|  First Published: February 2006

Continuing with simple and easy to tie flies, this month we’ll look at a productive little pattern called the Baby Gar.

Its name is a good description – a small garfish pattern that will appeal to a broad array of fish from mangrove-flat barra, threadfin and queenfish, to canal jacks, estuary cod and trevally. It will catch a myriad of species in a broad array of locations. I have used this pattern for trevally in the Nerang River, long-tom at the Tangalooma Wrecks, dart at Bray’s Rock and tailor around the Broadwater lights at night. It’s simple to tie, fairly hardy and will appeal to a lot of species.


The materials used in this pattern are a combination of new materials like polar fibre and old materials such as the grizzly hackle. The polar fibre gives movement to this fly and promotes the impression of translucency when tied over the hackle. Grizzly hackle has a natural barred effect which gives a little contrast to the fly and also provides the stability for the flies overall length. When used together, the grizzly hackle and the polar fibre compliment each other. A broad array of hook sizes and patterns can be used for this fly and the streamer circle style hooks such as those made by Black Magic, Gamakatsu and Mustad. The 3D eye is an important feature as it is the focal point for predators and can be seen from any angle. Putting a small amount of epoxy over the eyes will help to hold them and the other materials in place, as well as making the fly hardier. The nose of the gar, which is wrapped with orange thread, really gets the predators attention, as it is the most obvious feature of a real garfish.


I have found that the best way to strip this fly is with a long single strip and a pause between to allow the fly to sink slowly. If a predator is following but not striking, as is often the case with long tom, try very fast, short strips, which sees the fly darting away erratically. During the strip the polar fibre will lay back straight but the water movement when the fly is at rest will see the fibres waft around the hackle.


(1). Put the hook in the vice and tie in the thread with a jamb knot or similar about half way along the shank. Pick out two grizzly hackles of similar length and width from a saltwater grade cape and tie one of them on each side of the hook shank, facing backwards. The saltwater grade cape has stiffer quills and will last and look better than the softer freshwater grade capes. Do one and then the other. Don’t try to tie both in at the same time. When tying in feathers you will need to start with light wraps (3 to 5) to get the feather in place and then gradually increase to some tighter wraps to secure the feather. If you just do heavy wraps to start, you will find that the feather usually won’t sit where you want it.

(2). Take five or six strands of pearl Krystal Flash which are a little longer than the hackle and tie them on the hook shank so that they disperse evenly around the hackle.

(3). Cut a small amount of grey polar fibre from the backing and tie in just in front of the grizzly hackle. Do a few light wraps to lightly hold the polar fibre and then use your finger to position the strands so that they lightly cover the top and sides of the hackle. A thin, even coverage is all that is required. Once they are evenly distributed, do a few firm wraps of thread to secure the fibres.

(4). Wrap the rest of the hook shank with the orange thread in a slightly tapered finish to complete the gar’s nose. Finish the thread off with a whip finish or similar and cut away the remaining thread.

(5). Place a 3D eye on each side of the gar’s face, right where the nose finishes and the head starts. Mix a little five-minute epoxy and cover from behind the hook eye to just behind the fly’s eyes. Just use small gentle strokes while applying and hold the polar fibre with your thumb and forefinger to avoid it coming out of place. You will probably need to turn the fly for a few minutes to stop the epoxy running to one side.

Your baby gar is now ready for service.


HOOK: Gamakatsu SL12S 2/0
THREAD:Flat-waxed nylon orange
FLASH: Krystal Flash pearl
HACKLE: Grizzly saltwater grade
BACK: Polar fibre grey
EYE: 3D or Moulded 3/16”
FINISH: Devcon 5 minute Epoxy.
Reads: 551

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