4 Best Freshwater Fish for Alligator Gar Bait

By Debbie Hanson

Aug 23, 2017

If you want to know which alligator gar bait to use, this list of the best bait for alligator gar can help you prepare to catch this interesting species.

Photo Credit: Bubba Bedre

If you want to learn how to catch alligator gar, it only makes sense that you would want to use the most effective type of bait. Plan on using natural cut baits since they will be the most enticing to an alligator gar. There are some anglers that like to use gar fishing lures or flies made of rope that get entangled in the alligator gar's teeth, but natural fishing bait tends to work best if you're learning how to fish. 

Since the alligator gar is a fish species that has a particularly toothy snout, it's important to know which gar fishing rigs and freshwater baits can increase your odds of catching these enormous fish. When preparing to rig your alligator gar bait, use a sharp circle hook, steel leader, and slip-float or bobber. Due to the size and strength of alligator gar, your rig should be tied to a minimum of 40-pound test main line. 

Wondering which types of freshwater fish are good to use for alligator gar bait? Consider these four options, but don't forget to check local fishing reports to find out which baits are working best during a specific time of year.

Best Bait For Alligator Gar:

1. Common carp

Cut carp are frequently used as bait for alligator gar. In fact, carp may be the best bait for alligator gar if there are significant populations of carp in the large rivers and reservoirs where you plan to fish. 

2. Smallmouth buffalo

These freshwater fish are bottom-feeding members of the sucker family. Smallmouth buffalo works well when used as natural cut bait for alligator gar in states such as Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas. 

3. Gizzard shad

Gizzard shad can be caught in freshwater lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams using a cast net. They are one of the best baits for alligator gar and can be used as cut bait.   

4. Scaled mullet

Mullet is also considered to be one of the best alligator gar baits. Although, it's easier for an alligator gar to take a mullet if it has been scaled. When fishing for alligator gar, you can easily remove the scales from a mullet using a spoon or a knife. 

Once you decide on the best freshwater bait to use at your fishing spot (alligator gar are most commonly found in the Southern U.S.), there is one important tip you should keep in mind. An alligator gar will usually swim off with its prey before attempting to eat and swallow it. This means that if you try to set the hook too soon, you'll miss out on your opportunity to catch one. When you see your bobber or float go down, wait until the gar takes your bait and begins to swallow it before you set the hook. 

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.