Rope lures -- please add your tweaks, ideas & photos

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Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
Rope lures -- please add your tweaks, ideas & photos

It's hot. Rivers near me have literally stopped flowing and ponds have dried up completely. There's too much water in the air for me to breathe effectively, and at the same time there's too little air in the water for the fish.

In my mind that means it's gar time.

The other day I tied up about 10 rope lures, using the core of soft 3/8" dock line. I incorporated a few features I learned by looking at ones made by Garmaster Bob and Garman. Foremost among those was a long braid leader incorporated into the lure and holding a weight permanently.

(Click on the pics below to see them about twice as large, if you're so inclined.)

 

White

You can't see the leader, but it's about 10" long and the weight and bead can slide freely. It has a swivel tied in at the end.

 

Here's a more colorful one:

The yellow head and the yellow fibers are the nylon twine you get at Home Depot for marking where to dig on a construction site and things like that. It comes in bright pink, bright orange and (I think) bright green. I happened to have some yellow. It frays nicely. I'll be picking up some other colors. The head is heavily saturated with super glue. 10" leader with no weight or beads.

 

Greenie:

Noticed a bunch of color sharpies sitting by my tying bench and couldn't resist. I don't know if gar see or like color, but humans do. Used dark green, light green and yellow markers for the bulk of it, and obviously some red. Two beads, a weight, 10" of leader, swivel at end.

 

Here's one from last summer that's small and light enough to use with a fly rod. It caught fish in the Mississippi in June on a 7 wt.

White rope core, melted and pierced with a spinner wire attached.

the pyromaniac
the pyromaniac's picture
I'll be borrowing a couple of

I'll be borrowing a couple of these ideas....  There's some longnose and spotted gar that need catchin'....

 

 

 

Let there be fire!

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
The spotteds might be hard to

The spotteds might be hard to get on rope alone, but tuck a hook in there, or trailing behind, and you'll get 'em.

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2019: 34 days fishing 45 species 13 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

the pyromaniac
the pyromaniac's picture
I only know one spot where I

I only know one spot where I can consistently find the spotteds, but I'm going to be heading that way soon.  They've been tormenting me and Bearded Alex for about a year.

 

 

 

Let there be fire!

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
Get them! You can't let them

Get them! You can't let them get away with that smug "you'll be extinct before we will" attitude, even though it's true.

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2019: 34 days fishing 45 species 13 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

the pyromaniac
the pyromaniac's picture
The first time they started

The first time they started tormenting us, I was standing about 15 feet out into the Clinch River, and Bearded Alex was on the bank right where I had gone into the water.  A spotted gar kept sitting about halfway between us.  Every time one of us would cast in its direction or turn to look straight at it, it would leave for about a minute.  Then after a minute or so had passed, it came back.  It kept this up for about 2 hours, while we were catching bass & sunfish on hook and line, and streamline chubs, smallmouth redhorse, northern hogsuckers, and bullhead minnows in the bait net.

I thought Bearded Alex was going to go somewhere and buy a gun, and come after that gar, the way he was getting mad...  If you've ever seen the Beavis & Butthead episode, "Walkathon", think of the hardware store owner.  "Now, because I am a Christian, I will not strike you!"  I think he actually said that, on this particular morning...

 

 

 

Let there be fire!

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
Adding glow to rope lures--ideas?

I want to make glow-in-the-dark rope lures for gar at night. Non-gar-fishing people keep telling me I'm wasting my time because the gar in a particular lake are nocturnal. I know it's not strictly true, but I know that the biggest ones in that lake are spotted with bright lights at night.

Haven't found any glowing rope to use. Thinking about using spray paint. Need to visit the craft store and see what (if any) glowing fibers they sell.

Any ideas?

It's a little scary to think of how much damage a 5 foot gar could do to me in a rocking canoe, alone, in the dark, but not scary enough to dissuade me.

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2019: 34 days fishing 45 species 13 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

Muskymags
Muskymags's picture
Heres a couple rope flies I

Heres a couple rope flies I made.  Not sure if I've posted them before on here and I haven't had a shot to really try them out yet, but when  I get a boat again next year; I know where to try.

Here's a couple foam ones.  The red one actually has some red "glow" crystal flash tied into the skirt.  If your looking for glow, they make alot of colors of glow flash for fly tying.  I call these wedgeheads.

andy
andy's picture
cool rope ties

Nice floater/divers Mags! Looks like a winning weedless pattern all around Good luck with the gar man.

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
Nice rope lures!!!!

Nice rope lures!!! Muskymags, those are dope looking! I see gars cruising the shallows on the WI river at night with a flashlight. A mini glow stick in a rope lure might do the trick, or a strip of cut bait in the mix might do the trix.

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
Those are sweet ropes, MM. I

Those are sweet ropes, MM. I need to copy them.

I was thinking of the glow stick idea too, P.

I can't wait for warm weather...

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2019: 34 days fishing 45 species 13 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

Muskymags
Muskymags's picture
Just learned a new spot!

I started chitchatting a bit with a customer the other day about Longnose in his neck of the woods.  He instantly blurted out a lake (which is one that I knew had Gar in it but didn't put much thought into).  He said they are everywhere and "you can see them in the ditches in the spring."  Pretty pumped to try it out this spring!

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
We'll get you a longnose this

We'll get you a longnose this summer, Ben. Have faith!

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2019: 34 days fishing 45 species 13 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
rope lure materials that absorb little or no water

I've been daydreaming about gar lately (actually, ever since I first caught one) and in particular have been thinking about ways of improving my rope lures for use with a fly rod. My big question is how to make them big without making them so heavy when wet that they're impossible to cast. I really want to be able to cast a fat 8-10" rope fly long distances without just lobbing it as if the fly rod was a spinning rod, and I want it to land more softly than a waterlogged hunk of rope usually does.  I doubt I'll be using anything heavier than a 7/8 weight rod. 

 

MuskyMags: how long are those flies, and what weight rod do you cast them with?

 

I need to think of a material that I can mix or surround with the nylon rope fibers, that

  • is light and soft
  • undulates and pulses in the water like nylon
  • tangles teeth like nylon
  • (or at least does not interfere with the action and tangling of the nylon
  • has lots of bulk to make a good profile in the water
  • comes out of the water without holding much water
  • is somewhat durable
  • ideally is cheap, especially if it's not very durable.

 

A closed-cell foam core would be light and wouldn't hold water, and could bulk up the body considerably, but it would be destroyed on the first fish. It's on the experiment list. I've heard of--but never tried--rope lures made entirely of tangled monfilament, though I don't think it would be as effective as rope and it wouldn't look as good. Still, a core of tangle mono surrounded by (or mixed with) at least some nylon might work, and it wouldn't hold water, so that's also on the experiment list. 

 

Need to look into muskie and pike fly materials I guess, but the fact that this fly won't have a hook means I have to include a lot of nylon for effective "hooking," and that means a lot of weight when wet.

 

Ideas?

 

 

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2019: 34 days fishing 45 species 13 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
GAR

I don't think I've gone to bed in a long, long time without thinking of catching gar, and ways to catchem before falling asleep. You too? I've never used a fly rod, but I assume it would be a lot of fun to catch a big fish with one. Gar, cat, sucker etc. I know they catch some big fish in the ocean withem. I was just thinking that on the river I've been using a noose that's kept open with a small split shot that's put on loosely. Maybe you could use a mono noose n fine strips of nylon at the bottom. Would look strange but might work. Light enough too. Could use strips of blue gill on the noose. it would not have to be that big.

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

Muskymags
Muskymags's picture
At Gunnar

"MuskyMags: how long are those flies, and what weight rod do you cast them with?"

 

The flies are about 5-6" long.  I have my 8 weight I plan on using.  Now keep in mind that flycasting with a monstrosity like these or a Pike/Muskie fly isn't like casting a size 18 Czech nymph or Adams.  Alot less 10 and 2, and alot more umph and snap. 

 

Chunkin' heavy chickens!

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
Yeah, I'm familiar with that

Yeah, I'm familiar with that umph and snap technique with big flies! It doesn't feel graceful or refined in the air, but when a big gar attaches itself everything's right with the world, and who needs refined? Some day I'll get around to casting a 10 or higher weight flyrod and see what that feels like. Maybe it will bring the grace and precision to huge flies, maybe not. For now, I just want to throw ropes at gar and I don't care how it looks.

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2019: 34 days fishing 45 species 13 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
MuskyMags--can you repost

MuskyMags--can you repost those flies? They're now apparently missing from photobucket. Or you can send me the links to them and I'll post them here if you don't feel like dealing with it. I want to look at them some more so I can decide whether my tying skills are up to the task.

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2019: 34 days fishing 45 species 13 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

andy
andy's picture
rope at depths

I've never run into longnose gar where a floating or near surface fly would work.  Would be cool, though...I started out tossing rope lures on a spinning rod with an egg sinker ahead of it, and that worked great.  When I designed gar lures for the flyrod, I experimented with size/length, weight and material in an attempt to make it less like a bullwhip with a wet sock tied to it first and foremost.  The depth, I found out, can easily be accomplished with a sinking line and a short 2-4 foot leader.  I can cast these flies 80 feet with a sinking line, and that is usually good enough for me.

My best tanglers for the flyrod are not made of rope but rather some snarly pike streamer material or (even better) fake santa beard.  A synthetic like this will not soak up water like rope and also sinks quite well.  Rope tends to splat on the water like a heron shit and sink about the same.  I tie them sparser than most and add fancy krystal flash and eyes with an epoxy head and they work great.  Even caught pike on these hookless flies so they tangle like crazy.  Some have been amazed at how well these smaller, sparser flies work, but it's just a matter of choosing the right material(tying some knots among the fibers helps) and knowing how to fish them. 

Man, I can't wait to tangle with some gar again this Summer!

Muskymags
Muskymags's picture
I have yet to actually try

I have yet to actually try these on fish, but they should work well (worked well off the dock).  I've never even caught a Gar, just been researching and scoping them out. A 10-12 weight rod would probably work best and hopefully I can get one this summer.  The lake I found a bunch of Gar at is loaded and you can see them sunning themselves just under the surface in the back of the bays.  They spooked from my spinners I tossed at them, but my plan is to get in there before the bowfishers have a chance to make them skittish for the year and I also will be trying nighttime as well.  These same flies could be tied with a large conehead and a lead core or large dumbell eyes to make them subsurface if a guy wanted to.  I can't wait to try it out myself! 

 

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
really like

Realy like those gar flies/lures!!! Good luck this summer yall! If anyone wants to hook up on the WI River for a garate time this summer Id be down for it.

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
fake santa beard

Fake Santa beard sounds good! Wondering how the real stuff would work. It would very difficult to get. Ill have to make sure the kids are good to insure the arrival of Santa. LOL
I made a rope lure n had a gar or two show interest in it last summer, but have not cought a fish with one yet. Ive done great with cut bait fair with a noose, and not so much with fibers. I should probably use some weight with rope? I do with cut bait (split shot)

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
I wouldn't have thought those

I wouldn't have thought those sorts of fibers would be strong enough. That opens up some new possibilities with junk I already have on my tying table...

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2019: 34 days fishing 45 species 13 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
panty hose..

Strips of panty hose might be good.

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

Garmaster Bob in WI
rope lures

perkinsdonald,

If you're fishing the Wisconsin River, I can't get the gar there to take rope like they do in the Mississippi. At least I haven't had it work there yet. I have casted a lot of rope in among surfacing gar in the lower Wisconsin River but it just isn't near as effective as when I do it in the Mississippi. Other than the fact that it possibly doesn't match the forage base there I have no explanation for this. I have landed one gar on rope in the Wisconsin River. I have also had a lot of shortnose gar come up and swim along side my rope lures but never take them there.

Unfortunately I have never fished cutbait or minnows for gar in the Wisconsin River yet. That's this summer's plan. I've seen some hogs in there and I know where to go but never had bait with me.

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
WI River

Ya no luck here with ropes on the WI river. Do ya think a bullet weight to get the rope down would help?  There are alot of gars in the lower WI river for sure. Cant wait to go gar catching :-) IM around the Gotham area alot let me know when ya might be in the area ill bring the cut bait!  I hope to best the WI record for a long nose one of these summers...

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

Garmaster Bob in WI
rope lures

I will definitely get a hold of you this summer. I fish mainly from Boscobel downstream. I'd like to try up river and could show you some spots down river. I always have a bullet weight on my rope lures. I've never fished one without weight because where I fish in the Mississippi it's usually pretty deep.

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
"Gar bling"

I was thinking that perhaps the gar in the lwr need something more than just a rope. A rope with some shine, "gar bling", and color like muskymags lures. The areas I fish for gar are shallow the clarity in the river may be good enough that gar might not find a plain rope lure all that attractive, and it may need a bit of bling to compete with the ass load of minnows n shiners that are there. Just a thought.  I made this one last fall It has gold strips n the fibers are covered in glitter nail polish. ( been painting all kinds of shit with that) I need to make one with more silver in it, but just in case ropes don't work I made some nooses last night. I feel bad that must swallow a hook to get caught.

 

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

Garmaster Bob in WI
I generally tie silver

I generally tie silver flashing into at least half of my lures and sometimes silver beads ahead of spinners. So I have tried "bling" LOL on lwr. But I think something that looks more realistic would be good since they can actually see in the lwr. Where i fish in the Misssisippi it's very murky. I think you'd stop seeing a secchi disk at 1' or less most of the summer. Here's one with gold flashing, a spinner, and reflective tape around the bullet sinker.

 

 

 

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
cut bait/rope

We could try a ropecutbait unit...

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

TonyS
TonyS's picture
I've tired it and think

I've tired it and think others have too.  It works.  Haven't tested it enough to say that it works better or not 

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
be worth another shot for the lwr

I don't think ill use a hook to hold the cut bait with the rope. It gets tangled real bad. its tough to get gar to hit a rope on the lwr for some reason.

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.