Cleaning a gar isn’t hard and it’s well worth the effort. The only tricks are to have the right tools, a good attitude and a bit of patience.
The first thing is to get a hole started in the armor like shell of the gar. You can use a hatchet to chop across the head or tail to get a hole started. If you don’t have a hatchet you can just start snipping from the arrow hole. Use a pair of tin snips to cut down the center of the back of the gar. then make a ‘relief’ cut down each side of the gar. (this helps when you peel the skin back) It will seem difficult at first, but after a gar or two, you’ll get the hang of it.
Once the shell-like skin is cut, peel and cut it away from the meat. Don’t be afraid to use the knife.
The fillets of a gar are two boneless strips on either side of the backbone. They are much like the backstraps of a deer. Removing them is a simple matter of slicing down along the backbone and then across the tops of the ribs.
The end result.. two boneless and tasty gar fillets.
Wipe the fillets down and they are ready for your favorite recipe. DO NOT SOAK THEM IN WATER!! (they will soak up the water and get mushy. I know from experience.)