There are at least 18 species of garfish throughout Australia, with the two most commonly caught species being the Eastern Sea Garfish (Hyporhamphus australis, ranging from Southern Queensland to Eastern Victoria) and the Southern Sea Garfish (Hyporhamphus melanochir, ranging from Western Australia to Southern NSW, including Tasmania). These two species can reach over 50cm in length, but are more commonly caught at 20-30cm.
Garfish often put on an impressive aerobatic display after being hooked, this along with their beaked appearance give them their nickname of 'mini-marlin'. Although 2 hook rigs are often used for garfish, the use of a single hook is recommended when fishing for garfish from a kayak. The thrashing of a gar while trying to unhook it will often cause the second hook to become tangled around the rod, or embedded in the seat or the angler - in the photo below, the second hook has become caught in the rod leash.
Light (2-3kg) line and small hooks (#10-12), used with or without a float, are the key to catching garfish, as is the use of burley to hold fish in an area. There is some debate as to the merits of using tuna oil in burley for garfish, as the tuna oil may attract predatory species which will put the gars off the bite. An old loaf of bread, placed in a mesh bag,tied off to the kayak, and jiggled occasionally, is a proven method for attracting and holding garfish.
Tiny soft plastic lures (such as the Berkley 1" Nymph) and small flies can also be used to target garfish.
While gars are generally not fussy, sometimes they can be frustrating in their refusal of baits. Very calm conditions can make gars finicky, often the better gar fishing occurs when there is a light chop on the surface. Favoured baits include maggots, small pieces of fish flesh (including garfish flesh!), silverfish pieces (a small white baitfish), and squid pieces. Hooks should not be crammed with bait - use pieces of bait the size of a small pea, and ensure hook points are well exposed.