|Gar Fishing Without Lefty by Gary M. McCown, DDS
I just finished reading Lefty Kreh’s (2008) biography, “My Life Was This Big”. It was very good and I actually learned some things I didn’t know about fly fishing even though this was not promoted as an instructional book about fly fishing. It was a book about Lefty’s life experience in fishing.
Lefty dedicated several chapters to different species of fish and why he enjoyed fishing for each one. He covered everything from bluegill to bluefish and also most everyone and everywhere he had fished.
His “big life” is impressive and although I will never have a chance to do all that he has, I’ve had a good time with good friends and my fly rod.
A couple of the most interesting quotes from Lefty in the book are:
“A good fly fisherman usually does better than a good spinning fisherman when fishing a smallmouth river.”
In my experience, a good fly fisher can do better than most other methods on a river but fishing deep in lakes, other methods will out fish a fly rod.
The second quote I liked so much was:
“Nobody ever suffered a heart attack fighting a freshwater trout.”
I do know of one older fly fisherman who died in his float tube on the Hiawassee but there was no report of a trout attached to his line. So I suspect he only died of a heart attack in extreme happiness.
In Chapter 17: Fish I have Known, Lefty lists his favorite fresh and saltwater quarries (including accounts of each one):
Freshwater: Smallmouth bass, Largemouth bass, Bluegill, Northern Pike, Salmon and Trout (in that order).
Saltwater: Peacock Bass, Striped Bass, Billfish, Bluefish, Bonefish, Redfish, Tarpon, Tuna and Shark.
I agree with smallmouth bass at the top of the list.
But he left out the second one on my list. Longnose Gar!
I have caught three gar this year. One I tried to grab up into the boat and it almost took my shoulder out of joint. I dropped it, grabbed the leader with my left “ungloved” hand and it promptly snapped 10 pound test. I should have been using 20 or 30 pound test but I had just switched off from bass fishing.