Hi im new on this forum:)
Gar come up to the surface to get air. But as soon as you toss something at them they get spooked so easily. Only way you will ever get a hook in its mouth is with live bait. A shad in the fall will work the best but when you feel that fish hit the bait dont set the hook right away. The key is to leave your spool open or your drag all the way loosened. What you want is the fish to really eat that bait and move it to the back of its mouth. Once you see your line coming out wait a bit let it take it out for a few seconds and then a hard sweeping hookset. A side sweeping hookset will get that dinosaur fish right in the corner of its mouth. As for tackle use 7ft MH F bait casting rod and a reel with some strong drag (14 lbs+ ) ..good luck
Good advice! We caught our first gar this year using minnows. Lost about 5 for every 2 we caught! We used small trebles. They have to really take for a while and often the trebled line would wrap around the 'beak' like a grappling hook catching the fish rather than an actual hook set in their bony mouths. The big ones have a lot of power and they like to jump like crazy!