. However, I do the opposite and use very little weight, it may take the gars a bit more to pull the float under but this allows my bait to drift around far more naturally then being anchored to the float. Setting the depth of your bait can vary, depending on the depth of water you’re fishing. I run a dropper of around 1.5 metres but will lengthen this to see how the fish react throughout the session.

Getting Tackled

Light spinning outfits are more than enough to handle even the biggest of gars. 6-10lb mainline is run of the mill, either braid or monofilament. If you run braid then I recommend using leaders no less than 6lb, the reason for this is that gars fight erratically, almost like baby marlin at times and can quite easily twist themselves around the leader. Using leaders this size and up will make it easier to untangle them, if they do get caught up. I’m a big fan of Daiwa’s J-Thread Nylon and run this off the reel all the way to the hook. It’s quite supple and is a strong favourite of mine when it comes to float fishing as the line sits on the surface, never interfering with my float.

My Gear List

* TD Hyper 763LXS/Exceler 2500LT

* 6lb J-Thread Nylon

* Pencil float and BB split shot(s)

* Size 10-12 Mustad Fine Worm/Daiichi Long Shank-R

The Bait

Fresh is best when it comes to bait selection, and at times baits which are alive can be even better. Pippies, pilchard, silverfish and dough are perfect. However, without a doubt my most favoured bait would have to be live maggots, the wriggle from these little guys drive the gars mad and they can’t resist.

Keep em’ Keen

A light but steady berley flow will attract gars from far and wide plus keep them interested in your offerings. Bait scraps, berley pellets or just simply old stale bread soaked in water will be plenty to keep them keen.

Time to Eat

I love the taste of fresh garfish and if you haven’t tried them then I can highly recommend it. I will admit though there have been times where I’ve been torn on whether to eat them or use them for bait, as they can be deadly on species like snapper, mulloway and kingfish. I’ll leave that decision up to you.

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